Tuks and Pukke were rubbing their eyes, as UWC defeated a side that neither of them, nor any other team in the tournament, had been able to overcome – UJ. One of the two of them would be up against the UWC fairytale and everyone who enjoys an underdog story.
As if that wasn’t enough to think about, Tuks had the pressure of defending their 2015 title, while hosts Pukke were in front of their home support. Tuks won the toss and elected to bat first. The contest seemed to be evenly poised, as the Pukke bowlers couldn’t find a breakthrough, while the Tuks batsmen couldn’t get the run rate going.
Jovaun Van Wyngaardt made life very uncomfortable for the two Tuks openers. In the fourth over his bouncer knocked captain Coetzee’s helmet right off. No love lost between these two.
Coetzee and Evan Jones began picking out gaps in the field and took Tuks to 80 without loss. In the tenth over Wihan Lubbe struck with the last ball before the strategy break, removing Coetzee. He was trapped LBW after Lubbe got the ball to turn nicely.
After the break Jones made his intent known. He stole the strike and hit regular boundaries, reaching his 50 in the twelfth over. Tuks climbed to 134/1 and Jones to 82 with four overs to go.
Pukke couldn’t contain Jones let alone keep up with him. Jones clobbered seven sixes and six fours to reach 113 off 65 deliveries before he eventually fell in the final over. He walked off to a standing ovation.
Tuks set Pukke a target of 193 if they were to reach the final of Varsity Cricket 2016. Pukke started strongly and Wihan Lubbe looked to continue his fine form of 2016. But one delivery after hitting the ball for six, he has clean bowled by Lungi Ngidi.
Shortly after that Pukke’s other top batsman, Janneman Malan, fell for a duck. Malan’s brother André entered, but exited in twin-like fashion to his brother, also caught by Pike off the bowling of Moore, just adding one more run than Janneman. Vincent Moore was nipping it off the turf, while Coetsee found some good movement.
Pukke were left bewildered at the crease. When Frenz fell for just seven, Haasbroek was runout after a brilliant effort in the field and Coetzee had Ackerman caught for four, Pukke were six down with just 33 on the board. Van Wyngaardt put up a fight, hitting Kaber for three sixes in the fourteenth over and along with Katleho Leokaoke, took Pukke to a respectable 120, with a 59-run ninth wicket partnership.
But the lone ranger was eventually brilliantly runout by none other than Mr Jones. The final wicket fell with Pukke on 137. The defending champions displayed BMT when it mattered most.
Tuks eventually thrashed Pukke, winning by 55 runs. Two of the standout and most consistent sides (UJ and Pukke) both knocked out by teams that had seesaw performances during the week. The home crowd were silenced as Tuks booked their place in the final.
Will we see a fairytale UWC ending or can Tuks ensure that their name remains the only one etched onto the Varsity Cricket trophy?