Titans face Lions in semi-final while Dolphins host Warriors

The Titans’ Junior Dala took 3-13 to restrict Western Province to 113-9. | BackpagePix

The Titans’ Junior Dala took 3-13 to restrict Western Province to 113-9. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 21, 2024


Zaahier Adams

The Titans’ seamers and SA Under-19 star batter Lhuan-dre Pretorius delivered an exceptional performance at Newlands to seal the remaining semi-final spot in the Cricket SA T20 Challenge.

The Sunday afternoon clash on a glorious Cape Town autumn day was a virtual quarter-final with the winner set to qualify for the play-offs. Junior Dala (3-13) and Corbin Bosch (3-21) ensured it would be the visitors who progressed as they restricted Province to 113-9.

The Titans’ Junior Dala took 3-13 to restrict Western Province to 113-9. | BackpagePix

The Titans’ batters, in particular Pretorius, had little trouble chasing down the target as the defending champions kept their campaign alive with a comfortable six-wicket bonus-point victory.

Province’s woeful batting unit has struggled since the start of the competition and it proved to be their Achilles heel once again.

There was brief respite on Friday evening at Boland Park when captain Kyle Verreynne carried the weight of the team on his shoulders with an impressive half-century against the Rocks. But back at Newlands yesterday it was once again left to Verreynne to do the heavy lifting.

The skipper struck a valiant 48 off 31 balls, but he did not have any support from the remaining WP batters. The demise began with opener Eddie Moore (4) attempting to run the ball down to third man, but instead only struck it straight to Jack Lees.

From thereon it was a procession with Tony de Zorzi (6) running himself out shortly afterwards. Dala trapped Verreynne lbw, but also removed both Province youngsters Valentine Kitime (3) and Juan James (3) to leave the home team’s middle order in tatters.

Tailender Kyle Simmons tried to breathe some life into the Province batting effort as the only other batter to strike a boundary besides Verreynne in the entire innings, but Bosch ensured there would be no fightback in the final over with two further wickets.

The Titans’ chase was never in doubt with Pretorius (52) showing attacking intent from the outset. The left-hander showcased both his power and inventiveness with a couple of reverse-sweeps that raced to the boundary.

It certainly looked like he was playing on a different Newlands surface to the rest of the batters as he timed the ball impeccably throughout. Even the early loss of opening partner Rivaldo Moonsamy (4) could not deter the youngster as he raced to half-century off just 31 balls.

Pretorius had solid support from Jack Lees, who struck James for four successive boundaries, as he contributed 19 off only 11 balls. Former captain Sibonelo Makhanya also struck a quickfire 24 to take the Titans to the brink of victory.

It was ultimately left to captain Neil Brand and all-rounder Dayyaan Galiem to take the Titans over the line with 6.4 overs to spare.

Zubayr Hamza was in the runs again yesterday as the Lions secured top spot in the CSA T20 Challenge. | BackpagePix

Elsewhere, the Lions maintained their position at the top of the CSA T20 Challenge table with a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Tuskers.

After restricting the Tuskers to 132-9, the Lions eased home through contributions from Zubayr Hamza (49) and Rassie van der Dussen (51 not out). Mitchell van Buuren also struck a breezy undefeated 23.

In the other all-important clash at St George’s Park in Gqeberha, the Dolphins edged the Warriors for second place. They will now now host a home semi-final after their seven-wicket victory.

The Warriors worked their way towards 130-8, courtesy of a half-century from Jordan Hermann (65 from 43 balls), but it was not enough on the day. Jon Jon Smuts (43 not out) and Jason Smith (41 not out) were the mainstays of the Dolphins run chase.

The two CSA T20 Challenge semi-finals will now see the Lions host crosstown rivals the Titans at the Wanderers, while the Dolphins and Warriors will have a rematch at Kingsmead.

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