Johannesburg - Rain robbed the North West Dragons of a spot in the final of the CSA T20 Knock Out competition in Kimberley on Thursday.
While farmers in the region would have been delighted, for the North West players it was a cruel outcome in a match they had dominated against the more heavily favoured Knights.
However the Free Staters, on account of their superior net run rate over the course of the competition, qualified for Friday’s final where they will face the Dolphins, who beat the Northerns Titans earlier on Thursday.
The Dragons were magnificent with the ball, producing a disciplined performance in which they kept the much vaunted Knights batting line-up in check. Eldred Hawken claimed 3/37, but Chad Classen (0/17 in four overs) and Senuran Muthusamy (2/12), provided excellent control. In particular the experienced pair of Rilee Rossouw, fresh off a stunning century against Western Province and Farhaan Behardien were never allowed to go through the gears. Rossouw hit just one four, in his innings of 15, which came off 16 balls, a far cry from the free flowing player seen throughout the competition.
It was Lwandiswa Zuma, who claimed his wicket, as he found a thick outside edge when Rossouw attempted a drive, with Lesego Senokwane, showing good judgement to claim a steepling catch at point. Behardien was bowled for three by a beautiful delivery from Muthusamy, leaving the Knights in a dreadful position at 97/6 when the rain first arrived to halt the match in the 18th over of their innings.
When play resumed, Gerald Coetzee smashed 29 off 12 balls, to give the Free Staters a respectable total, which was then readjusted to leave the Dragons a target of 130 in 19 overs.
Their openers, Wesley Marshall and Eben Botha, knowing that rain was likely to fall again, then smashed 42 off just 2.3 overs but unfortunately the rain returned too quickly, ending the match and washing away their hopes of playing in the final.
Earlier the Dolphins were grateful to a well made 58 not out off 45 balls from Khaya Zondo, that calmed their nerves as they reached a modest target 139 to defeat the Titans. “It was important to just pace myself. I knew they were going to bowl wide outside the off-stump, outside of my hitting zone, but they only way I can get out then, is if I make a mistake with my shot, I can get bowled, can’t get lbw, so I was happy for them to do that,” said Zondo
He credited the Dolphins bowlers, who in the two play-off matches were superb, with Daryn Dupavillon and Ottniel Baartman taking 4/18 in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively. “I have been facing them throughout the off-season, they have been excellent. They have good energy on the ball and they executed their plans so well.”
Friday’s final starts at 1pm.
ITEC Knights 127/7 (in 19 Overs)
North West Dragons 42/0