Africa Cup T20 off to exciting start
Kenya and Eastern Province got their respective Africa Cup T20 pool C campaigns off to the best possible starts, with convincing victories over Mpumalanga and Namibia respectively in East London on Friday afternoon.
Kenya claimed a powerful eight wicket win over Mpumalanga at Police Park, after a superb batting effort saw them chase down a tricky 167 for victory with four balls to spare.
Both Kenya and Mpumalanga are new to this competition, included as part of four new teams in this expanded edition and would have wanted to get off to a positive start.
Batting first Mpumalanga managed a competitive 166/9 at the end of their 20 overs thanks to solid contributions from middle order batsmen Benjamin van Niekerk (44), Tumi Koto (41), Maarten Steenkamp (30) and Aubrey Ferreira (24).
Kenya's top bowler was then all-rounder Rakep Patel who picked up 3/28 in four overs.
The Kenyan batting order then serenely went about their business chasing the score down, with a 77 run first wicket stand between openers Irfan Karim (52) and Alex Obanda (46), followed by a 89-ran stand between Karim and Patel (57no) as they comfortably cruised over the line.
EP also enjoyed a good start, claiming a 15-run win over Namibia at Buffalo Park.
A brisk start to the EP innings thanks to Matthew Breetzke (25) and Eddie Moore (52) saw them put on 46 for the first wicket and were then 82/1 in the 10th over looking at a big score.
But with Moore castled by Jan Frylinck having just reached his half century EP stuttered, with Matthew Christensen's 19 not out the next highest score as they stumbled to 150/9 at the end of 20 overs.
Bernard Scholtz, 3/27 and Frylinck, 3/28, were the pick of the Namibian bowlers.
Namibia's chase then just never really got off the ground as they stayed behind the asking rate throughout, despite the efforts of Frylinck (31), Lohan Louwrens (30), Gerhard Erasmus (24) and JJ Smit (24), as they ended on 135/8 at the end of their 20 overs.
EP will play against Mpumalanga at Buffalo Park and Namibia against Border at Police Park in the afternoon matches.