Lenert van Wyk ton crushes Sussex
Lenert van Wyk, a 20-year-old Cape Cobras batsman, hit an unbeaten 156 to lead his team to victory against Sussex
Emerging Cape Cobras (Lenert van Wyk 156*, Mohammed Vallie 78) beat Sussex 271 for 9 (Aga 58, Rayner 56, Wernars 3 for 28) by seven wickets
With a name like Lenert van Wyk he might be mistaken for a long-since departed Dutch master, in reality he is a strapping 20-year-old batsman that the bowlers of Sussex will hope never to see again after he cracked an unbeaten 156.
Van Wyk made his domestic MTN40 debut for the Cape Cobras first string at Newlands last November in a six wicket win over the Dolphins. Sadly, the young right-hander with shoulders befitting a rugby union centre was not required to bat that night against Graham Ford's franchise side as the likes of Herschelle Gibbs, Justin Ontong and Justin Kemp went in ahead of him. Sussex had no such luck.
Chasing a respectable total of 271 for 9 at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, van Wyk produced a stunning innings to see his side home to a shock seven-wicket win with eight balls to spare. He enjoyed two let-offs before reaching 50, the second of which was a skier lost in the floodlights by mid-off fielder Will Beer, but after that van Wyk reigned supreme with a show of power hitting that left Sussex chasing shadows.
He hit 16 fours and five sixes in his 129-ball innings, winning the game with an off-driven boundary off Ragheb Aga who, three balls earlier, had also conceded the six that took van Wyk to his 150.
In tandem with diminutive third-wicket partner Yaseen Vallie (78) he helped add 189 and ensured their side recovered from a rocky start of 7 for 2 to record their second dramatic win of the tour against an English county.
Earlier, the Sussex top order never really made the best of ideal bating conditions as Chris Nash (39), Andrew Hodd (24), Michael Yardy (29) and Ben Brown (20) all got themselves out after promising starts.
Their blushes were saved, albeit temporarily, by a seventh-wicket stand worth 96 between Aga (58) and Ollie Rayner (56) but when both fell in quick succession the run rate dropped in the crucial closing overs leaving the door to victory ajar for the rookie Cobras.
Thanks to van Wyk's mastery of the lofted straight drive, the Emerging Cobras simply beat the door down to win with ease and send Sussex back to their team hotel to contemplate a second straight defeat on this 10-day pre-season tour.
Mark Pennell is the managing director of freelance reporting and public relations agency Kent & Sussex Sport