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Gauteng clinch sixth straight win on Day 5 at Momentum U15 Week

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In a rain-interrupted fifth day of the Momentum under-15 Boys Week, the Central Gauteng Lions confirmed their perfect record with a sixth victory of the tournament against KwaZulu-Natal Inland in East London on Monday.

After the start of all the matches was delayed by a combination of morning showers and wet outfields, the overs were reduced with most of the encounters playing 39 overs.

Along with Gauteng’s result, there were also big wins for Eastern Province, KZN Coastal and Western Province, while Northerns and Mpumalanga earned hard-fought victories on Day 5. Matches between Free State and Namibia, and Border and Limpopo were abandoned due to rain.

Going into the final day’s play, Gauteng had picked up five straight wins and were after a similar result when they took on KZN Inland at Selborne College’s A-field. The young men from Johannesburg didn’t disappoint as an opening batsman, Kaiyuran Pillay’s half-century (57 off 89 balls; 1 six) got his side off to a strong start after winning the toss and batting first. Despite the solid start, KZN Inland’s Jake Carstens picked up crucial wickets on his way to figures of four for 35 as they eventually restricted Gauteng to 167/9 in their allotted overs.

With the ball, Gauteng took wickets at regular intervals, with Thomas Johnson leading with three wickets for 50, as the KZN Midlands outfit was bowled out for 152 to earn Gauteng a 15-run victory and the unofficial crown of U15 Week champions.

Thanks to an outstanding performance with the ball from EP’s Daniel Ristow, the Port Elizabeth-based side claimed a mammoth 131-run win over Northern Cape. The right-arm seamer took figures of 4/20 to skittle out Northern Cape for just 47 in 20.4 overs after his side posted a competitive 178/8 following a key opening partnership between Connor Roff (52) and Ashley Ostling (51).

In another contest that had a big winning margin, WP bounced back from defeat on Day 4 to thrash North West by 86 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method after further rain delays. The side from Cape Town posted 144/9 in 37 overs in testing conditions thanks to Jacques Jooste’s fifty (52 off 80 balls) before Liyema Waqu proceeded to bamboozle his opponents with the ball, taking four wickets for just 10 runs to bowl out North West for 58.

Meanwhile, KZN Coastal sealed an 85-run success against Easterns, who failed to recover from their first defeat of the Week on Sunday. It was a team effort for the players based at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground, with Tristan Naicker (43) top-scoring to guide them to 173 all out before Ronan Vardaya (2/8), Zander de Coning (2/33) and Andile Wanda (2/16) charged in with the ball to dismiss Easterns for 88 in 27.1 overs.

In the other matches, Northerns claimed a narrow two-wicket triumph over Boland, while Mpumalanga took home the bragging rights over South Western Districts following a three-wicket victory.

KZ Inland’s Luke Benkenstein ended the Week as the top wicket-taker with 17 scalps in six matches, while Dewald Grove from Boland walked away as the leading run-scorer with 396 runs, including two centuries and a fifty in his six outings.

Final scorecards from Day 5 of the Momentum U15 Boys Week can be located on www.websports.co.za