Khan and Lowe guide Tuff Dogs to title triumph
Openers Azeem Khan and McLaren Lowe both struck half-centuries as Tuff Dogs landed the first piece of Evening Cricket League silverware after thrashing Renegades by ten wickets in the final of the delayed 2021 knockout final at Shelly Bay – the second reverse in four days for last season's league champions.
Veteran slow bowler Arnold Manders set up Saturday's victory with a four-wicket burst that restricted Renegades to a modest 112 for six from their 16 overs.
Khan – later named man of the match – and Lowe then knocked off the runs with almost four overs to spare.
Khan's 56 not out came off 39 balls and Lowe's 54 not out off 34 balls, with both openers hitting three sixes and four fours.
Renegades made a spirited start after losing the toss with Matthew Spencer, who top-scored with 33, and Jayde Albertze (28) putting on 63 for the first wicket inside the first ten overs. But 63-year-old Manders then teamed up with his younger brother Andre to put the brakes on the scoring, Arnold finishing with four for 34 and Andre two for 26.
“The final was well contested, said Terence Corday, the winning captain. “Renegades were missing a couple of their regular players, but we bowled and fielded really well to restrict them to 112.
"Azeem [Khan] and McLaren [Lowe] started cautiously, but accelerated and saw us home comfortably."
Ryan Wilson, Renegades' new captain following Durnferd Davis's return to South Africa, said:
“It's always a good battle playing against Tuff Dogs, but from our side we are disappointed with the result.
“We didn't put enough runs on the board batting first which made it difficult to build any pressure when bowling.
“Credit to Tuff Dogs, they bowled some really tight lines and didn't give anything away. And then their openers batted very sensibly to chase down our score.”
Renegades also played second fiddle when they lost to The Associates by five wickets in a group one league match.
The Associates clinched victory with an over to spare after Hugh Stanton (47), Nathan Clarke (34) and Frederique Wagner (31) propelled Renegades to 135 for three.
Alex Brown led the reply with 41 and Matthew Ball made 29 before Tom Edwards, with 28 not out, and James Troughton (16 not out) tore into the bowling with five sixes between them to seal the win.
The victory was a reversal of fortunes for The Associates, winners of the knockout in 2019 and 2020, whose hat-trick bid was abruptly ended when they tumbled to a ten-wicket defeat against West XI in the first round of the latest edition.
“We’re all pretty pleased with this result, especially after losing to West XI in the knockout the previous week,” Simon Jones, captain of The Associates, said.
“Our fielding was a bit rusty, so there’s still plenty to work on, but it's always nice to get a win in the first league game."
Despite an unbeaten half-century by Rohaan Simons, the High Flyaz captain, Tuff Dogs also got their league season off to a winning start in group two, edging home by five wickets with three balls to spare in fading light as Terence Corday led a late charge.
Opener Simons struck three fours and two sixes in his 41-ball 55 not out and received good support from Roland Rhodes, who made 32, as High Flyaz totalled 113 for six.
Arnold Manders once again did most of the damage with three for 29 – his victims including fellow former national team player Herbie Bascome for one.
Justin Barritt led Tuff Dogs' reply with 35 from 27 balls before Corday weighed in with an unbeaten 32 from 23 balls to help get his side over the line.
PHC and Fine Leg Byes battled to a tie in group one, each making 138 for four, but details were not made available.
2021 knockout final
Shelly Bay (Tuff Togs won toss): Renegades 112-6 (16 overs; Matthew Spencer 33; Arnold Manders 4 for 34); Tuff Dogs 113-0 (12.1 overs; Azeem Khan 56 not out, McLaren Lowe 54 not out). Tuff Dogs beat Renegades by ten wickets.
Shelly Bay (The Associates won toss): Renegades 135-3 (16 overs; Hugh Stanton 47, Nathan Clark 34, Frederique Wagner 31); The Associates 139-5 (15 overs; Alex Brown 41). The Associates beat Renegades by five wickets.
Shelly Bay (PHC won toss): PHC 138-4 (16 overs); Fine Leg Byes 138-4 (16 overs). PHC tied with Fine Leg Byes.
Shelly Bay (Tuff Dogs won toss): High Flyaz 113-6 (16 overs; Rohaan Simons 55 not out, Roland Rhones 32; Arnold Manders three for 29); Tuff Dogs 114-5 (15.3 overs; Justin Barritt 35, Terence Corday 32 not out). Tuff Dogs beat High Flyaz by five wickets.