Eastern Province stay top while Border back in it

Border star batsman Marco Marais raises his bat after scoring his second consecutive century in the Africa Cup T20 competition
Border star batsman Marco Marais raises his bat after scoring his second consecutive century in the Africa Cup T20 competition
Image: Ross Roche

Border forced their way back into contention and Eastern Province put themselves on the brink of qualifying for the finals weekend after an exciting morning of Africa Cup T20 cricket in East London on Saturday.

EP powered to their third win of the competition, an emphatic 79-run victory over Kenya at Police Park, while Border made sure they stayed in contention with a thumping nine wicket win over Mpumalanga at Buffalo Park.

For EP it means that they will top the log going into Sunday's final day of play, with their last match of the pool stage against Border on Sunday afternoon.

Border and Kenya will both play a winner takes all match on Saturday afternoon to stay in contention, the winner giving them a chance going into Sunday while the loser of the match will join Mpumalanga who became the first team out of contention.

Namibia, who take on Mpumalanga on Saturday afternoon also need to win their match to stay in contention.

In the morning match a scintillating Marco Marais hammered his way to his second consecutive hundred, as the makeshift opener carried his bat and Border to a superb win over Mpumalanga.

After the newcomers to the tournament scored a challenging 175/5 at the end of their 20 overs, Border needed to bat well to take the win and it ended up being a walk in the park with 15 balls to spare.

Mpumalanga's total was spearheaded by captain Jared Fuchs unbeaten 78 off 46 balls (7x4; 4x6), while he was supported well by Aubrey Ferreira (35) after they had gotten off to a slow start, being 34/3 at a stage.

Border's Phaphama Fojela led the bowling effort with 2/21 off his three overs. With the bat Marais shared in an opening 80-run stand with Gihahn Cloete (29) who became the only wicket to fall as he was then joined by Yaseen Vallie (33no) and they shared in an unbeaten 99-run partnership to cruise home.

Marais smashed them over the line in style in the 18th over, powering opening bowler Codi Yusuf, who conceded 44 runs in 2.3 overs, for six over long on off the first ball to move to 98, brought up his century with a two off the next and then finished the match with another flat six over long on to end unbeaten on 106.

In the other match EP managed a solid 188/7 in their 20 overs thanks to some good contributions at the top of the order.

Openers Matthew Breetzke (69) and Eddie Moore (54) shared in a 109 run opening partnership in 11.4 overs, while the other main contribution came from number three Matthew Christensen who scored 30. Kenya's Nehemiah Odhiambo was the pick of the bowlers with 3/27.

Kenya then were never in the chase, constantly behind the run rate and losing wickets regularly as they fell well short. When star player Rakep Patel fell for 40 off 31 balls (4x4; 2x6) with the score 92/6 the writing was on the wall and the final four wickets fell for six runs as they ended on 109 all out.

Thomas Kaber with 3/11 in 3.3 overs starred with the ball and was backed up well by Kelly Smuts, 2/12, and Jade de Klerk, 2/36.