His return to form and Jason Smith’s continued upward curve as a classical all-rounder coincided with Western Province’s emphatic win by an innings and 31 runs against KwaZulu-Natal this weekend in a Sunfoil Three-Day Cup-match. It was their first three-day victory of the 2017/2018 season.
Malan was back to his best in both formats. His 92 in the one-day format could not propel the hosts to a win against KwaZulu-Natal, as they finished on 296 for nine, 20 runs short of the visitors’ 316 for seven.
“Pieter worked hard on his balance. He showed good stability at the crease. He is an old campaigner and knows where things go wrong,” Salieg Nackerdien, the coach, said about his first-class performance.
“It was a slow pitch and slow outfield so the thee-day batting required harder work. Kyle Verreynne and I batted well in our opening partnership. I put away the short balls and he did the same with the fuller deliveries. He drove very well,” Malan said.
“I thought it is good to know Kyle can open the innings as it gives you more options. Matthew Kleinveldt got married this weekend (and Kyle stepped in as opener),” said Malan.
The opener said in terms of extending his attacking options, he has done that especially against the slow bowlers. That means he is proactive and is winning the cat-mouse-game.
Nackerdien described the talent of Smith the bowler as “immense” and added that he could even bowl faster.
He said Smith moved it off the seam, swung it and used cutters to bamboozle batsmen.
Smith finished with a match-haul of 6-40 in the Sunfoil Three-Day Cup match against KwaZulu-Natal, after managing 5-77 in the previous match against Eastern Province.
It was Smith who set the tone for all the other bowlers with his accuracy, probing and economy, the coach remarked. The rest of the attack followed his example and Dayyaan Galiem got his reward by capturing 3-13.
Although Malan and Smith were two of the outstanding contributors, this was essentially a team effort, as Dayyaan Galiem massacred the attack with a 120-ball 81 described by Nackerdien as “fantastic”.
“He loves the pull shot and plays so well on the off-side,” he said.
The coach commended Galiem on his wicket-tally (including 3-13 in the first innings) and said he swung it and assessed conditions excellently.
Junaid Dawood, leg-spinner who can bamboozle batsmen with his wrong ‘uns, was excellent in the last innings in turning conditions by nipping out 4-111. Dawood is not an easy leg-spinner to decipher, especially because batsmen struggle to read a number of variations, including two googlies.
Michael Loubser fell on 95 when set for the first WP first-class century of the season.
The triumphant victory added 25.88 points to Western Province’s tally. Western Cape fans would have been delighted by the turnaround as the slumbering giant awakened in the Sunfoil Three-Day Cup.