The Imperial Lions were crowned champions of the 13th annual Cricket South Africa Cubs Week in Stellenbosch after comfortably defeating the VKB Knights by seven wickets in the final.
The Knights batted first in the final on the Coetzenburg Oval and reached what seemed to be a competitive 267/6 in their allotted 50 overs thanks to a century by Ruan Cronjé (111). Juan-Dee Olivier (56*) and JP Coetzee (44) also contributed with the willow.
The Lions’ Michael Copeland (98) deserved a century but fell to the bowling of Reeza Alexander two runs short of the milestone. Copeland struck six fours and six sixes as he took the game away from the Knights with some aggressive batting.
Copeland shared a 158-run partnership with Nick Halstead-Cleak (73*) over the third wicket. Halstead-Cleak was the glue that kept the batting line-up together while also keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Opening batsman Taheer Isaacs (52) also contributed towards the victory with his half-century. Cronjé of the Knights also finished the week as leading wicket-taker with 15 wickets at an average of 10.5 runs per victim.
Cape Cobras’ Lehan Botha (5/26) showed with an impressive allround performance against the Titans that he is a double threat. Botha bagged a five-wicket haul as the Titans were restricted to 236 at Tassies Oval.
Botha then also got the Cobras past the target as he scored an unbeaten 58 runs. Kai Curren (67) and Jhedli van Briesies (54*) also recorded half-centuries.
The Warriors finished the week on a high thanks to a four-wicket victory over the Dolphins.
The boys from Nigeria will feel heartbroken as they came a solitary two runs short of securing their first victory at this year’s Cubs Week against Namibia. A victory would’ve given the team’s spirit the necessary lift before the ICC u19 World Cup.
Namibia won the match by a solitary run with Jan van Dyk (3/26) and Addo Iita (2/13) causing most of the damage with the ball in hand. The victory will also be sweet revenge for Namibia as Nigeria defeated them to book their place at World Cup later this month in South Africa.
Nigeria’s Miracle Akhige (3/27) and Taiwo Mohamed (3/33) can also feel happy with their bowling performances in the defeat.
The Titans’ opening batsman Jordan Hermann concluded the tournament as the highest run-scorer. His 402 runs are the most runs ever scored during a Cubs Week. His runs also came at an impressive average of 100.5 runs per innings.
Knights 267/6 (Ruan Cronjé 111, Juan-Dee Olivier 56*, JP Coetzee 44, Corné Viljoen 28; Zakhele Sibanda 2/43); Lions 269/3 (Michael Copeland 98, Nick Halstead-Cleak 73*, Taheer Isaacs 52; Michael Jantjies 1/9). Lions won by seven wickets.
Titans 236 (Hanu Viljoen 63, Valentime Kitime 50, Simeon de Bruyn 35, Saahil Khan 29, Jordan Hermann 23; Lehan Botha 5/26); Cape Cobras 237/3 (Kai Curren 67, Lehan Botha 58*, Jhedli van Briesies 54*, Daniel Smith 43). Cape Cobras won by seven wickets.
Dolphins 180 (Jacques van der Walt 50, Seth Rajakumar 39, Andile Simelane 24; Joshua Stephenson 2/22, Nicholas Keevy 2/28); Warriors 181/6 (Nonelela Yikha 36*, James Mullins 35, Extras 35, Jaden Smith 29; Michael Frost 2/24). Warriors won by four wickets.
Namibia 219 (Scott Winburn 67, Gerhard Janse van Rensburg 38, Renier Bosman 34, Extras 29; Miracle Akhige 3/27, Taiwo Mohamed 3/33); Nigeria 218 (O Elijah 43, T Mohamed 40, Extras 31, J Rahman 30, S Runsewe 22; Jan van Dyk 3/26, Addo Iita 2/13). Namibia won by one run.