St David’s Marist Inanda’s Morteza Manack stole the show on Saturday against Northcliff High School, with the opening batsmen scoring a brilliant century at the La Valla Oval. He ended with 148 runs from 126 balls, after having been put in to bat.
When the opener was out a mere two runs shy of a ton-and-a-half, there were still six overs remaining in his side’s innings.
Thanks mostly to Manack’s massive contribution, St David’s tallied 315/6 in their 50 overs. It was a difficult challenge for Northcliff, but they made a valiant attempt at the big target, eventually falling 21 runs short in an exciting run chase.
St David’s captain Matthew West scored a patient 50 runs from 98 balls, with only three boundaries, but he played a crucial support role to Manack as the pair shared a 149-run third wicket partnership.
The pain for the Northcliff bowlers wasn’t over, however, as lower-order batsman Oliver Botha let loose, helping himself to an electric 41 not out from only 14 balls, which included launching four maximums in a row.
With a solid foundation laid by the top-order, the final over of the St David’s innings saw the ball being dispatched to all parts of the ground by Botha, with opening bowler Declan Diesel (2/83), leaking 28 runs in an incredible onslaught.
Going into the lunch break, Northcliff’s players would have needed a serious gee-up from the side’s coaches after that late blitz. One’s mind jumps to Al Pacino’s speech in Any Given Sunday, about the value of inches or, in this case, margins in sport.
Whatever was said, the Northcliff batting unit set about pursuing the formidable total with determination. Opener Frank Devenish batted at better than a run a ball, scoring a spirited 63 runs from 61 deliveries, before succumbing to the bowling of Joshua Evans in the 21st over.
Tyron Bedford-Owen, batting at four, looked like he might hijack the spotlight from Manack’s superb show, compiling his own well-crafted century, and eventually finishing with 126. His knock came at just quicker than a run-a-ball, and it included nine fours and five sixes. But it was not quite enough to see his side over the line.
Botha followed up his heroics with the bat, by claiming three scalps, ending with 3/57 from his 10 overs. His haul included the vital wicket of Owen, who was well set. Botha then added two wickets in the last over of the match with some pin-point death bowling.
St David’s Director of Cricket Dave Nosworthy commented: “The batsmen were superb over the weekend, especially Morteza Manack, who dominated in 360-degree fashion.
“We, also, often talk about how batsmen are performing so well these days, which they are, but often we forget just how the bowlers need to develop their skills, tactics, and strategies, especially on mostly batsman-friendly pitches, which we find more often than not around the world these days…”
The match provided an enthralling display from both side’s batsmen, but it has left the bowlers with some additional homework to do before their next matches.
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St David’s Marist 315/6 (Morteza Manack 148, Matthew West 50, Oliver Botha 41*, Extras: 21; Reaäl Hariram 2/53, Declan Diesel 2/84); Northcliff High School 294/7 (Tyron Bedford-Owen 126, Frank Devenish 63, Extras: 22; Oliver Botha 3/57, Joshua Evans 2/61). St David’s Marist won by 21 runs.