This time for Africa! North-West University, South Africa, emerge as Red Bull Campus Cricket 2017 champions

This time for Africa! North-West University, South Africa, emerge as Red Bull Campus Cricket 2017 champions

Sri Lanka played host to the next generation of top cricket talent from September 10-16 when the world’s finest college cricketers competed at the 2017 Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals. North-West University, South Africa emerged as the winners of the World Championship of College Cricket. MMCC Pune, Red Bull Campus Cricket, 2017 India Champions, represented India at the World Finals and will return with tons of experience.

The two unbeaten teams from the group stage, Sri Lanka and South Africa, won all three matches quite comprehensively to become the first two semifinalists.

These two teams, after beating Zimbabwe and Pakistan in their last group matches, finished as leaders of group B and A respectively, as the rest of the competitors failed to stop their forward march.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh and Australia claimed the other two spots of the semifinal lineup. Though Australia clinched a semifinal spot after finishing second in Group A, they had to wait till the very end of their final match against India to finalise their position.

If India, who gave a thunderous fight to Australia in the final match before succumbing to a defeat, had beaten the Aussies, all three teams would have finished with equal points following which net-run-rate would have decided their fates.

South Africa, the two-time champions and one of the two teams which finished the league stages unbeaten, booked a place in the finals of RBCC World Finals when they comprehensively beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in the first semifinal played at Galle International Stadium on Friday.

Red Bull Campus Cricket 2017 World Champions
Red Bull Campus Cricket 2017 World Champions, South Africa, celebrate their win

Australia failed after a tremendous fight back in the 2nd semifinal of RBCC World Finals. It was a very exciting see-sawing battle, with both teams fighting back at different stages of their respective innings. Both teams played superbly, but defending champions Sri Lanka won the second semifinal, beating Australia by 3 runs in the end, to secure their place in the finals of this world tournament.

Semi Final 1 – 15th September:

Bangladesh: 121/7 in 20 overs (Avishek Mitra 27, Nahidul Islam 19, Arifur Rahman 17, Jovuan van Wyngaardt 2/23)

South Africa: 127/3 in 14.4 overs (Janneman Malan 69*, Wihan Lubbe 32, Arifur Rahman 1/15)

Semi Final 2 – 15th September:

Sri Lanka: 163/6 in 20 overs (Supeshala Jayathilake 50, Thilaksha Sumanasiri 40*, Chamika Karunarathne 33, Hayden Kerr 2/19, Joseph Kershaw 2/22, and Kieran Elley 2/29)

Australia: 160/6 in 20 overs (Hayden Kerr 54, Joseph Kershaw 34*, Will Lawrance 20, Ranitha Liyanarachchi 2/19, Amila Aponso 1/20, Koshan Jayawickrama 1/23, Chamika Karunarathne 1/29)

Dynamic, accurate and phenomenally skilled at only 20 years old, leg-spinner Dyllin Matthews ambushed the Business Management School (BMS) and upended stereotypes, as he bowled North West University (NWU) to the Red Bull Campus Cricket title. Generally, it is Sri Lanka’s own spinners who flummox South African batsmen on the island, but of such high quality was Matthews’ bowling in the final, that the Sri Lankan batsmen, who are generally well accustomed to countering spin bowling, found themselves trussed up in the web he weaved.

The chase was little more than a formality, especially when Malan, who will feature in South Africa’s high-profile T20 Global League later in the year, took the innings by the collar. He was relatively measured throughout his knock, as the team were not chasing a stiff total. Still, his innings featured seven fours and two sixes, one of which was a monster hit over cow corner.

North West University's win re-establishes their dominance in the tournament. This is the third time in four years that a South African side have triumphed in the World Championship of College Cricket, with the University of Pretoria having won in 2014 and 2015. Business Management School, Sri Lanka, had been victors in 2016, but failed to defend their title at home.

Red Bull Campus Cricket 2017 World Champions
The players rejoice following their victory

Rising cricket stars from South Africa are using Red Bull Campus Cricket as a launching pad to the T20 Global League. Wihan Lubbe (24), Janneman Malan and Marques Ackerman (both 21) have been picked in three different squads for one of the highest-profile T20 tournaments on the planet.

While they await their chance to rub shoulders with cricket’s big names, they were in Sri Lanka playing in the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Final to build momentum before the big event.

“The Red Bull Campus Cricket tournament is really competitive, so it really has helped us prepare for the T20 Global League,” Ackerman said. “We played about 16 warm-up games before we came to Sri Lanka, if I remember correctly.

"We also had a club tournament, which is a smaller version of our franchise tournament. Most of our team-mates played in that tournament. Having a very competitive Twenty20 competition, just before coming over definitely helped us coming in,” said captain Lubbe.

Final – 16th September:

Sri Lanka: 121 in 18.4 overs (Chamika Karunarathne 29, Manoj Sarathchandra 24, Donuk Wickramanayake 21, Julian Soutter 3/16, Dyllin metthews 3/22)

South Africa: 122/3 in 15.2 overs (Janneman Malan 64*, Marques Ackerman 23, Ruan Haasbroek 20*, Koshan Jayawickrama 2/31) 

India’s Marathwada Mitra Mandal College of Commerce (MMCC) captain, Ameya Soman, on his experience, said, “The experience was quite good. We also played in the previous edition; this Red Bull tournament gave us the chance to showcase our talent. Therefore, these kinds of tournaments are very important for our careers.”

Red Bull Campus Cricket is also riddled with excitement as twists such as the Energizer Over heightens the drama of the game and takes the tournament to a whole new level. The Energiser Over is an interesting addition where the runs, for one over per side, tactically nominated by the batting team at any point after the Power Play overs, will count for double. Any wickets taken during that over will cost the batting side five penalty runs.

The list of World Champions from the last six editions of Red Bull Campus Cricket is below.


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