Western Province qualifiy for T20 KO playoffs after win over Northern Cape Heat
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Zubayr Hamza’s adventurous 62off 50 balls saw Western Province squeak into the play-offs of the CSA T20 Knock Out competition on Sunday, eliminating the Imperial Lions in the process.
Hamza has shown superb form at the start of the season, and kept his cool as WP chased a tricky target against a Northern Cape side, which again was poor in the field at the Kimberley Oval.
Hamza played some spectacular shots including a ‘tennis-like smash’ over cover that went for four in the power play. He and Tony De Zorizi added 63 for the opening partnership which provided the perfect foundation for what would normally have been a comfortable run chase.
However, the pursuit was complicated by the fact that WP needed to achieve the total in 19.1 overs, to improve the net run rate above the Lions, and thus take second place behind South Western Districts in Pool A.
Hamza, who made a century in the opening match of the competition against the Lions on Friday, once more showed he has the ability to succeed in the limted overs formats, mixing innovation, with some textbook strokeplay it was a fine innings.
The Northern Cape team have shown plenty of fighting spirit in all three of their Pool matches, but their inability to catch the ball, which proved costly in their loss to the Lions on Saturday, haunted them again on Sunday, with Hamza dropped early on in the power play - a relatively simple chance to point, while Jonathan Bird was also put down by the Heats’s skipper Aubrey Swanepoel off his own bowling.
Bird, who made 0 and 3 in the first two matches, came to life with an aggressive 42 off 23 balls that included three sixes and three fours.
For all their problems in the field, Ernst Kemm, then took the catch of the weekend - a stunning one handed grab at long off - to end Hamza’s stay, and lift the tension just a bit heading into the 19th over.
A massive six from Kyle Verreynne ended the match however.
Western Province should never have been chasing as many as they did in the first play after reducing the Heat to 58/5 in the 10th over. A partnership of 48 between the impressive Evan Jones (50 off 35 balls) an Orapeleng Motlhaoring provided some stability and then Beyers Swanepoel smashed 39 off 18 balls with five four and two sixes to put WP under pressure.
He took advantage of some dreadful ‘death’ bowling from the experienced duo, Beuran Hendricks and Wayne Parnell who between them conceded 48 runs in the last three overs.
Pool B of the competition, featuring the Northerns Titans, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal Inland, will be played in Bloemfontein from Tuesday.
Northern Cape Heat 163/8 (Evan Jones 50, Beyers Swanepoel 39, Wayne Parnell 3/20, Tshepo Moreki 2/23)
Six Gun Grill WP 164/4 (Zubayr Hamza 62, Jonathan Bird 42, Andrew Rasemene 2/26, Aubrey Swanepoel 1/21)
WP win by 6 wickets