The KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union’s Academy concluded a successful tour to Potchefstroom on Friday, winning five of their six T20 and 50 over matches against Free State Academy, North West Academy and Pukke.
Having spent some time bonding off the field at a three day camp at Shongweni Dam recently, the KZN outfit will take good on-field confidence from their Potch tour as they continue their preparations for the upcoming CSA Franchise Academy 1-Day Week in Oudtshoorn in September.
“The tour was a success and a great learning curve for the boys,” said KZN Cricket Academy captain, Luke Schlemmer.
“We used it as part of our growing process and were able to establish just where we are as a team ahead of Academy Week.
“We were able to put the plans that our coaches Yashin Ebrahim and Thoks Zulu had put in place and make sure we’re on point come Academy week,” he added.
The men from the Kingdom of the Zulu started strongly on Monday, winning both of their T20 matches against North West and Free State.
“The first game on Monday was quite a tough, closely contested game and even though we ended up beating North West by 47 runs, the game was in the balance up until the twelfth over and it took some great bowling from Nduduzo Mfoza and Smangaliso Nhlebela to get us the win.
“We then managed to bowl Free State out quite cheaply in game two as our seamers Tyron Koen and Mlu Gcado managed to use the conditions well while Johnny Riekert then batted through to take us to victory by seven wickets.
The side then continued their winning ways in their first two 50 over assignments against North West and Pukke, winning by 44 and 65 runs respectively.
“Through half centuries by Dudu Zondo and Blayde Capell, we managed to put 278 on the board against North West, which we felt was a good effort, and then we bowled really well with spin again playing an important role for us,” said Schlemmer.
“Wednesday’s wicket was very dry and so the game was quite low scoring.
“We posted 210 thanks to a good effort in the middle order by Bruce Kerr and Jason Wagner, who each got a thirty, before Smanga Nhlebela again put up his hand and grabbed a four-for while Mfoza played a great supporting role as he claimed three wickets of his own.
However, Thursday’s final 50 over clash of their trip saw KZN slip up against Free State by seven wickets before they finished on a winning note, beating the same side in Friday’s T20 clash by 60 runs.
“On day four we encountered a bit of a bump in the road against Free State.
“After winning the toss, we took things a little lightly and so despite a half century by Blayde Cappel and some support from Johnny Riekert, we could only scratch our way to 146 which unfortunately wasn’t enough, especially as one of the Free State opening batsmen scored a hundred.
“The boys were up for Friday’s game after losing the day before.
“We posted 156 on a tricky wicket and then bowled Free State out for 96 with Smanga Nhlebela again bagging some wickets.”
Nhlebela, the standout performer of the tour, bagged twelve wickets in total, including two three-fors and a four wicket haul, while many batsman got starts throughout with Blayde Capell notching up two half centuries while Jason Wagener and Dudu Zondo also surpassed the 50-mark during the week.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
KZN CRICKET ACADEMY’S POTCHEFSTROOM TOUR
Monday, 4 July – T20 vs. North West Academy
KZN 153/4 (Jason Wagener 50, Luke Schlemmer 44*)
North West 106/7 (Nduduzo Mfoza 2/17, Smangaliso Nhlebela 2/27)
KZN won by 47 runs
T20 vs. Free State Academy
Free State 92/9 (Mlungisi Gcado 3/13, Tyron Koen 3/16)
KZN 93/3 (Johnny Riekert 30*, Luke Schlemmer 26*)
KZN won by 7 wickets
Tuesday, 5 July – 50 overs vs. North West Academy
KZN 278/9 (Dudu Zondo 51, Blayde Capell 64)
North West 234 all out (Smangaliso Nhlebela 3/21, Richard Wissing 3/44)
KZN won by 44 runs
Wednesday, 6 July – 50 overs vs. Pukke
KZN 210 all out (Bruce Kerr 31, Jason Wagener 34)
Pukke 145 all out (Smangaliso Nhlebela 4/36, Nduduzo Mfoza 3/23)
KZN won by 65 runs
Thursday, 7 July – 50 overs vs. Free State Academy
KZN 196 all out (Johnny Riekert 46, Blayde Capell 51)
Free State 201/3
Free State won by 7 wickets
Friday, 8 July – T20 vs Free State Academy
KZN 156/8 (Luke Schlemmer 31)
Free State 96 all out (Smangaliso Nhlebela 3/18)
KZN won by 60 runs