CSA T20 Challenge 2021-22 – Quinton de Kock in the runs North West and Western Province set the early pace



CSA T20 round-up: Boland and Knights are yet to get off the mark

North West have emerged as frontrunners at the CSA T20 tournament with two victories, including a bonus-point win, in the opening week of the tournament. They are a point ahead of Western Province, who also triumphed in both their matches, and five clear of the Dolphins, Lions, Titans and Warriors, all of whom won one each. Boland and the Knights are yet to register a win. Here are the highlights from the first round:

North-West crush troubled Knights

After the semi-final between these two teams in the CSA T20 knockout earlier in the season was washed out, with the Knights advancing to the final and eventually claiming the trophy, North West exacted sweet revenge with an eight-wicket victory on Thursday. North West’s attack, which included ODI allrounder Dwaine Pretorius (1/13) and two-time Test cap Senuran Muthusamy (2/8), kept the Knights to 95 for 9 in 20 overs. Wesley Marshall’s 29-ball 43 and an opening stand of 69 ensured the result was never in doubt. Pretorius finished things off in the 11th over, to give North West an eight-wicket win.
The loss speaks to broader problems for the Knights, who are struggling without marquee batter Rilee Rossouw, who is at the PSL. They hold the two lowest first-innings scores in the competition so far, after their opening match against the Dolphins saw them post just 128 for 5. All eyes will be on Raynard van Tonder, Farhaan Behardien and Pite van Biljon to see if Knights improve next week.
North West, meanwhile, also beat their neighbours, the Lions, by defending 136. Their most successful bowler so far is left-arm spinner Johannes Diseko, who is the joint-leading wicket-taker and has the best economy rate among the leading 10 bowlers.

De Kock, Levi, Lubbe in the runs

His retirement from Test cricket means Quinton de Kock is not with the national side in New Zealand and available for the Titans as he focuses solely on white-ball fixtures. His campaign began with a first ball duck against the Warriors, who went on to defend 163 on the opening day. But de Kock quickly turned things around, scoring 72 off 61 balls and sharing in a 106-run opening stand with Gihahn Cloete to help Titans get to 158 for 2 against Boland. In what was the game of the round, Janneman and Pieter Malan got Boland off to a good start with 69 runs inside eight overs, then lost 3 for 29 before Under-19 World Cup returnee Michael Copeland hit a 39-ball 33. But then they lost three wickets for two runs and finally fell three runs short of victory. Junior Dala took two wickets in three balls in the penultimate over to leave Ayabulele Gqamane 11 to defend in the last over.
Boland’s week went poorly after they also lost to Western Province, who chased 143 with little trouble. Richard Levi set the tone with 67 from 39 balls and then helped Western Province to victory over the Warriors as well when his 17-ball 40 provided the foundation to chase the highest total of the week: 164. Levi is the second highest run-scorer in the competition, with the highest strike rate.
Wihan Lubbe leads the run-charts, 18 ahead of Levi, with two half-centuries. He scored 69* against Western Province and 56, in a winning cause, against the Titans.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent


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