Matthew Breetzke stars as Warriors beat Iinyathi to qualify for T20 KO playoffs
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Johannesburg – A career best 80 from Matthew Breetzke, that included plenty of exquisite shotmaking saw the Warriors emerge victorious from the Eastern Cape derby, and qualify for the play-offs in the CSA T20 Provincial Knock Out competition on Wednesday.
The 22 year old Breetzke, has long been on Cricket SA’s radar, but injuries in recent seasons have hampered his development as he transitioned from the junior to the professional ranks. Such is his talent however that even the odd innings has been enough to warrant excitement.
Wednesday’s was another such occasion with Breetzke producing shots all around the wicket, mixing innovation with old fashioned textbook strokes and timing the ball with precision.
The Warriors have clearly taken heed of their coach Robin Peterson’s strategy, which is based on aggression. In Breetzke they have a talent, who simply needs to feel free to take risks, because when he does, the team will benefit.
Breetzke came into the last Pool match, on the back of two half centuries earlier in the week, and he continued with that form on Wednesday, driving the ball elegantly and pulling with ferocity. He dominated the opening wicket partnership of 79 with Wihan Lubbe, another whose attacking approach has been well served by working with Peterson.
Such was the Warriors’ method, that by the time the power play had ended they’d amassed 77 runs, and given the depth in their batting line-up there was no way they would waste that start.
Breetzke will be grateful to the two chances missed by Joshua van Heerden, both simple when he was on 45 and then 47. He’d just gone into his shell for a stage at that point, but having been given those opportunities, he unfurled the full range of his talent. He went to his 50 with a straight drive for six, and followed it with another six off the next delivery, necessitating a ball change.
One delightful sequence followed shortly before his dismissal as he struck a beautifully timed square drive off the Iinyathi’s fastest bowler, Gideon Peters, after shuffling outside his off-stump, with bowler delivering a ball wide of off-stump, which he followed with a delicate sweep passed short fine leg.
Peters got his revenge with a well executed bouncer that Breetzke edged behind - another indication of Peters’ ability - but the afternoon and the match belonged to the Warriors opener.
He made 80 off 46 balls hitting nine fours and four sixes, and the platform he provided allowed the middle order to play freely. Diego Rosier scored 33 off 15 balls, hitting three sixes, and Tristan Stubbs, smashed 46 off only 22 balls, an innings dotted with four fours and three sixes.
Iinyathi captain Jerry Nqolo and Clayton Bosch, produced a lively and defiant 125-run partnership for the sixth wicket - a new South African record - that briefly raised thoughts that the impossible might be achievable. Bosch finished on 64 not out off just 26 balls, in which he struck seven fours and four sixes while Nqolo, was not out on 58, also off 26 balls, striking five fours and four sixes. They will draw lots of confidence from some of their performances, particularly that last partnership and their coach Paul Adams, will know that he has plenty to work with as the season unfolds.
The Warriors and the Rocks qualified from Pool D for the quarterfinals.
Pool C, featuring the SA under-19 side, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Easterns will be played in Bloemfontein from Friday.
Gbets Warriors 228/5 (Matthew Breetzke 80, Tristan Stubbs 46, Thomas Kaber 2/30, Phaphama Fojela 1/18)
Eastern Cape Iinyathi 207/5 (Clayton Bosch 64*, Jerry Nqolo 58*, JJ Smuts 2/48, Mthiwekhaya Nabe 1/39)
Warriors won by 21 runs