South Western Districts caused a major upset on the second day of the CSA T20 Knock Out in Kimberley, defeating their bigger neighbours Western Province in a tense encounter.
What appeared to be a relatively modest target, turned into a virtual Everest for SWD, who stumbled across the line in the final over.
Left hand opener Yaseen Valli, played the anchor role, keeping his head as his teammates lost theirs to steer SWD to victory with a well made 55 not out that came off 54 balls..
South Western Districts had recovered after losing two wickets in the first two overs, with Valli and Andre Malan adding 48 runs for the third wicket. That seemed to have broken the back of the chase.
However they proceeded to lose wickets at regular intervals, thanks to some poor shots, one excellent bit of fielding by Kyle Simmonds off his own bowling – who dived behind the non-striker to claim a catch one handed to dismiss Onke Nyaku – and comical running between the wickets.
The match should never have come down to the last over but it did, with Tshepo Moreki tasked with defending four runs. Valli drove the fourth ball of the final over to the cover boundary, leading to exciting celebrations in the SWD dugout – a mixture of relief and joy for the coaches and players.
SWD moved to the top of Pool A with their second win in two days .
Western Province’s performance with the bat was disappointing, although SWD’s seamers deserve a lot of credit for controlling the swinging new ball and later in the innings, bowling their yorkers with unerring accuracy.
They reduced WP to 49/5 in the 10th over, before a 67-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Kyle Simmonds (46* off 32 balls) and Aviwe Mgijima (35 off 35 balls) provided some respectability to their total.
Herschell America, a tall right armer seamer, with some slick dance moves, starred again with the ball for SWD, following up his 3/22 effort against Northern Cape on Friday, with 3/23 on Saturday, his scalps included Kyle Verreynne and Wayne Parnell.
Besides America, SWD's two other seamers Renaldo Meyer with 1/20 and Onke Nyakyu, who picked up 1/19, also kept WP under pressure, while off-spinner Pheko Moletsane chipped in with 2/12 from two overs.
The Lions face Northern Cape in the later game on Saturday afternoon.
Six Gun Grill WP 130/7 (Kyle Simmonds 46, Aviwe Mgijima 35, Hershell America 3/22, Pheko Moletsane 2/12)
Six Gun Grill SWD 134/7 (Yaseen Valli 55*, Andre Malan 21, Nandre Burger 2/21, Beuran Hendricks 1/18)
SWD won by three wickets.