The Eastern Province Rural Cricket Side took a step closer in qualifying for the Annual Cricket South Africa Rural Week, that will take place in Makhanda (Grahamstown) from 20-25 February 2019. EP convincingly defeated Kei by 86 runs in their second last CSA Rural South Section encounter in Mthatha on Saturday 12 January.
EP is currently on 12 league points after log leaders, Boland, who are on 16 points. EP will play their last game against EP Midlands on 26 January 2019 in Grahamstown.
EP won the toss and decided to bat first in hot weather conditions. After a shaky start, the EP batsmen pulled back matters and posted a steady 242/7 in their allotted 50 overs. Opener Mohammed Sonday was unlucky not to score a century as he fell short on 94 runs. He was the danger man in the side and was devastating with the bat. He received excellent support from the inform Marquin Loutz who was the more aggressive partner in their 124-run third wicket partnership. Loutz went on to score a splendid 56 runs. Abner Accom also batted beautifully and looked in fine form for his 35 runs, but went out with a bad shot. Victor Masokoswa (3/29 (10)) and Shumani Buthle (2/27 (10)), were the best bowlers for the Kei side.
EP provided an excellent start in defending their target, picking up four crucial wickets early on. The home side fought back nicely thereafter, through batsmen Ghulam Hasan (54) and Ayaz Khawar (20), temporarily causing panic alarms for the EP side. They put up a hurricane 65 run partnership as the visitors started losing focus. Opening bowler Cole Wessels was the hero on the day with the ball, claiming impressive bowling figures of 5/29 in 10 overs. He bowled with great control, accuracy and was very economical. He received great support from spinner Loutz (3/20 (7.5)), veteran swing bowler Melville Daniels (1/43 (10)) and medium pace Tando Ngcete (1/44 (10)). EP eventually dismissed the home side for 156 (39.1).
Chesley Daniels, the stand in EP Manager, was happy with the performance of his side. “I am very pleased with our convincing win today as it was our primary goal coming here. We always knew the importance of coming here and that was to win at all cost in order for us to get closer in qualifying for the CSA Week,” said Daniels.
“The players performed exceptionally well in general and was up for the task. Our next goal is to win our last home game against EP Midlands to ensure a spot at the CSA Week, which we are the host. We are in a good space now, but we should remain focused and flat footed. I’m proud of the boys.”