The XXXX GOLD Beach Cricket Tri-Nations Series came to a close today, with South Africa taking down the Kiwis in the Grand Final at Coolangatta Beach on the Gold Coast. It seems there’s no stopping South Africa at the moment, as the newcomers to the tournament quickly grasped the concept of beach cricket, denying the Aussies of their first title and the Kiwis of retaining the trophy.
The winning side eagerly watched the third round final earlier on in the day between Australia and New Zealand, as their fate of reaching the Grand Final depended on New Zealand beating Australia. The Kiwis went out to bat first, starting precariously as Michael Kasprowicz produced two wickets in the second over to limit Martin Crowe and Nathan Astle’s innings to just four. Mark Greatbatch and Dion Nash then put on a recovery for the Kiwis finishing their innings on 33, with Greatbatch pulling a couple of sixes off the bowling of Stuart Law. Craig McMillan continued the momentum with a powerful batting display to move the score onto 69 after the sixth over. A late wicket by Kasprowicz in the seventh pulled back the Kiwi total, but they closed the innings on an impressive 84, setting a difficult target for the Aussies to pass and gain the much needed bonus point to reach the Grand Final.
Australia replied and with Mark Waugh out first ball of the innings, the Aussies looked in trouble. However, this didn’t set him back, as he proceeded to hit a number of sixes off Danny Morrison to give his team a total of 29 from the first two overs. Australia desperately needed to keep this up but the following partnership of Darren Lehmann and Jason Gillespie sent the score backwards, losing five wickets to reduce them to 18 after the fourth over. Allan Border produced a captain’s innings of 22 to put more runs on the board for his team but his efforts were in vain as Australia posted 66 runs, falling short of the Kiwi’s 84, resulting in a final clash between the reigning champions New Zealand and South Africa to fight it out for the title.
Rain delayed the Grand Final face-off and when the teams eventually took to the sand, the match was reduced to four overs each. South Africa won the toss and put New Zealand into bat. Tight bowling by Pollock and Allan Donald limited the Kiwis to scoring just seven runs from two overs and a caught and bowled by De Villiers in the third brought the score back to where they started with no runs. The Kiwis were in danger of finishing on a minus total with a couple of wickets in the final over, but they scraped some more runs to end the innings on just three.
With victory in their grasp, South Africa moved past the target in their first over and avoided losing wickets to finish on 18 runs at the end of the innings.
Captain of the South African team, Shaun Pollock, said: “We’re delighted to take home the title. We’re new to the concept, so it took us a week to find our feet but we pulled it out when it really mattered.”
The XXXX GOLD Beach Cricket Tri-Nations Series proved another success over the three weekends at Coolangatta Beach, bringing together legends of cricket to play in an entertaining and competitive event. The Series also raised a total of $12,000 for the McGrath Foundation.
For further information about the Series go to www.XXXXGoldBeachCricket.com.au