Rassie van der Dussen produced one of the most destructive batting exhibitions The Lawn has seen as CIYMS won the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup on Sunday.
The South African professional plundered 88 from just 43 balls, including five fours and nine mammoth sixes, as the Belmont club won an enthralling final by five wickets against Waringstown. It is their second senior trophy following the premier league title success in 2012.
CI appeared to be cruising towards the target of 181 as van der Dussen completely dominated partnerships of 66 with Chris Dougherty and 76 with Nigel Jones for the first and second wickets.
Some of the sixes the right-hander struck were among the biggest ever seen at the famous old ground and when CI reached 142 for one in the 15th over the result appeared to be a formality.
However, there was a gripping finale in front of one of the biggest crowds NCU cricket has seen in recent years as first van der Dussen was lbw to a full delivery from Ruhan Pretorius (2-24) on next ball Johnny Thompson edged behind.
John Matchett didn’t last long either but Waringstown could never quite stem the scoring as the equation became 27 from four overs and then 22 from 3.
The decisive over was probably the 18th as youngest Aaron Johnston took two boundaries off Greg Thompson and once again the game seemed up with 10 need from 12 balls.
There was another twist though as Phil Eaglestone (1-31) had Jones caught at point for 28 and with only 2 coming off the left-armers over, CI needed what could have been a tricky eight off the last six balls.
Lee Nelson, the Waringstown captain, turned to his most experienced bowler in Kyle McCallan, who had been called into the final after a hamstring injury to opening batsman James Hall. But when McCallan’s first ball went for five wides the game was up and Johnston, 21 from 12 balls, hit the winning runs with four balls to spare.
Earlier Waringstown may reflect that they took too long to find momentum with the bat. Nelson batted beautifully for 37 from just 25 balls but when he was unluckily run out at the non-strikers end, CI had landed a fortuitous but crucial blow.
It was left to Pretorius to hammer Waringstown to what was a power score, the all-rounder crashing 71 from 45 balls. He had hit 20 from 5 James Cameron-Dow deliveries in the 17th over but perished from the six in a dismissal that may have cost the villagers the chance of reaching 200. However 89 from the last seven overs was more than good going.
Earlier in the day CI reached the semi final with a seven wicket thumping of Carrickfergus. Van der Dussen, who else, made an unbeaten 50 from 40 balls.
The other semi final between Waringstown and North Down at Pollock Park was another superb match. Nelson was in wonderful touch, top scoring with 53 from 23 balls, hitting three fours and four sixes, as Waringstown piled up a mammoth 205 for 6.
For a long time it looked like Pieter Malan, the North Down professional might pull off the impossible. He hit a magnificent 107 from 57 balls striking 10 fours and 4 sixes, before falling in the penultimate over as the Comber side finished just 9 runs short.