Matthews spins NWU South Africa to Red Bull Campus Cricket title

Twenty-year-old, leg-spinner Dyllin Matthews ripped through the Business Management School(BMS), Sri Lanka top order, 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 Sri Lankan batsmen who are generally well accustomed to countering spin could not cope with his bowling,

Matthews’ 3 wickets for 22 in the final makes him easily the most successful bowler in the tournament, in which he claimed 12 wickets in all. Thanks to his efforts, and those of tall seam bowler Julian Soutter who also took three wickets, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 121 inside 19 overs. Opening batsman Janneman Malan led the chase with an unbeaten 64 off 47 balls, topping the tournament batting charts in the process. They reached the target with seven wickets and 28 balls to spare.

It was the turn that Matthews gained from the Galle International Cricket Stadium surface that made him such a menace in this match. A physics and chemistry student with hopes of becoming a mechanical engineer, Matthews bowled immaculate line throughout his four overs,rarely failing to toss up the ball. Several Sri Lankan batsmen were lured into aggressive strokes, and those who were dismissed by him failed to account for the flight, dip and spin Matthews generated.

While Matthews removed the most dangerous men in Sri Lanka’s lineup – having the in-form Manoj Sarathchandra caught for 24, before dismissing the explosive Ranitha Liyanarachchi later in the innings, Soutter ravaged the middle order with his bustling medium pace. His figures of 3 for 16 won him the man-of-the-match award, but it is Matthews’ spells throughout the tournament that have contributed heavily to South Africa’s triumph.

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 was not chasing a tall total. Still, his innings featured seven fours and two sixes, The winning run was a bye as Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Sarathchandra missed a stumping chance. Though the partisan Sri Lankan crowd was quietened by the result, South Africa’s players stormed the field at the moment of victory in a jubilant mood. Players from both sides also displayed exemplary sportsmanship, North West University South Africa’s win re-establishes their dominance of the tournament.

This is the third time in four years a South African side has 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.

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