It’s rare for us to still be playing in April, and the state of the pitch when we arrived perhaps alluded to the fact that indeed the season had stretched on a bit.
If the Gardens wicket we played on in February was a Pune Day 5 wicket, this was closer to a Day 7, so there was absolutely no hesitation in bowling first when we won the toss.
Not that the state of the wicket seemed to bother the home side’s openers much – Stephen and Mario cruised to 33 before the carnage started. Mario got an unplayable ball from Cornell Keulder (5-1-16-1), before Ryan Cooper (7-3-22-2) – opening with spin – got two in quick succession.
Enter Michael van Dewenter and Andrew Young, who between them ripped through the middle to late-order. Michael (7-3-17-3) bowled the perfect length for the pitch, while Andrew rediscovered some pace and swing to finish with 6-1-14-3.
Mark Haselau picked up the final wicket with his second ball as Ceres were dismissed for 78 inside 27 overs, but still we knew it would not be an easy chase given the conditions.
Hannes Carlson (1) found that out as he was bowled with the seventh ball of the innings, but Neville Cooper and James Lamprecht showed some grit (and rode their luck) with balls flying past their head to put on a brilliant 53 for the second wicket.
Neville was eventually bowled for 26 and, despite Ruan de Jongh getting caught on the boundary for a duck, James made sure of the win with an unbeaten 33 (complete with his now trademark camera poses), with Jarryd van Wyk smashing the winning boundary for a seven-wicket victory with 19 overs still remaining.
Given the early finish, there was plenty of time for ‘n braai and drinks afterwards. Thanks again to Proppie and his team for your hospitality – we will definitely be back next season!