Johannesburg — The Pretoria Capitals are the first team through to the inaugural Betway SA20 final.
The Capitals held their nerve in the big moments during a tense first semi-final against the Paarl Royals to emerge victors by 29 runs at the Wanderers on Wednesday evening.
The match was delayed by 35 minutes due to an earlier downpour, but that did nothing to stem the excitement inside the Bullring.
Rilee Rossouw showed all his experience with 56 off 41 balls that helped the Capitals post 153/8. It was an uncharacteristic innings from the Proteas T20 top-order batter, but it was required under the circumstances.
Rossouw played well within himself due to wickets falling around him and a surface that was not conducive to his regular free-flowing strokeplay.
The Royals were disciplined in their efforts with the ball, particularly Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, as he tore through the Capitals’ middle-order.
Phehlukwayo picked up Jimmy Neesham (4) and Eathan Bosch (22) to follow up the good work of spinners Bjorn Fortuin (1/24) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2/19).
Rossouw, though, absorbed the pressure before breaking free with a couple of clean strikes down the ground.
Unfortunately just when Rossouw was about to cut loose, Phehlukwayo returned to attack to send the southpaw back to the pavilion.
But the Capitals would still have believed that they had a defendable total at the interval. And so it proved with all the Capitals bowlers putting in a solid shift on the night.
Eathan Bosch led the way by removing England international opener Jason Roy two balls into the run chase. Bosch went one better in the following over when he clean bowled the in-form Jos Buttler.
The Royals were immediately on the back foot at 16/2 in the third over and they never quite recovered from the early setbacks.
JP Duminy’s team continued to lose wickets at regular intervals despite being ahead of the run-rate and when Rossouw turned his arm over to claim Eoin Morgan’s scalp the challenge became even steeper.
The Royals’ last hope was captain David Miller, and although the skipper struck a few lusty blows to keep his team in the contest, the challenge was ended with the return of Anrich Nortje at the death.
The Capitals now await the winner of the second semi-final between Joburg Super Kings and the Sunrisers Eastern Cape on Thursday at Centurion to see who their opponents will be in Saturday’s final.
Pretoria Capitals: 153/8
Paarl Royals: 124 all out
Capitals won by 29 runs