Unbeaten through the group stage, Tuks won a thrilling semi-final against defending champions Rizvi Mumbai College by five wickets with five balls to spare, before beating Jamaica Inter-Collegiate Sports Association by 40 runs in the final of the eight-nation, T20 varsity world cup.
“We planned for everything and we proved ourselves to everyone. I’m proud of the success and the culture of this team, and nobody can take that away from this side,” coach Pierre de Bruyn said after the final.
In the final, pacemen Vincent Moore and Corbin Bosch shared seven wickets as the Jamaicans were restricted to 148 for nine in their 20 overs.
Much of the hard work, however, was done by outstanding off-spinner Ruben Claassen, who took one for 10 in four overs, claiming the key scalp of Cassius Burton for 55.
The Tuks total of 188 for six was built around a ferocious 61 off 40 balls from Johan Wessels.
De Bruyn has spent the last few months telling everyone how good a cricketer Wessels, one of the lesser known member of the Tuks squad without any first-class experience or national U19 caps, is and the 22-year-old was magnificent on finals day, when it really counted.
Aiden Markram had given the Tuks innings a good start, after they had won the toss, with his 33 off 26 balls, but Wessels kept the scoreboard ticking and then had the run-rate boiling over as the University of Pretoria students went into the break with a formidable total on the board.
The efforts of Theunis de Bruyn and Markram in the group games were enough for them to finish as the two leading run-scorers in the tournament, while Wessels charged into third position on the final day.
Wessels was named as the man of the match in both the semi-final and final, and coach De Bruyn said it was players like him who had pleased him most.
It’s the guys without the reputations who really stood up on the final day. Joe Wessels is proving to be a very good player, he played two magnificent innings in the knockout games and I’m ecstatic for him. I’ve used him as a bit of a wildcard and he’s really impressed me as a cricketer
But then all these Tuks cricketers will be heading into the new summer confident of once again really making their mark.