CSA Provisional T20 – Peter Kruger Pite van Biljon set up Knights title-clinching win against Dolphins

CSA Provisional T20 – Peter Kruger Pite van Biljon set up Knights title-clinching win against Dolphins


Bryce Parsons and Jason Smith put up a late fight for Dolphins before they eventually fell short

Patrick Kruger‘s 61, and handy contributions from Rilee Rossouw, Pite van Biljon and Farhaan Behardien set up Knights’ title-clinching win against Dolphins in the final in Kimberley. Knights ended up posting 176 despite starting sedately after being 37 for 2 at the end of the powerplay. That is when Kruger and van Biljon added 86 for the third wicket in less than nine overs, with van Biljon cracking 42 off 25 balls, including three fours and sixes each. Behardien’s finishing touches then propelled Knights, before Migael Pretorius and Alfred Mothoa struck with the ball early. Although Sarel Erwee and Khaya Zondo put on 51 stand to stage a brief recovery, Dolphins were eventually left with 63 to get in the last five overs. Bryce Parsons and Jason Smith put up a fight for Dolphins, with their late assault once threatening to eclipse Knights’ score, before they eventually fell short by seven runs.
Ottniel Baartman put Dolphins in the driving seat by taking two wickets in his second over which, along with Ruan de Swart and Odirile Modimokoane’s early strikes, left Titans at 38 for 4 after seven overs. Gihahn Cloete‘s 62, and contributions from Ferreira and Corbin Bosch, who scored 26 and 21, respectively, pushed Titans to a reasonable total. Baartman finished with 4 for 18, as Titans were bowled out for 138. Dolphins were in some trouble on 33 for 2, but Erwee’s 33 steadied them before Zondo took control. They needed 40 runs in the last five overs and 18 in the last two. Zondo scored 15 of the 16 runs they got in the penultimate over to put the victory beyond doubt and finished unbeaten on 58 off 45 balls.
North West will feel aggrieved not to have advanced from the semi-final after having the Knights at 127 for 7, and being well on track to chase the target. They were 42 without loss in the third over when rain washed out the match. As a result, Knights advanced on a higher net run rate, despite North West being in control of the game. Eldred Hawken took 3 for 37 and Senuran Muthusamy bagged 2 for 12, as only two of Knights’ batters, Pite van Biljon and Gerald Coetzee, scored more than 15, and their usually strong line-up stuttered. North West’s openers Wesley Marshall and Eben Botha hit seven fours and a six in the 15 balls they faced, but heavy showers in Kimberley put Knights into the final.
The only Division 2 team to qualify from the group stage, South Western Districts (SWD) ended their run in the last eight with the biggest margin of defeat in the knockouts. Things started well for SWD, who had Titans 44 for 2 at the end of the powerplay. However, a 33-ball 48 from Theunis de Bruyn, two half-century stands for the fifth and the sixth wicket, and a 29-ball 55 from Donavon Ferreira took Titans to 192. SWD’s 82-run opening stand put them on track to pull off a coup, but they lost all ten wickets for 56 runs to tumble to 138 all out inside 18 overs. Wickets were shared between the Titans’ attack, with captain Aaron Phangiso earning the best returns of 2 for 18.
Rossouw continued his remarkable run in the competition and became the highest run-scorer of the season with a century to add to his two fifties, as he propelled Knights to 223 for 3 against Western Province. He shared a 130-run third-wicket partnership with Behardien, a stand which came off just 64 balls, with Behardien scoring 57. None of the Cape attack conceded at less than nine runs an over. Western Province looked out of contention on 105 for 5 in the 12th over, but their captain Wayne Parnell had other ideas. He smashed remarkable a 29-ball 80 at a strike rate of 275.66 and kept them in the hunt until the final over, which they entered on 195 for 7. In the end, Migael Pretorius conceded 24 runs off the last over, including a no-ball six, but Western Province still fell short by four runs.
Daryn Dupavillon had Warriors at 8 for 3 in the third over, before Diego Rosier and Sinethemba Qeshile put on 42 to save their line-up’s blushes. Dupavillon finished with 4 for 18 as Warriors ended on 127 for 9. When they had Dolphins on 33 or 4 after seven overs, it looked like Warriors may have scored enough; but Keegan Petersen built diligently before Jason Smith took it on himself to see Dolphins over the line. They needed 34 runs off the last five overs, and Smith scored 20 of them to finish unbeaten on 60 off 41 balls to complete the chase with four balls to spare.
The best quarter-final was saved for last when North West beat Boland by three runs in a thriller. North West’s innings started shakily when they were reduced to 45 for 4 in the seventh over, before Eben Both and Lesego Senokwane put on 59 for the fifth wicket to take them over 100. Duan Jansen‘s 21-ball 27 helped set Boland a target of 158, which they should have easily reached after the Malan brothers, Janneman and Pieter, had an opening stand worth 108 in less than 13 overs. But that is when they collapsed, losing 6 for 44 in the next 41 balls: two each to Jansen and Caleb Seleka, one to Lwandiswa Zuma and another to a run-out. Boland needed four off the last ball, but Janneman could only find a single.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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