Three horse race for pool C honours

Border batsmen Marco Marais and Yaseen Vallie touch gloves during the Africa Cup T20 pool C win over Kenya at Buffalo Park on Saturday afternoon.
Border batsmen Marco Marais and Yaseen Vallie touch gloves during the Africa Cup T20 pool C win over Kenya at Buffalo Park on Saturday afternoon.
Image: Ross Roche

It will be a three horse race going into Sunday's final day of the Africa Cup T20 competition pool C, with hosts Border, provincial rivals Eastern Province and international side Namibia all in the running for qualification.

EP head into the day on top of the log, thanks to winning all three of their matches so far, by 15-runs against Namibia, by 11-runs against Mpumalanga and then a thumping 79-run win against Kenya.

Border come into the day with two wins from three after they lost their opener against Namibia by six wickets, before bouncing back with convincing wins of nine and eight wickets over Mpumalanga and Kenya respectively.

Namibia's other win was a comfortable 66-run victory over Mpumalanga.So in the end it comes down to the final day with all three sides needing to win if they are to progress.

EP has the luxury of having a chance even if they don't win, as if Border beat them and if Namibia defeat Kenya, it will go down to bonus points and run rates to decide who tops the pool and qualifies for the finals weekend.

Namibia will be up against Kenya in the morning match starting at 9:30am, while Border and EP will close out the weekends action in the afternoon with a 1:30pm start, both games at Buffalo Park.

In Saturday afternoons matches it was easy wins for both Border and Namibia.

Kenya were unable to score a competitive enough total against the hosts, struggling to 130/6 at the end of their 20 overs.Spinner Bongolwethu Makeleni was the pick of bowlers, claiming 2/22 in his four overs, while Yaseen Vallie, 1/14, Bamanye Xenxe, 1/14, and Basheer Walters, 1/19, also picked up a wicket each.

None of the Kenyan batsmen were able to stick around and go for a big score, with the 43-run second wicket partnership between Alex Obanda (28 off 25 balls) and Irfan Karim (31 off 32 balls) the best but neither batted with any real urgency.

Shem Ngoche's late unbeaten 22 off 16 balls helped them get to the 130 mark.Border star batsman Marco Marais then stepped back up to the crease and after back to back centuries in his first two games, hammered 75no to power Border past the total in the 11th over.

Cameos from fellow opener Gihahn Cloete, 20 off seven balls, and Yaseen Vallie, 24 not out off 17 balls helped them over the line.In the afternoons other match Namibia smashed Mpumalanga all over the park to rack up 216/4 in their 20 overs at Police Park.

Captain Jan Frylick led the carnage with an unbeaten 82 off 46 balls (8x4; 4x6) and shared in a 90-run stand with Michau du Preez (65 off 45 balls, 5x4; 4x6), while a cameo from JJ Smit at the end helped them cross the 200 mark as he hammered 25 off seven balls with three maximums and a boundary.

The score was then too much for Mpumalanga as they fell to their fourth defeat of the weekend as they were bowled out for 150, with Benjamin van Niekerk (42), Liam Peters (28) and captain Mbasa Gqadushe (20no) the only batsmen to really trouble the bowlers.

Gerhard Erasmus, 3/23, Christopher Coombe, 3/35, and Tangeni Lungameni, 2/24, were the chief destroyers on the bowling front.