The second half of the 2015/16 double-title season was the most coveted of all, the Sunfoil Series four-day title. To win this trophy requires a season-long commitment and consistency, and plenty of people putting their hand up to be counted.
As we approached the business end of this campaign, with the T20 title already in the bag, the Sunfoil Series race was heading to the final round of fixtures. The trip to Port Elizabeth, to take on the feisty Warriors, was always going to be a tense affair.
The stage was set for someone to put their hand up, and take the title back to Pretoria. Enter Tabraiz Shamsi, who was in the midst of a personal resurgence that saw him rise to international prominence.
At St George’s Park, a track known for taking turn as the season wears on, Shamsi came into his own. It started on the very first day, as he singlehandedly destroyed the Warriors, with a franchise-best seven for 93.
That saw the Warriors bowled out for 282 on the opening day, before the batters capitalised on the good work in the field by piling up
399. Centuries by Dean Elgar and Qaasim Adams were the highlights of an innings that allowed Shamsi to set attacking fields in the Warriors’ second dig.
Such was his influence on the match, ‘Shammo’ was handed the new ball in the second innings. He didn’t disappoint, as he took another five wickets, for 80 runs, to lift his season haul 41 scalps on red-ball cricket. It made him the leading wicket taker in domestic cricket and, more pertinently, it saw him lift the Titans to the title, and the double.
All that was needed was 145 runs to secure the points, and the runs were knocked off in just 29.1 overs, with Heino Kuhn notching a half-century. That haul of points lifted us beyond the reach of the
Knights in second place.