Border edged by Gauteng in thrilling Africa Cup T20 finale

Bamanye Xengxe of Border during the 2018 Africa T20 Cup final match between Gauteng and Border at Buffalo Park on September 24, 2018 in East London, South Africa.
Bamanye Xengxe of Border during the 2018 Africa T20 Cup final match between Gauteng and Border at Buffalo Park on September 24, 2018 in East London, South Africa.
Image: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

The Africa Cup T20 final lived up to its billing as an exciting conclusion to the 2018 edition as the Central Gauteng Lions clinched a thrilling three wicket win in the last over against Border at Buffalo Park on Monday.

Needing seven runs to win off the final six balls all-rounder Nono Pongolo (30) ended the home hopes with a six off the first ball from Basheer Walters and then skied the second just over the infield for the winning single off the second to send the visiting team wild.

The match ended up going right down to the wire which didn't seem likely at first after Gauteng, chasing 131 to win, got off to a flying start thanks to Delano Potgieter (23 off 10 balls).

However regular wickets throughout the innings and good bowling changes from captain Jerry Nqolo saw them drop to 79/6 at a stage with all three Protea players, Temba Bavuma (27), Wiaan Mulder (6) and captain Mangaliso Mosehle (2) all out.

It was then up to Pongolo and Carmi le Roux (23) to share in what proved to be a match winning 39-run partnership and despite le Roux falling at the end of the penultimate over, Pongolo kept calm to get his team over the line.

Border youngster Bamanye Xenxe was the star for the home side, putting in a fantastic all-round effort including leading the bowling line with 3/27, while he was backed up well by Clayton Bosch, 2/21.

In the morning Border lost the toss and was sent in to bat, where they got off to a nightmare start as they were reduced to 3/3 within the first two overs.

First Border star Marco Marais went out for a duck, the first ball from le Roux was down the leg side for a wide and his second was on the money, full and wide of off stump with Marais throwing his bat at it only to edge it behind where keeper Mosehle did the rest.

In the next over things went from bad to worse as Gihahn Cloete was found wanting trying to pull his first ball faced, only to edge it to Mosehle off Nandre Burger.

The very next ball Yaseen Vallie (2) called Nqolo through for a quick single, only to run himself out as some quick work from Kgaudiso Molefe putting in a Jonty Rhodes dive and underhand throw had him just short of his ground.

Christiaan Jonker then joined Nqolo at the crease and they looked to rebuild the innings but it was short lived as in Burger's next over Nqolo (9) threw his wicket away, going for an ill advised shot over the top only to be caught by Pongolo as they slipped to 17/4.

Jonker then decided to get a move on and started playing some shots, with a 30-run stand with Jason Niemand following, before Pongolo got Niemand (5) stretching for a wide one and edged it behind to Mosehle, leaving them 47/5 after seven overs.

Bosch then joined Jonker and just as they looked like they were building Border towards a decent score they threw away their wickets.First Jonker (37) tried to clear the ropes at long on, but only ended up skying the ball, where Muhammed Mayet could take the catch on the boundary and then two balls later Bosch (12) sent a bottom handed punch straight down the ground to long off giving Temba Bavuma catching practice.

Both wickets were off the bowling of Pongolo and suddenly Border were on 67/7 after 13 overs.Xenxe then took centre stage with an incredible lower order innings, hitting an unbeaten 51 off 34 balls (3x4; 2x6), sharing in important partnerships of 21 with Bongolwethu Makeleni (0) and 29 with Phaphama Fojela (7) as Border added a further 63-runs to the total, giving their bowlers something to defend.Pongolo led the bowling effort with 3/20 in his four overs, while he was backed up well by Burger with 3/27.