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Maartens, Field make merry

South Africa's Adrian Maartens (left) who scored 104 gets a hug from skipper Rory Field, who hit 99, in the match against England at the World Cup Cricket for the Blind in Chennai on Tuesday. — Photo: Vino John

South Africa's Adrian Maartens (left) who scored 104 gets a hug from skipper Rory Field, who hit 99, in the match against England at the World Cup Cricket for the Blind in Chennai on Tuesday. — Photo: Vino John  

South Africa's Adrian Maartens (left) who scored 104 gets a hug from skipper Rory Field, who hit 99, in the match against England at the World Cup Cricket for the Blind in Chennai on Tuesday. — Photo: Vino John

CHENNAI DEC. 4. Rory Field is a natural. He plays all sports and cricket is just one of them. He took to the game without any hesitation in the year 1996 when South Africa started playing blind cricket.

He was a big hit in the first World Cup (1998) when he and his brother feasted on opposition's bowling attack and Rory went on to become the top-scorer of the championship. Though, his brother is not in the team now, the 28-year-old South African skipper, it seems, is keen to repeat the feat.

Field (99 not out, 67b, 8 x 4) and Adrian Maartens (104 not out, 77b, 9 x 4) hit boundaries at will and ran like springboks to guide defending champion South Africa to an impressive 10-wicket win over a hapless England in the Petro World Cup for the blind, which commenced at the CPT-IP grounds here on Wednesday.

Field who works as a Marketing Manager for the Cape Town Society for the blind, belongs to the B2 category which means he is partially blind, while Maartens who is doing his schooling at Queenstown, belongs to the B3 category (partially sighted).

What made their batting attractive to the few who were present, mostly children, was their total domination of the English attack. Field and Maartens treated all the five English bowlers with complete disdain. In fact the 50 came in just 5 overs and the 100 by the 10th over and the Proteas ended the match with 16.5 overs to go.

Electing to bat, England did not look like putting resistance as it kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Captain Adam Benjamin (31) and Nathan Foy (62) were the top-scorers. In fact, Foy's score was only 31 but since he is totally blind (B1), his score was doubled.

The South African team was excellent on the field also. They effected a few run-outs, the pick being the direct hit by Paulus Prins from backward point to send back Foy, for whom it was a memorable World Cup debut. The 20-year-old of Rugby State could have enjoyed it better had his team pulled off a victory.

For bowling one short of the scheduled 40 overs, South Africa had to pay the penalty and England was given 6 extra runs, which increased its total to 238. Curiously, there were no boundaries from the English batsmen.

Twenty-year-old Maartens was delighted in scoring his second century and dedicated it to his country and parents. "I enjoyed my innings very much."

He also had some special words of praise for his skipper Field. "I look up to him. He is my role model and my coach."

Field repaid the compliments. "We play for the same province and we understand each other's game very well. He is an excellent cricketer and a natural stroke-maker."

Field expressed satisfaction with his team's performance. "Our fielding was good. But they bowled less extras than us."

For the record, South Africa conceded 88 extras to England's 37. South Africa got five points inclusive of a bonus point.

In another match at SPIC-YMCA, Australia, powered by Haydar's quickfire 103 (89b, 7 x 4) beat Sri Lanka by 49 runs. C.J. Backstrom chipped in with 67 (77b, 5 x 4). Peter Robinson was the pick of the bowler (three for 36) for the Aussies.

The scores:

England 238 for eight in 39 overs (Nathan Foy 62, Adam Benjamin 31) lost to South Africa 240 for no loss in 22.5 overs (Rory Field 99 not out, Adrian Maartens 104 not out), CPT-IP.

Australia 249 (N. Haydar 103, C.J. Backstrom 67) bt Sri Lanka 200 in 33 overs (S.R. Paksha 35, Peter Robinson three for 36), at SPIC-YMCA.

Thursday's matches: Pakistan v Sri Lanka and India v England.

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