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  • Writer's pictureVCASA

South Africa at the Over-50s World Cup

The 2023 Cricket World Cup will be the third edition of the tournament, and the second to be played in Cape Town.

The first tournament was held in Sydney, Australia in 2018 and featured just eight teams - the hosts, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Wales, Canada and South Africa.

It proved to be an eye-opener for the South Africans, who participated as the Rhinos rather than a Cricket South Africa-affiliated Proteas, as they were in 2020 and again this year.

Without a structured Veterans League at the time, the 15-man squad (with current tournament director Roger Moult as team manager) had little idea of what was required, and it showed as they slumped to six defeats from their seven group matches, the odd one out being a washout.

It all started positively enough, with the first match a real nailbiter against Wales, who would win by three runs but not before Brad Bing scored an impressive 93.

The second match was against a very experienced England side, who have had Veterans structures in place for some time. Dave Duncan (44) and Rudi Koster (59) put on 96 runs for the fourth wicket, but they were the only ones to reach double figures en route to a total of 147 all out. Riaan van der Rheede (2/34) gave England a slight scare, but in the end they cantered home with six wickets and 10 overs to spare.

Match 3 against a strong Pakistan side was always going to be tough one, and so it proved as Ghaffar Kazmi (100*) and Dastagir Butt (71) dined on a tired attack to post an imposing 274/5. Kenny Jackson (38) top scored for the South Africans, who lost by 145 runs.

Worse was to follow as the South Africans took on the hosts in Match 4 - like England, an established outfit with plenty of Veterans cricket under their belts. Batting first, Australia put on a mammoth 307/6, with Todd O’Keefe top-scoring with 97. The Rhinos were all out for 118 of which Duncan scored 68. The next highest score was 9.

The next match against bottom side Canada was rained out, but more hard knocks came in the form of a 106-run defeat against Sri Lanka when South Africa were dismissed for 81, and an eight-wicket defeat against New Zealand, where Peter Marx got 50 and Van der Rheede bowled well for 2/31.

The Rhinos finished second from bottom, meaning a Plate semifinal against sixth-placed Wales. For the first time in a while, everything clicked as South Africa dismissed the Welsh for 157 before the in-form Duncan again led the charge, scoring an unbeaten 42 in a five-wicket win.

The impressive victory set up a Plate Final against Canada, who had shocked Sri Lanka in the other semifinal. And there was to be no letting up from the Canadians, with Rudy Gibson taking 4/32 as South Africa were dismissed for just 128. Arthur Moore gave the Rhinos a chance with 4/34, but Canada cruised to the target with just four wickets down and 14 overs to spare.

Australia would go on to win the inaugural World Cup, beating Pakistan in a low-scoring final by just three runs, but it was a tough three weeks for the South Africans. However, invaluable lessons were learnt and Moult immediately set about starting up a Veterans League and getting official Cricket South Africa backing. It proved an arduous task, but the hard work paid off and in 2020 - with the World Cup on home soil - the South Africans, now playing as the Proteas Veterans, were much better prepared.

Legendary fast bowler Allan Donald came on board as a coach, and ex-internationals Pieter Srydom, Alan Dawson, Dave Callaghan and Louis Koen were back in the swing of things, having proven their worth in the Veterans League.

That much was obvious in the opening game as Callaghan and Duncan scored patient 50s, before Dawson smashed 69 off just 39 deliveries to set an imposing target of 253. Wales were never at the races, scoring just 60 as Bruce Wilson picked up 4/9, Lefty Ngece 2/6 and Rodney Malamba 2/16.

The second match, against tournament favourites England, was a humdinger. South Africa were restricted to 173 as Steve Foster bagged 4/23, with Strydom’s 40 the standout knock. England looked to be cruising at one stage, but Strydom’s left-arm spin picked up 2/19 and then Dawson, in a remarkable show of courage, bowled the final over despite hurting his hamstring. England needed seven to win, but ‘Dawsie’ conceded just three for a famous win.

Then, tragedy. Halfway through the third round of games the decision was made to call off the tournament as the COVID-19 threat became a very real one. With countries closing their borders and flights increasingly limited, the decision was made to get everyone home as soon as possible, depriving cricket lovers of what was sure to be a fantastic tournament.

But now, three years later, the World Cup has returned to Cape Town, with Evergreen Lifestyle once again on board as a tournament sponsor. With an extra two teams in the USA and UAE it continues to go from strength to strength, and with the South African side selected from the best of the Veterans Leagues around the country, followed by an Interprovincial Tournament, it promises to be the strongest Proteas Veterans side ever.

With special thanks to International Masters Cricket

About Evergreen Lifestyle

Established in 2008, Evergreen Lifestyle is South Africa’s premium retirement brand with seven operating villages in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and a further six in the pipeline. The business began with a vision to change the retirement landscape in South Africa, offering a partnership for life based on five key pillars: physical security, financial peace of mind, continuous care, a sense of community and exceptional hospitality.

You’ll find Evergreen’s award-winning retirement villages in the most beautiful parts of the country, at the end of sun-dappled country lanes, perched on majestic mountain slopes, and within walking distance of our beaches, rivers, and wetlands. And you’ll find vibrant fun-loving communities enjoying the finer things in life – like good food, great company, lasting friendships, and a sense of belonging that is enabled by the resort style facilities and amenities on offer.


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