An inspired performance by Avendale Cricket Club’s Aqib Benjamin, 21, was enough to see the home side claim a seven wicket victory over Green Point CC, in a Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) Grand Challenge one-day cup final, on Saturday.
The off-spinner, Benjamin, took 3/29 to help Avendale get their one-day campaign off to the perfect start.
Green Point was dismissed for 129 in 34.3 overs with Benjanmin being the destroyer in chief, supported by Ronaldo Mayer who took 3/38. Avendale chased down the total with ease (130/3) and captain Michael Swartz knocking 57 not out.
Benjamin, from Bonteheuwel, said his performance was one of the best he had all season. In the two-day format, Benjanmin plays for the second team, and has been consistent with the ball.
He’s bowled 43 overs, 10 maidens, consisted 96 runs, took five wickets with his best figures being 3/22 against neighbours Primrose. The second side is currently unbeaten and top of the log in the WPCA Reserve League B two-day format.
“I am satisfied with my performances across all formats, and hope to remain consistent when the season re-starts, next year,” he said.
The former Silverlea Primary School pupil made his first team debut at the age of 16 for Avendale.
“I was smashed to all parts of the ground by Helderberg batsmen. But one of my mentors, Rushdie Salie, told me that I still have a role to play with the bat. Rushdie and I were together for more than a session hoping to play for a draw but I was run out,” said Benjanmin who admires former South African spin bowler Johan Botha.
“Just like Johan I had to remodel my bowling action because I was no balled for bending my arm. He inspired me to continue through my rehabilitation that I could still make a comeback and play for the first team again,” he said.
Swarts said his players performed well and will return to the pitch confident agains Claremont, after the break.
“This is a great start to the one-day campaign and will help us in moving forward. It’s been a tough first half and there are players who need to recover from some niggling injuries,” said Swarts.
because we have Claremont after the Christmas break. They will be a good test to see how well we have maintained our standards post the break,” he said
Avendale has had a inconsistent start to the WPCA division 1A(first team) two-day format having won and lost two.They sit on 38 points in fifth position. But Swarts believes they can turn it around.
“There has been some good signs with bat and ball but room for improvement. It’s been a tough first half so the plan is to rest the body and recover from any niggles. The main goal is to make the semi-finals of the one-day and make the top three of the two-day format,” he said.