After the completion of the regular fixtures of the Jack Pace Shield, IZingari Australia drew the strong Knox Old Boys outfit for our quarter-final match. Having played each other two times this season, both sides had a win each, so this match had a significant amount of importance placed upon it with a semi-final awaiting the winner. A warm day greeted both sides with IZA skipper Michael Bryant winning the toss and electing to bat first in the hot conditions.
On a difficult wicket, openers Ben Van der Merwe and Jackson Isakka did a great job in getting the team off to an excellent start. Van Der Merwe in particular looked a class above continuing on with his outstanding season posting 39 runs on a wicket which was very tricky to get settled in on. The openers put on over 50 runs before a wicket fell which brought Michael Bryant to crease. Bryant continued on with Van Der Merwe to keep the scoreboard ticking over at a good rate scoring an important 28 runs. The Knox team bowled with excellent discipline and are always quick and energetic in the field, causing trouble for the middle order to stay in and keep the scoreboard ticking over. A steady flow of wickets resulted in IZingari Australia being bowled out for 110. A modest total but one which could be difficult to chase for Knox on a challenging wicket.
The bowling innings started brilliantly with the ever reliable Michael Burgess ripping through Knox’s strong top-order. 'Burgo' was on fire with all his 3 wickets bowled, proving to be too much for the Knox batsmen. A burst of heavy rain put a halt on proceedings with the match in a precarious position. With the Knox innings at this stage only 14 overs old, at least 20 overs needed to bowled to constitute a match. With the rain passing, the match continued with IZA eager to capitalise and get back into the match. Andre Leslie was brought into the attack and did a magnificent job tying up the Knox batsmen with a match-changing spell of bowling. The 4 wickets he took ensured that IZA were in front if rain interrupted the match and therefore put the team in a winning position. With Knox 9/75, the match was called off due to poor light and the returning rain. However with more than 20 overs bowled, IZA were in front on Duckworth-Lewis calculations, therefore winning the match by 20 runs.
A brilliant performance from the IZA men, considering the weather conditions at play the team held their nerve extremely well and put in their best fielding performance of the season to topple the excellent Knox outfit. The semi-final awaits, which is due to be held on February 16th against Colleagues at Shore.