First XI vs Durbanville at Plumstead, 10 Dec 2022

The difference between playing the team first and last on the log was starkly outlined for Cape Town in dramatic fashion.  Whereas just the previous weekend they had easily outplayed wooden-spoonists Ottoman for a bonus-point victory, now they in turn were comprehensively clobbered by log leaders Durbanville despite enjoying home ground advantage.

Bucking the recent trend to field first at the Boon Wallace Oval that had brought them rich success in their previous three matches there, Cape Town chose to bat first on this occasion – and found themselves in immediate trouble by losing a wicket in the very first over of the game.  Three missed chances during the second-wicket partnership alone from a sloppy Durbanville fielding effort offered some hope of a home team recovery, Ethan Cunningham hitting five fours in marginally improving his previous highest score for Cape Town, but he was the first of two wickets in consecutive overs that sent the home team into the first drinks break still in trouble at 56-4 after 18 overs.

After the break, Kyle Schreuder held up the visitors’ bowlers for a while in reaching 20 for the first time in his own short Cape Town First XI career, but once off-spinner Robert van der Ross got the breakthrough with a full toss, the end came disconcertingly quickly.  With Jaco Castle’s gentle medium-pacers followed by Bradley Petersen’s left-arm orthodox spin also cashing in regularly at the other end, the home side imploded rapidly – losing their last six wickets in ten overs for just 19 runs, to crash to 97 all out more than an hour prior to the scheduled innings break.  Leon le Roux snapped up three catches in the field and Rubin Senekal two more, as Cape Town unerringly picked out fielders with regularity from their attacking strokes.  The only positive during that rout was Brendan Young connecting with a swing over deep mid wicket to reach 2 500 career runs for the Cape Town First XI, thereby completing the double that paired with the 250 wickets reached long since back in early 2019.  For his side though, it continued their poor recent run of batting form against Durbanville – they have now failed to reach 100 in three of their last five all-out totals against their Northern Suburbs opponents.

If it was any consolation, the visitors did not prolong Cape Town’s agony any more than necessary, openers Jean Strydom and Fritz de Beer making short work of their modest victory target at a rate of better than a-run-a-ball.  Strydom cut the first ball of the innings for four to set the tone from the outset, and once he had struck his third four in the sixth over, his personal score never dropped below his number of balls faced.  De Beer, on the other hand, offered two early chances before reaching double figures, and surviving both thereafter held his end up until striking three late boundaries in quick succession with the end in sight.  Strydom was the chief driving force though, dominating a fifty partnership raised in the eighth over before flying passed a 42-ball fifty while lofting two sixes over extra cover in the space of three balls.  There would be a fourth six off his bat in the next over too, as Durbanville blazed 38 from three overs to tie the scores by the end of the 15th over.

Thus Cape Town succumbed to their second ten-wicket defeat of the current season – a fate that they had last suffered more than a decade previously, when they were still relegated and playing in the First Division A.  While their net run rate took another heavy hit in the process, now dropping into the negative, at least the result cost Cape Town no places on the Premier League points table, the Plumstead-based outfit remaining in sixth place as the clubs immediately above and below them both had byes.

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