HARLEQUINS combined 1st and 2nd side cricket squad headed to Johannesburg this past weekend for a pre-season 3 match T20 tour, ahead of the coming season which starts in October. As per form, they arrived to a very chilly and dry highveld with temperatures under 20 degrees c. All three opposing teams, Pirates, Delfos and Randburg, participate in the Gauteng Cricket Boards premier group B division and would be tough matches from ball 1.
The 1st match took place against Pirates Cricket club, the toss was lost by captain Fayaz Safri and Pirates sent Quins into Bat. Quins started slow but gained great momentum with Sheldon Spindler and Fayaz Safri working the ball around on a dry and fast outfield. 2 quick wickets and Quins were at 59/3 after 10 overs. It was Brandon de Meillon that went on to steal the show with fine innings of 50 off 26 balls that left quins at 125/4 after 16. Kevin Kettle and Aziz Khan then stepped to the crease all arms swinging to push quins to 175/5 in 20. Pirates opening batsmen got off to a fast start with a few boundaries, but Captain Fayaz Safri kept a close tally on the run rate required. Pirates top order kept the scoreboard ticking and were at 112/1 after 12. It was Eric Cavanaghs first 2 overs of off spin that dried up the boundaries and started the collapse of batsmen. Brandon assisted in a team hatrick of 2 run outs and a great catch by Fayaz at long-on to close the Pirates innings at 164 all out, Quins winning by 11 runs. Eric
With a dying wicket and eager opposition, Randburg CC sent Quins in to bat, for match 2 of the day. Quins deciding to swap the batting order up front and turned favourable. Opening pair Mubeen Noorgat and Azhar Patel hit hard up front with a partnership innings of 47. Azhar then opened the flood gates with sixes all over the ground, no bowler in sight to stop him, knocking an amazing career best innings of 100 off 44 balls to see quins finish 169/6 in 20. Any 100’s scored on tour requires the player to have to wear the Superman Onezee the next game in good spirit of Touring and team building, Azhar was no exception to this. Quins had a decent start upfront with Marc Lenferna de Motte and Fayaz restricting Randburg to 25/3 after 6 overs. It was then poor bowling by quins and some great intent shown by Randburg that got the home side to 148/6 after 18 overs. 21 runs needed off 12 balls, Quins thought they had the game in control, but 2 boundaries and a six in the 19th oversaw Randburg cruize to victory with 3 balls to spare.
Day 2 saw a very fatigued and injured Quins XI take on Delfos in the thirds T20 of the tour. Quins won the toss and elected to field first, on what seemed a very green and bouncy wicket. Opening Bowler Kevin Kettle pushed on through calf injuries to lay down 4 good overs upfront with figures of 1 wicket for 19 runs in 4 overs. Backed by some great spin bowling by Azhar with figures of 1 wicket for 15 runs in 4 overs, Quins fielded well restricting the Home team to 157/4 in 20 overs. Captain Fayaz was happy with chasing down this score, considering Quins made over 170 in both matches the previous day, despite the wicket playing a bit spongy. Quins opening pair, Azhar and Sheldon, put on a fine partnership of 48 with Azhar hitting some more big sixes around the ground. Sheldon showed great composure after the collapse of the first wicket, working the ball through gaps for four and possibly the biggest six of the tour, roughly 100m over the stands. Sheldon ended his innings on 43 off 40 balls. Quins required a run a ball to win after the 10th over, but miss-timed shots and low bounce saw a major collapse of the middle order, leaving them grasping for the win. They were bowled out in the 20th over for 110 runs.
A great tour it was, with thanks to the Quins committee for funding the tour and all those involved in making it a success, as well as supporters travelling afar to support the matches, this to become an annual pre-season tour. The Club has also worked very hard on their Top fields 4 pitches in the pre-season, which should rival some of the top pitches in Durban this season. The club looks forward to the coming season, and any interested players can contact the club secretary, Ernest Kettle on 031 467 3270. Training will be held at Quins Cricket grounds at 2pm every Sunday for the month of September.
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