LPL widening Wits’ boundaries

The Varsity Cricket preparatory T20 tournament put Wits’ cricketers up against the LPL All Stars on Tuesday night and saw Wits crumble under the opposition’s batting power. 

IMG_8256

STUNNED SILENCE: The Wits performance cricket squad watching their team mates bat from the Walter Milton oval’s balcony during the first innings of Tuesday night’s game against Lenasia Premier League All Stars. LPL beat the Wits squad’s score of 146 for five with three overs to spare. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The LPL All Stars hit Wits’ high performance cricket squad for six on Tuesday night at the Walter Milton oval with three overs to spare.

The Varsity Cricket preparatory T20 tournament has lined-up Wits to play a five match series against the Lenasia Premier League (LPL) All Stars.

Their first match on Tuesday night gave us a taste of some of the skills and action we can expect from the rest of the series.

Wits made 146 for the loss of five wickets in their 20 overs. LPL chased down the score in just 17.4 overs with 7 wickets remaining.

LPL’s opening batsman, 22-year-old Yassar Cook, was batsman of the game with an undefeated 71 off just 51 balls. Cook’s fellow Gauteng squad teammate Nono Pongolo (25) was Wits’ top scorer and captain, who scored an unbeaten 43 runs off just 33 balls.

“The main focus for us with this tournament is to make sure that our youngsters who were chosen from the LPL tournament learn something and become better cricketers”, said LPL coach, Juan Le-Maitre.

To the Wits squad coach, Neil Levenson, a win was important, “but it’s more about the development of the squad and pushing the players a bit more.”

After playing the same team a few times they start to pick-up your tactics, which is the challenge of this tournament, according to Coach Le-Maitre.

“The Wits team has a good young side and we shouldn’t underestimate them”, said LPL captain, Juanré Potgieter. LPL’s weakness lies in that they can take the Wits squad for granted, because they have a better team with more provincial players, according to Potgieter.

Before the game Pongolo told his squad to learn as much as they can from the more experienced LPL team and enjoy the ride. “This is such a big occasion and as much as we want to win the tournament, our sole focus is to grow as a team.”

Despite the loss, the Wits squad keeps a professional mentality. “We’ve been working on T20 skills after the season break. We studied the opposing team’s player profiles and know the players well,” said Levenson.

With four games left to play in the tournament the final wicket hasn’t fallen yet and Wits still stands a chance at lifting the trophy.

CRICKET: Randburg gives Wits the edge

Croxley Wits Cricket Club lost by two wickets in their league match against Randburg Cricket Club last Sunday.

The teams were evenly matched but Randburg managed to limit Wits’ total to 184.

Randburg coach, Kurt Human said his team’s performance went according to plan. “We wanted to come in here and try and restrict them … what we wanted was to bowl first and get four wickets down earlier on,” he said.

Tiro Madiseng, Randburg captain added, “Patience was the key for us. We’re hoping to get as close as possible to the top because they bit us the first time.”

Wits captain Nono Pongolo said their batting was not what they had hoped it would be, “we let ourselves down with the bat, losing soft wickets”.

The second half of the match saw Wits bowling soft balls giving Randburg the chance to score easy runs.

“Thanks to the bowlers we got a decent score that gave us a fighting chance. We fought well, but they wanted it more in the end,”

After a short break Randburg lost 4 wickets in quick succession, slowing their pace.

Even though Wits managed to push a little more, the team was a little too late when Randburg finished the game with a total of 191-8.

“We had a couple of half chances we did not hold on to, if we held on to those two or three chances we could have had three to five wickets down by now,” said player-coach Neil Levenson said.

“Thanks to the bowlers we got a decent score that gave us a fighting chance. We fought well, but they (Randburg) wanted it more in the end,” Pongolo said.

Even though Randburg managed to score 13 more points in the league for winning the game, Wits still remains in second place.

Wits still has two more games to play until the Gauteng Premier league is over.