Staff Reporter –
The Free State cricket franchise, the VKB Knights, beat the Senior Provincial Select team in a warm-up T20 match played at Bethlehem Showgrounds in Eastern Free State on Saturday.
The fun-filled family day, organised by Thabo Mofutsanyana Cricket Association, kicked off with a KFC Mini-Cricket festival before the Knights locked horns with the Senior Provincial select side. The Bloemfontein-based side elected to bat first after winning the toss.
Opening batsman, Andries Gous set the tone, smashing 4 fours and 3 sixes in his impressive 37 runs from 17 balls while his opening partner, Grant Mokoena added 23 runs off 21 balls.
Beyers Swanepoel, Loyiso Mdashe and Sean Whitehead helped minimise the carnage, picking up two wickets apiece to limit VKB Knights to 165 for 9.
For the Knights, the pick of the bowlers was Ryan McLaren who claimed 2 wickets for a very economical 7 runs from 3 overs. Ottneil Baartman, who picked up 2 for 10runs, also showed a helping hand when he sent the dangerous all-rounder, Swanepoel, back to the pavilion for 25 runs off 19 balls.
For the Senior Provincial Team, Thandolwethu Mnyaka’s fighting spirit that saw him claiming 39 runs from 29 balls (6 fours and 1 six), was not enough to upstage the Knights. In reply, the Provincial Team’s 151 for 8 fell 14 runs short of the target.
According to chairperson of the Thabo Mofutsanyana Cricket Association, Dawie Botha, the day was organised to promote cricket among the youth and to create an opportunity for support and development of young talented players. Learners from Grade 1 to 3 in the district participated in a KFC Mini-Cricket festival where the players from VKB Knights and the Free State Senior Provincial team helped them with their techniques.
VKB Knights captain, Pite van Biljon, described the experience as an incredible opportunity to help promote cricket development at grassroots level.
The Knights were using the match as preparation for the upcoming 2018/19 cricket season which gets underway on September 26.