Half-centuries by Temba Bavuma and Wiaan Mulder helped Gauteng reach the Africa T20 Cup final for the first time after they comfortably beat North West by 27 runs in their semi-final encounter at Buffalo Park in East London on Sunday.
There were also two wickets by Tumelo Tlhokwe (2/17) in a polished bowling display as the Johannesburg-based side bowled out their Potchefstroom-based opponents for 144 in 17.5 overs as they attempted to chase 172.
But the victory, which earned Gauteng a place in the Monday Heritage Day final, was undoubtedly set up by the Standard Bank Proteas pair – with Bavuma top-scoring with an unbeaten 79, in which he smashed five sixes and four fours from only 45 deliveries.
His side had lost the toss and were asked to bat first when they fell into some early trouble on seven for two.
But Bavuma and Mulder, who made 63 (43 balls, 10 fours), shared in a 111-run third wicket stand to propel Gauteng as they ended on 171 for five.
Migael Pretorius was the most successful of the NW bowlers with an expensive two for 38.
The reply was looking ominous thanks to a flying start by Kagiso Rapulana and Shane Dadswell (9). The pair put on 64 for the opening wicket in only 5.4 overs, before things went all wrong for North West.
From 64 for none, they slipped to 97 for four by the end of the 11th over, handing the initiative back to Gauteng.
The outstanding Rapulana – the match top-scorer with 85 (49 balls, 11 fours, 2 sixes) – was still there, though, and everything remained possible until he became the sixth wicket to fall with the total on 128.
And with a lack of support after the next highest score was 13 made by Nicky van den Bergh, NW then folded and were bowled out with 13 balls still remaining.