A second wicket partnership of 113 runs between Jean Du Plessis and Yaseen Valli, provided the foundation for South Western Districts’ comfortable victory in the second Pool A match of the CSA T20 Knockout competition against Northern Cape on Friday afternoon.
Du Plessis, SWD’s young captain, played a fine innings, packed with creative and also stylish stroke-making as he scored 69 off just 39 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes. Valli, relied less on finding the boundary, but ran well between the wickets, as he played the anchor role, scoring 60 off 49 balls, hitting five fours and one six..
The pair kept the home side busy in the outfield, finding the right balance to their scoring rate, without taking too many risks. Du Plessis looks like a very classy player, and at the age of just 22, will be closely watched by those managing the Cricket SA pipeline.
The other young player to grab the spotlight on Friday was Heath Richards, who took advantage of that second wicket partnership smashing 41 off 14 balls, that included three fours and four sixes, two of which were massive blows over midwicket. Richards is a very clean striker, who gets his power from a very solid base, and it’s to his credit that he doesn’t look to move around the crease too much, and allows himself the time to see what the bowler will do.
With South Africa looking for ‘finishers’ in the limited overs formats, Richards, just 20, is one worth watching. The late spurt he provided put the pressure on the home team who needed to score at close to 10 runs an over from the start of their innings.
Veteran Jonathan Vandiar gave them a decent shot at the beginning of the chase making 36 off 21 balls with six fours. But he needed to bat the majority of the innings for his side to have a chance.
There was lusty hitting from Aubrey Swanepoel (22 off 14 balls) and Evan Jones (34 off 22 balls) that briefly lifted Northern Cape’s hopes. However Valli took a magnificent catch at deep midwicket to get rid of Swanepoel and then held onto low catch in the same position to dismiss Jones, to end the home team’s chances. Herschel America was the pick of the SWD bowlers, claiming 2/23 in his four overs.
On Saturday, SWD will face Western Province in the first match at 10am, with Northern Cape playing the Lions at 2.30pm.
Six Gun Grill South Western Districts 192/4 (Jean du Plessis 69, Yaseen Valli 60, J van Dyk 2/34, Evan Jones 1/27)
Northern Cape 178/9 (Jonathan Vandiar 36, Evan Jones 34, Hershell America 3/23, Onke Nyaku 2/30)
SWD won by 24 runs