Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It’s all square with one match to go in the KFC Mini-Cricket kids vs Proteas Tour!

The KFC Mini-Cricket kids of Malvern Primary School secured a heroic 1 run win over the Proteas in the penultimate match of the KFC Mini-Cricket vs Proteas Tour, meaning either side has the chance to win the series in the final match!

Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, the Proteas, led by David Miller, took to the field confident that they could wrap the series up with a win in this match and secure the all-important bragging rights as overall victors.

The enormity of the occasion was not lost on the young captain of the KFC Mini-Cricket team, Xavier Elliot, who partnered by Suvarn Rampersad, got off to a cautious start as they looked to build a measured innings up front.

This start paved the way for playmaker Laveshan Govender to come to the crease and cut loose, something that David Miller and Kyle Abbott got to experience first had as the young batsmen dispatched them to all parts of the ground with ease and grace.

With the run rate escalating nicely, Kevin Van den Berg and Matthew Bosch showed a similar lack of interest in the reputations of the well-known Proteas bowlers, putting bat to ball with alarming regularity. This prompted Proteas captain Miller into bringing on his secret weapon, Imran Tahir, who spun a web of confusion around the rampant batsmen, slowing the progress of the home side.

The run respite was brief though, as once Tahir was finished, the kids continued to pile on the runs with Proteas bowlers Nadine Moodley and Lizelle Lee going for more runs than they would have hoped for.

Shabnim Ismail was entrusted with bowling the difficult final over, something she did with great success, stifling the scoring of both Uyapha Mathalane and Zackery Gerber. By that stage, the runs were however already on the board so to speak, and the Proteas found themselves needing to chase the daunting total of 74 runs in the allotted 8 overs.

Having done so well with the ball, Imran Tahir was chosen to open the batting with Chloe Tyron, facing up to opposition captain Xavier Elliot. From the start the bowling was tight and determined, with Matthew Bosch maintaining the pressure created by his captain’s opening burst.

With things not looking too encouraging for the Proteas, Lizelle Lee came to the crease, hot off her player of the tournament accolade in the recent T20 triangular against Pakistan and Ireland, and looking determined to get her team back in the game. Ably partnered by Nadine Moodley, the seasoned campaigners put the KFC Mini-Cricket kids under pressure, running hard, and keeping the scoreboard ticking with each ball.

This then set the stage for Proteas captain David Miller to come to the crease and in signature style, close the game out with some lusty blows. He started out in just this vein, with some huge shots out of the ground, unraveling the young bowlers who tried hard to counter his strength and skills, but sadly had no answers to them.

Batting in the place of the injured AB de Villiers, Lizelle Lee batted for a second time joining David Miller at the crease. Needing 21 runs from the last two overs, the KFC Mini-Cricket kids needed someone to step up and save the day. That someone was Kai Landman, a talented young bowler that the Proteas could just not get away. Uyapha Mathalane followed his lead at the start of the final over, and within the space of a few balls, the pressure was suddenly back on the Proteas, who despite having star players Miller and Lee at the crease, needed 5 runs from the last two balls.

Chaos then ensued with Miller being run out off a wide while trying to steal two runs, the eventual result being that the Proteas needed 3 runs off the final ball. Young Uyapha ran in again, and with nerves of steel, fired the ball towards Miller, who could only manage a single, and with that the KFC Mini-Cricket kids of Malvern Primary had beaten the Proteas by 1 run!

In almost sheer disbelief, the kids all went crazy when the umpires signaled the end of the match, with the spectators swarming around them in excitement.

It was a famous day for all involved at Malvern Primary, with the home team’s coach, Nathan Viktor, saying that he believes this match will do wonders in inspiring more and more kids at the school to get active with KFC Mini-Cricket in future.

School principle Alan Galvin, said that when he was in primary school, he, like his young learners, used to dream about playing against his heroes. Only difference being that the kids got to live their dreams on this day, making it a day that everyone will remember for a very long time.

Onto the final match of the KFC Mini-Cricket vs Proteas Tour we go, and with the incredible comeback the KFC Mini-Cricket kids have staged in this series while getting active against their heroes, it is anyone’s guess who will come out as the ultimate victors.

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