Langa struggling to find their groove

Gugulethu tailender Thando Williams tries to stage some resistance during his sides Premier Division, two day league encounter against Milnerton. He was eventually stumped for three runs.

picture: buntu gotywa

Having gone down to UWC in the league opener, this was their second defeat for the side.

Coach Sakhele Simon noted that the side was on a transition period, hence they have a number of exciting juniors, including Western Province under-19 players such as bowler Mihlali Mpongwana and batsman Vezi Mntungwa, in their ranks. In fact, the young Mpongwana did well in their match against Milnerton, causing problems, especially for the experienced Western Province batsman Matthew Kleinveld.

“It is such performances from our youngsters that make me excited about the future. We have talent in abundance, we just need to nurture them properly and work on the discipline. That is why we are giving them a chance to play against the best,” he said.

Milnerton won the toss and elected to field first, on day one, a fortnight ago.

Langa’s openers Phindile Tsolekile and Anam Mbe then took to the crease to get their side’s first innings under way.

It was, however, the Milnerton attack that struck immediately, with Ryan Milner dismissing Tsolekile for a duck. That was a serious setback for the visiting Langa side.

The rest of the Langa batting line-up tried hard under the circumstances but things just didn’t go their way, as the home side’s bowlers were able to hit the right areas. Their understanding of that wicket proved to be key on the day.

Langa eventually recorded a first innings total of 161/9, with middle order batsman Mangaliso Mthiya top-scoring with 47 not out off 85 balls. He scored two boundaries and one six in the process.

It was then Milnerton’s turn to take to the crease for their first innings. Western Province batsman Matthew Kleinveld and Robin van Harte got their side’s innings underway. Van Harte didn’t last long. He was caught by Vuyani Parifini off the bowling of the sensational Mpongwana, having contributed only 11 runs.

With his opening partner back into the pavilion, the responsibility to hold the side’s innings together was, at that point, on the experienced Kleinveld. He did exactly that, scoring 122 runs off 121 balls to give his side a first innings total of 278 all out.

Five of the seven bowlers Langa used — Mpongwana, Siya Sibiya, Thembile Mbembeni, Mbulelo Nkomo and Lonwabo Mzondo — took two first innings wickets each.

Langa batsmen returned to the crease for their side’s second innings on day two, at the weekend.

And, as it was the case in the second innings and the opening pair of Tsolekile and Mbe struggled to deal with their opponents’ bowling prowess. They were, as a result, dismissed by Ryan Milne for 14 and two runs respectively.

Batting at number four, Parafini was Langa’s top-scorer with 28 runs off 50 balls, as his side recorded a second innings total of 106 runs. That was, however, not enough and the home side won by an innings and 11 runs.

Simon said his side could have gotten something out of the game, especially considering the way they bowled in the first innings.

“We had a serious chance as our attack, spearheaded by Mihlali, were doing a good job in the first innings. Milnerton’s best batsman on the day, the experienced Kleinveld, shouldn’t have gone on to hit that 122 runs. He was dropped twice, when he was on zero and when he was on four,” he said.

“He went on to score that century and, besides that, Milnerton didn’t’ really threaten us. We need to improve our fielding going forward,” he said.

Langa’s next game is at home against Claremont and Simon is convinced that his side’s understanding of their homeground’s wicket will work to their advantage.

“That wicket is flat, which makes it difficult to play square. So, we need to put their bowlers under pressure and get those singles without losing any wickets,” he said.