EP, Border, Easterns and KZNI reach Provincial T20 semis
Easterns, Eastern Province and Border all claimed crucial final round wins on Sunday to top the three CSA Provincial T20 groups and reach the semi-finals.
The three will be joined by KwaZulu-Natal Inland, who progressed as the best runners-up despite not playing a game on the final day of action.
The Maritzburg-based side had completed their matches on Saturday and edged out Limpopo, one of the most impressive sides in the inaugural competition, courtesy of a better net run-rate.
As the only hosts union to progress, Easterns will also now go on to stage the play-offs in Benoni on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
After a busy opening two days when four games were played per group, there were just two on Sunday, both tight affairs at Willowmoore Park, which was hosting Pool A.
KwaZulu-Natal Coastal needed to win their encounter with Free State with a bonus point to give themselves the best chance of progressing and they did so via a Super Over – the fourth of the weekend, including a second for the Durbanites. Crucially, though, the victory was without that extra point after both sides posted 146 for six.
Thula Ngcobo then proved the match-winner after his extra set of six balls went for just five and accounted for Romano Terblanche. Ethan Bosch needed just two deliveries to win the game for KZNC and lift them to 12 points.
The result meant that the afternoon game winner needed just a four-point victory to progress as Easterns and Northerns (nine points each) went full throttle at each other.
Matthew Arnold proved to be the hero for the home side with his unbeaten 45 off 44 balls helping them post a strong 171 for six. Grant Thomson chipped in with 48 off 38 balls.
Despite a valiant unbeaten 74 off 49 balls (4 fours, 4 sixes) by Dayyaan Galiem, Arnold (3/37) struck three crucial blows to send his side through after the away side were kept to 161 for six.
In Kimberley, meanwhile, Sithembile Langa delivered a devastating three for seven in 3.3 overs, one of which was a maiden, as Eastern Province won their crucial showdown with home side Northern Cape by eight wickets at the Diamond Oval.
The 24-year-old quick shared six wickets with Basheer Walters (3/19) as the hosts were shot out for 117 after winning the toss and batting.
Marco Marais’ 64 off 41 balls (12 fours, 1 six) then helped EP race to a bonus-point triumph with 39 balls to spare.
The result lifted the Port Elizabeth-based team to 14 points, one ahead of KZNI (13 points), who were essentially the lucky losers of the group phase, while Northern Cape finished third on 10 points.
The earlier match in the group on Sunday was a dead rubber, with South Western Districts beating Boland by 39 runs to avoid the wooden spoon. Mesuli Vuba was the star performer with four for 17.
There was also a dead rubber in Pool C played in Potchefstroom, where Western Province and Mpumalanga played anything like a match with no significance after it took another Super Over to separate them.
This after both sides were locked at 165 for seven following their 20 overs. Mpumalanga then posted 12 in their extra over, with Jason Smith getting those runs in three balls, six of which were wides, as Province at least ended a massively disappointing campaign with a win.
The big match, however, was reserved for the afternoon where home side North West went head-to-head with Border for a place in next weekend’s play-offs.
Yaseen Vallie’s superb 69 off 49 balls (7 fours) helped the East London side amass 185 for four, with rookie Lilitha Reed then taking four for 17 as NW were bowled out for 144 – the 41-run margin sealing a bonus point for Border at Senwes Park.
It meant they overhauled Limpopo (13 points), one of the surprise teams, by getting to 14 points. North West ended with nine, followed by Mpumalanga (five) and WP (four).
- Cricket South Africa