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Domestic Wrap 2017


There were at least a dozen players who enjoyed outstanding seasons during the 2016-17 season but none bettered the 52 wickets claimed in just eight Sunfoil Series matches by Knights fast bowler Duanne Olivier as the central Franchise won the country’s most cherished title.

Olivier’s new-ball partnership with Marchant de Lange (34 wickets in eight matches) provided the cutting edge which allowed the Knights to finish just 1.78 points ahead of the Titans during a tense final round of matches. Shadley van Scalkwyk (29 wickets at 20.9) completed easily the best seam bowling trio in the country whose ability to stay fit was as important as their ability to take wickets.

Knights skipper Theunis de Bruyn was the model of consistence with the bat scoring 751 runs at an average of almost 58 while Rudi Second was also ever-present with 684 at 52.6 including three centuries.

Despite the winning margin the Titans never really matched the Knights when it came to the big moments although Aiden Markram (565 runs at 51) provided glimpses of what was to come a year later while Heinrich Klaasen (635 at 48.8) and Heino Kuhn (527 at 43.9) were also in the runs.


Colin Ingram was another player who enjoyed an outstanding year in the white ball game and it was his half century along with one from Gihan Cloete which helped the Warriors beat the Knights by 18-runs in the qualifier to reach the final of the Momentum Cup.

Ingram top-scored with 83 (97 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes) and shared in a 104-run second wicket stand with Cloete, who made 60 (103 balls, 5 fours, 1 six), as the visitors made 249/7 on a slow pitch at the Mangaung Oval.

But the men from the Eastern Cape were no match for the Titans in the final, humiliated by a frightening 236 runs, the second highest margin of victory ever. Markram piled up an almighty 161 from just 123 balls with 11 fours and seven sixes making the century from Henry Davids look almost pedestrian with 114 from 98 balls. The pair added 212 for the first wicket.

Heinrich Klaasen, a late inclusion when AB de Villiers suffered back spasms, made 60 from 50 balls but Chris Morris finished the game before the halfway point with an eye-watering 47 from just 12 deliveries, half of which went for six. The total of 425-5 was a Franchise record and the third time they had passed 400 in the tournament.

The Warriors were bundled out for just 189 in reply with Tabraiz Shamsi claiming 3-31 but Lungi Ngidi did as much damage by removing danger men Jon Jon Smuts (13) and Colin Ingram (1) inside the first five overs.

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The domestic T20 tournament was reincarnated from the CSA T20 Challenge back into the Ram Slam T20 Challenge at short notice and in record time following the still-birth of the Global League but it made no difference to the outcome with the all-conquering Titans qualifying for a home semifinal with two league games to spare and then crushing the Dolphins in the final to win a third consecutive title.

Some controversy was created by the Titans decision to field significantly weakened starting XIs in both of their final league games, both of which were lost. The final one saw the champions elect bowled out for an embarrassing 79 to concede a bonus point to the Dolphins which allowed them to leapfrog the Cobras into second place and snatch the other home semifinal away from them.

Titans coach Mark Boucher angrily rejected any suggestion of skulduggery and collusion and reminded his detractors – though they hardly needed reminding – that the Titans have comfortably the largest and most talent-laden squad in the country and it was his duty to give as many of them as possible some game time. Besides, the end justified the means.

The Titans flattened the Warriors by eight wickets in their semi while the Dolphins, who had been washed out an extraordinary five times in 10 league matches, progressed courtesy of a sixth ‘no-result’ against the Cobras meaning they reached the final winning just three out of 11 matches.

But they were blown away for just 100 by magnificent fast bowling from Chris Morris (4-13) and Lungi Ngidi (2-15) and the home side romped to a straightforward, seven wicket victory with an eye-watering 8.5 overs to spare. Quinton de Kock made 39 from 27 balls with four fours and two sixes, AB de Villiers completed a breathtaking tournament (when he played) by smashed an exhilarating 27 from 13 balls with three sixes before holing out to deep midwicket but Aiden Markram made sure the humiliation was complete with an unbeaten 18 from 14 balls.

The tournament was the most widely viewed in its history, almost exclusively because all the Proteas and ‘marquee’ domestic players were available which will be an important consideration if and when CSA rebuild the Global League with a different, more economical blueprint.


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