AB de Villiers once again showed why is regarded as one of the most destructive batsmen ever to play the game as his quickfire innings helped his team Eagles win the 3TC Solidarity Cup gold medal in Centurion on Saturday.
After Reeza Hendricks won the toss and elected to bat first, Kingfishers started brightly with their skipper and Janneman Malan putting on a 30-run partnership in the first three overs.
Hendricks was run-out courtesy of a fine fielding effort from Temba Bavuma. Faf du Plessis came in the middle and tried to put on a partnership with Malan, who was hitting well at the other end.
Malan’s 31 off 16 ensured Kingfishers ended their first part of the innings at 56/2 in 6 overs.
AB de Villiers’ Eagles were the next to bat with Kingfishers coming out to bowl. Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen opened the innings for Eagles and they got the team off to a cautious start.
After the completion of two overs, Eagles were at 16/1 as Glenton Stuurman clean bowled van der Dussen. AB de Villiers came out to bat but it was Markam who did the maximum damage for Eagles.
Markram smashed 43 off 21 deliveries while ABD could muster only 7 off 11 deliveries. Eagles finished their first part of the innings with 66/1 in 6 overs.
For Kites, Jon-Jon Smuts and Ryan Rickleton opened the innings against Eagles. The openers started steadily as they scored 17 runs from the first two overs.
Lungi Ngidi bowled the third over and he conceded 16 runs from it with Smuts taking the attack to the South African international.
Rickleton was dismissed LBW by Andile Phehlukwayo, however, Smuts kept going on the other end and helped Kites finish at 58/1 in six overs.
In the second half, Eagles were supposed to bat first, followed by Kites and then Kingfishers. The team with most number of runs (combined first and second) would win gold followed by silver and finally bronze medal.
De Villiers simply went berserk in the second half as he smashed a half-century off just 21 deliveries. He was finally dismissed by Kites’ Anrich Nortje for 61 (24 balls) but the damage was already done as ABD’s heroics ensured Eagles finished with 160/4 in their 12 overs over two halves.
Kites came out to bat, resuming their innings at 58/1. Bavuma and Smuts departed in quick succession as Kingfishers left them reeling at 76/3.
Dwaine Pretorius then smashed Tabraiz Shamsi for three sixes and two fours as Kites needed 44 off last two overs to be in gold position.
Stuurman conceded just 11 runs at Kites went into the last over, needing 33 runs to overhaul Eagles’ score. They, however, finished at 138/3 despite Pretorius slamming the fastest half-century of the match (17 balls).
Kingfishers came out to bat the last and they needed to score 139 for the silver medal and 161 to win the gold. du Plessis and Coetzee resumed the innings for them in the second half against the Eagles.
Du Plessis tore apart Ngidi in the eighth over as he smashed three sixes and a four to put his team on the right track in the chase.
Fortuin, however, ended du Plessis’ stay in the middle as he castled him for 28 (13 balls). Phehlukwayo then got rid of Klassen in the next over, and celebrated by showing the Black Lives Matter engraved on his inner t-shirt.
Ngidi bowled an economical last two over as Kingfishers ended their 12 overs at 113/5. This meant they had to settle for bronze, Kites won silver while Eagles took home the gold.