UWC went through to the final of the 2016 Varsity Cricket final after defeating firm favourites UJ – undefeated UJ mind you – by 21 runs at Senwes Park on Saturday morning. The victory had all the hallmarks of a classic underdog story. After beating Maties in unbelievable fashion on Friday afternoon, with three sixes in the final over, many would have thought that they reached the apex of their prowess.
Many were mistaken. The fairytale isn’t over by a long way. Batting first, UWC set UJ an imposing target of 170 for victory, ending on 169/4.
UWC lost two wickets in the first over as Keith Dudgeon dismissed both George Banda and Tayo Walburg. The big wicket of Ashley Cupido, caught off the bowling of Brendon Verwey, was a telling blow as Cupido has proven himself to be UWC’s stalwart throughout the tournament. Mohammed Ebrahim was next to go as UJ tightened their grip on proceedings.
However, Zubair Hamza showed ample fortitude as he dug in and navigated the best UJ had to offer. Hamza, leading his side from the front, meticulously set about accumulating runs with every shot corrosive to UJ’s hopes. His innings ended on an unbeaten 82 off 60 deliveries whilst Jean Heunis, also unbeaten, clobbered 45 from 29.
The stage was set for an epic showdown. It was déjà vu as UJ also lost two wickets in the first over. Warren Stoman ripped through the opening pair to disastrous effect for the boys from Johannesburg.
The trio of Stoman, Zain Allie and Zain Webster each had their fill of the wickets, although wicketkeeper Ryan Rickelton (42) and Yaseen Valli (22) did their best to keep UJ’s hopes alive. Alas, it was not to be. UWC weren’t to be denied.
Winning captain Zubair Hamza says: ‘We took a lot from yesterday’s form (against Maties) to today’s game. We are loving the vibe in Potchefstroom and we are looking forward to bringing the trophy home to Cape Town.’