Markram not only made the first double-century of his fledgling, exciting career but also broke the previous record for the highest score in the National Club Championships – Blake Snijman’s 204 for the University of Johannesburg in 2006/7.
It was a commanding innings – coming off just 153 balls with 14 fours and three sixes – but not without some good fortune as he was dropped twice relatively early on in his knock.
Markram’s superb innings carried Tuks to a massive 377 for two in their 50 overs after they had won the toss and elected to bat first on a lovely sunny day in northern Pretoria.
A depleted United side were not ever going to challenge that, but they showed plenty of spunk in amassing 223 in 48.1 overs, the highest total scored against the two-time defending champions so far this week.
But the day belonged to Markram, a tall and powerful 19-year-old who hits the ball hard, but concentrates on playing straight. An impressive 106 of his runs came in the “V” straight down the ground and the ICC U19 World Cup-winning captain is clearly an amazing talent.
“I know Blake Snijman had the record so it’s nice to beat a high-profile cricketer like him, but in the end you do it for the team and we’re glad we got the bonus point.
“I was dropped a couple of times, so I was lucky, and it was a nice deck to bat on,” a modest Markram said after his epic innings.
After the early loss of Murray Coetzee, caught behind by Jason van Zyl off Thoza Neku for six, Markram enjoyed the considerable support of Johan Wessels (80 off 94 balls) in a run-a-ball second-wicket stand of 189, and then the lively assistance of Graeme van Buuren (73 not out off just 49 deliveries) in powering Tuks to the highest score of this year’s tournament thus far. Markram and Van Buuren added 168 off only 101 balls to end the carnage.
United are already missing a couple of players due to injury, and the loss of opening bowler Bevan Jonker after he bowled just five overs yesterday did not help their cause either.
But they made a brave start to their near-impossible run-chase, Marvin Lazarus slamming 35 off 18 balls, while Bevan Bennett scored 31 and Marco Marais 38 as they reached a hundred in the 20th over, an over quicker than the Pretoria students had managed!
But it obviously could not last and lanky off-spinner Ruben Claasen, who married tremendous determination to the turn and bounce he obtained, claimed three for 41 in 10 overs in the middle of the innings to settle the contest.
With pacemen Tian Koekemoer and the tidy Corbin Bosch each picking up a pair of wickets, it was left to Romano Esau to provide some late cheer for the Border champions with 43 off 46 deliveries.
Elsewhere in Section Two, Maties coolly chased down a tricky target against Cape Town Cricket Club to win by four wickets and set up a crunch game against Tuks today at Irene Villagers.
The Stellenbosch students have also been in top-class form this week and today’s encounter against their Pretoria arch-rivals could be a decisive one in terms of who qualifies for Monday’s final at SuperSport Park.
Kempton Park won again yesterday, beating NMMU George by eight wickets and they still have a chance of qualifying, provided Tuks slip up somewhere and the Easterns champions beat Cape Town CC and Maties over the last two days.
Section One: Crusaders 191-9 (Ruben Hattingh 49 not out) NMMU PE Madibaz 194-4 (Lloyd Brown 52 not out, Peter Furstenburg 47) NMMU PE Madibaz won by six wickets. University of Free State Kovsies 266 (Jacobus Dreyer 76, Andries Gous 56; Jan Frylinck 5-45) West End 190 (Gerhardt Abrahams 71, Gihahn Cloete 58) University of Free State Kovsies won by 76 runs. University of Jhb 336-9 (Jaden Broodryk 93, Matt McGillivray 136; Garnett Kruger 6-44) NWU Pukke 322-8 (Righardt Frenz 58,Wihan Lubbe 127) University of Jhb won by 14 runs.
Section Two: Tuks 377-2 (Aiden Markram 210 not out, Johan Wessels 80, Graeme van Buuren 73 not out) United CC 223 (Romano Esau 43) Tuks won by 154 runs. NMMU George 121 (Nico de Klerk 4-17) Kempton Park 126-2 (Wesley Marshall 68 not out) Kempton Park won by eight wickets. Cape Town CC 155 Maties 157-6 (Philippus van Vuuren 74) Maties won by four wickets.