Gauteng too hot for North West
Gauteng proved too strong for neighbours North West Dragons as they battled their way to an entertaining 27-run victory over their neighbours to win the first Africa Cup T20 semifinal at Buffalo Park on Sunday morning.
Gauteng's Protea stars Temba Bavuma (79no) and Wiaan Mulder (63) shone with the bat, but they were almost upstaged by North West's Kagiso Rapulana (85) however the lack of support from the rest of his team meant they were unable to seal a thrilling upset win
.Gauteng batted first and reached a strong 171/5, but it may have been less than expected while Bavuma and Mulder were at the crease.
The North West chase then got off to a flying start as Rapulana tore into the Gauteng bowling attack, slamming the ball to all parts of the field in an incredible start.Fellow opener Shane Dadswell, himself known as a big hitter after he smashed a world record 490 runs in a 50-over club match last year, was a virtual spectator as he watched his partner flay the bowling all over.
It was Dadswell who brought up the North West 50 with a two in the fifth over, but by the end of it they were on 57 without loss with Rapulana on 40 off 22 balls and Dadswell on nine off eight.In the next over Dadswell became the first to fall, trying to force one over the infield only to miss-hit and be caught off the bowling of Delano Potgieter.
The seventh over then saw captain Wihan Lubbe (1) caught off the bowling of Mulder and this then saw Rapulana slow down as he decided he might have to bat through.In the end that proved to be the case as he received barely any support from the other batsmen, with only Nicky van den Bergh (13) and Lesego Senokwane (11) reaching double figures.
When Rapulana finally became the sixth wicket to fall in the 16th over, caught superbly in the deep by a diving Bavuma off the bowling of Nono Pongolo for a fantastic 85 off 49 balls (11x4; 2x6) North West still had a slight chance needing 44 off 26 balls.However the final three wickets fell for three runs as they closed on 144/9, with last man Jovuan van Wyngaardt injured in the field during the first innings and unable to bat.At the start of play North West won the toss and elected to field.They then got off to the best possible start as opening bower Migael Pretorius struck with his third ball, having Muhammed Mayet (1) caught behind by keeper van den Bergh.
Fellow opener van Wyngaardt then accounted for the other opening batsman Delano Potgieter (1) bowling him with his first ball leaving Gauteng on 7/2 after just 1.1 overs.However this brought Mulder to join Bavuma at the crease and they set about rebuilding the innings.
The two Protea batsmen then matched each other, as they took Gauteng passed the 50 in the sixth over and then in the 11th Mulder brought up his half century with a boundary and a two off the last ball of the over took them past the hundred run mark.Bavuma then reached his half century with a two in the 13th over and by the end of it Gauteng were handily placed on 118/2, with 200 looking a distinct possibility.
However the impressive 111-run stand then came to an end with the first ball of the next over as Mulder tried to slog a shortish ball from Brady Barends but only ended up skying it with Lubbe taking the catch as Mulder went back to the pavilion for a well played 63 off 43 balls (10x4).Gauteng's innings then lost momentum as Bavuma found himself starved of the strike over the closing overs while a few more wickets fell, leaving Bavuma to strike the final two balls of the innings from Pretorius for a four and six, as he finished unbeaten on 79 off 45 balls (4x4; 5x6) and Gauteng on a solid 171/5, which proved to be enough.