The Adelaide University Cricket Club first grade performed exceptionally in the Fox Cricket National Premier Cricket T20 Championships, held in Adelaide on 3-4 March, finishing the competition as runners up.
They missed out on what would have been a well-deserved maiden national championship by the barest of margins, falling by two wickets to Sydney Cricket Club in an enthralling final played at an exceptionally high standard.
South Australian batsman Will Bosisto was deservedly named player of the match in the final, despite Adelaide Uni’s loss. His majestic 105 off just 67 balls paved the way for Adelaide Uni to post the competitive total of 5/162 after winning the toss and electing to bat.
AUCC club manager Martin Southern says Bosisto’s knock was indicative of the impact he has had on the team since crossing from Western Australia at the beginning of the season.
“[His innings] was very impressive and absolutely vital for us. It showed his top-class ability and professionalism to produce such an innings in a final when we really needed it... and allowed us to post a very competitive score,” he says.
Momentum swung for much of Sydney’s chase. It became evident from the opening stages that the match was destined to go down to the wire.
All-rounder Sam Kerber was instrumental in the bowling effort, having the decisive hand in the first 4 dismissals of the innings (taking 3 wickets and effecting a run out) to finish with the excellent figures of 3/24 off his four overs. He was well supported by fellow spinner Sumeet Jarwal (1/24 off 4) who restricted runs at critical moments.
However, credit to Sydney, who handled the immense pressure of the final stages and timed their chase to perfection.
The New South Wales outfit reached the target with 2 balls to spare, taking 13 runs off the first 4 balls of a dramatic final over to be deservedly crowned national champions.
University wicketkeeper batsman Daniel Kerber was named joint player of the tournament. His 155 runs (at an average of 38.75 and strike rate of 166.7) was the most of any player in the 10 team tournament.
Southern says the success of Kerber’s aggressive approach at the top of the order was critical to laying the foundation for the teams strong batting showings across the tournament.
“He got us off to explosive starts in each game which was so important for us,” he says.
“He top scored in the round 3 game against Monash Tigers (68) and hit one of the biggest sixes ever seen at University Oval clearing the Grandstand and hitting the roof of the grounds man’s shed [in round 2].”
The keeper was one of three Adelaide Uni batsmen in the top 5 of run scorers, with Bosisto (2nd) and Kerber’s older brother Sam (5th) also enjoying prosperous tournaments with the bat.
The older Kerber sibling also excelled with the ball, finishing equal second in the competitions bowling aggregate, taking 6 wickets at the phenomenal average of just 12.67, and the miserly economy of 5.43 runs per over.
Adelaide Uni remained undefeated throughout the competitions pool stage. A number of players made crucial contributions as the team dominated the vast majority of the 3 matches.
On the tournaments opening day, Adelaide Uni began their campaign with an at times nervy 5 run win over ACT side Western District, before accounting for WA’s Fremantle in the most comprehensive manner imaginable, defeating them by a whopping 120 runs.
It was in this match that they produced undoubtedly the most dominant bowling performance of the tournament, routing their opposition for just 45 in 14.5 overs.
They backed this up with an equally dominant batting performance in their final pool match the following morning, compiling the monumental total of 5/221 against Victorian side Monash Tigers. Another outstanding bowling performance followed, as they restricted the visitors to just 91.
All this ensured safe passage through to the final where, despite the loss, the side played with tremendous skill and passion. Southern says the performance left all at the club extremely proud of the playing group.
“The performances against the other state champions and to get within two balls of winning the championship showed just how much of a good team we are at the moment,” he says.
He further says the experience of hosting a national championships was one the players enjoyed immensely and proved an excellent learning experience.
“All of the players really enjoyed the tournament experience and playing at home in front of our supporters, families and friends was a great experience.”
The team’s attention now turns to the SACA Premier Cricket finals. They are top of the ladder with one round before finals and are eager to repeat their T20 heroics in the two-day competition.
Southern was at pains to express the club’s gratitude to the volunteers and supporters who got behind the team and made the event such an overwhelming success.
“As a club we would like to express our gratitude to The University of Adelaide and to Adelaide University Sport for all of their support in hosting and promoting this great event. We hope to be in it again next year,” he says.
Image via SACA