Border cruise into Africa Cup final
Marais, Cloete power home team to victory
Top order sluggers Marco Marais and Gihahn Cloete smashed Border into the Africa Cup T20 final with a superb 102-run opening stand, setting up an easy seven-wicket win against Easterns in their semifinal at Buffalo Park on Sunday.
Easterns made a below par 134/9 in their 20 overs and were perhaps lucky to get that much after some poor fielding let them off in the middle overs, but it was not nearly enough as Border chased their target down with 38 balls to spare thanks to a century opening partnership in under nine overs.
Border will now face Gauteng in the final on Monday after they beat North West by 27 runs in the other semifinal early Sunday.
Marais, still carrying a hamstring injury picked up in last weekend’s pool stage, could barely run during his innings, so just stood and delivered.
He started the chase with two sixes off the first two balls of the innings bowled by captain Grant Thomson as his opening over went for 22. Cloete then backed up Marais well, as they took singles and twos when possible, but the majority of the balls were hammered to the boundary and even over it as the 50 came up in the fourth over.
Marais then reached his half century in the sixth over, powering two sixes to get to the mark off just 17 balls. Another Marais six at the end of the eighth over then brought up the hundred but Cloete fell in the next over, caught for 40 off 30 balls (7x4) off the bowling of Dyllan Matthews (1/17).
Marais’ fun ended in the 10th over, caught for 64 off 25 balls (2x4, 7x6), off the bowling of Andre Erasmus (2/26), but with the score on 108/2 the damage was done and Border were able to ease over the line, losing just one more wicket.
Easterns won the toss and elected to bat first, with Border getting off to an excellent start.
After his opening over had been hit for 10 runs, strike bowler Phaphama Fojela returned for his second and claimed a double strike, removing opener Wesley Marshall (7) caught by Jerry Nqolo in the deep and Jurie Snyman for a first ball duck, as Easterns slipped to 16/2. Basheer Walters then got in on the action, having Kabelo Sekhukhune (10) caught by ‘keeper Cloete, leaving Easterns in all sorts of trouble at 20/3.
Thomson was joined at the crease by Sizwe Masondo. Just after bringing up the hundred, Masondo (34) was held by Jason Niemand in the deep in the next over bowled by Clayton Bosch after he tried to slog a six over cow corner, bringing the 80-run stand to an end.
Thomson then brought up his half century in the next over, before Walters caught him on the boundary for 53 (5x4, 1x6) off a Makeleni full toss. Fojela (3/18) and Walters (2/15) were the star bowlers for the hosts.
The final between Border and Gauteng starts at 10am Monday.