Standard Bank Mamelodi Regional Performance Centre (RPC) came agonisingly close to upstaging St Alban’s College but fell five runs short in the latest Momentum Friendship Games meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday. In a thrilling affair hosted by St Alban’s at Lynnwood Glen, the hosts won the toss and batted first, posting 113 for three in their 20 overs. Reece Jackson top-scored with 39 off 31 balls, while Akku Patel was the pick of the bowlers after bagging one for 17. A valiant 61 off 73 balls by Steven Maluleke kept the visitors in the mix until the death, but they fell just short thanks to all-rounder Jackson’s outstanding effort with the ball that saw him pick up three for 28 in four overs. In the end, Mamelodi narrowly missed out on becoming only the second RPC side in eight attempts to overcome their more prestigious hosts. Only Yorkshire RPC managed the feat when they beat Northern Cape High School in match four of the season.
It was nonetheless a superb effort by the visitors, who did well to restrict the home side to setting a target of 114. Apart from Akku Patel, Surprise Metiso (1/18), Lungile Mabuza (0/13) and Muazz Patel (0/21) all impressed. There were two other key contributors for St Alban’s with Bokang Moche and Lethabo Masombuka both striking 27 apiece – the latter ending unbeaten after an innings of only 23 deliveries. It was then the turn of Mamelodi and they began the chase poorly by slipping to 14 for two after five overs as Jackson and Moche (1/17) landed a double blow. Maluleke then rebuilt with Muazz Patel (14) as the pair shared in a 35-run third-wicket stand that took the score to 49 for two. The run-out of Mabuza (1) left the home side on top as it suddenly became 56 for four in the 13th over. However, Maluleke found a determined partner in William Tshokoe (six not out), who helped the match top-scorer take the score to 102 for four and bring the required runs to 11 from 11 balls. But that was as good as it got with Jackson nabbing the key wicket of the former to knock the stuffing out of Mamelodi as they faded away to end on 108 for six, handing St Alban’s a close win.