The Dragons were grateful to a 59-run partnership for the fifth wicket that provided them with a competitive total against what on paper was a more experienced Rocks team on Wednesday.
JOHANNESBURG – The Paarl based Rocks suffered an incredible meltdown in the second half of their run chase losing a match that seemed impossible to lose.
Requiring 157, the Rocks, thanks to an opening partnership of 108 between the Malan brothers, Janneman and Pieter, were comfortably on course for a spot in the semi finals of the CSA T20 Knock Out competition.
When Pieter was out for 46, caught on the long off boundary, the requirement for victory was a seemingly simple one – 49 runs off 43 balls, with nine wickets in hand. And yet the Rocks lost.
Janneman Malan, who finished not out on 74, could only watch from the other end as his teammates kept gifting their wickets to the Dragons, in what was the most stunning capitulation of the competition. The Rocks lost four wickets for nine runs in 15 balls, until Ferisco Adams reignited their hopes with a partnership of 32 for the fifth wicket alongside Malan.
Entering the final over, the Rocks needed just nine runs, but the loss of Adams for 21 to a run out off the first ball – a decision that required several looks from the television official before being confirmed – put them under pressure. Duan Jansen hit his lengths properly, adding the wicket of Hardus Viljoen, and then denying Malan a boundary off the last ball, which would have meant a super over, to earn the Dragon a spot in the final four.
“Jeepus, these play-off games are about getting over the line, it doesn’t matter how you do it,” said Dragons captain Nicky van den Bergh.
“Jannas and Pieter had played so well, it felt like whatever we threw at them, they were dealing with it pretty well. Our only way in, it felt like, was to get a soft dismissal, which we got. When we got that one end open, we got a few on the bounce, and we pounced on that.”
Jansen finished with 2/19, while Lwandiswa Zuma (1/39) and Eldred Hawken (0/23) bowled some crucial overs towards the latter stages of the Rocks innings.
The Dragons were grateful to a 59-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Eben Botha (41 off 34 balls) and Lesego Senokwane (40 off 31) that provided them with a competitive total against what on paper was a more experienced Rocks team.
The Dragons will face Free State in the semi-final on Thursday.
In the earlier match on Wednesday, a devastating opening burst from Daryn Dupavillon and a well timed fifth wicket partnership of 98 between Jason Smith and Keegan Petersen, saw the Dolphins earn a spot in the final four with a six wicket win against the EP Warriors.
Dupavillon picked up three wickets in the power play to rock the Warriors, whose aggressive batting has been one of the features of the tournament. However they couldn’t recover from 37/4 with which they ended the power play, posting just 127/9. Dupavillon finished with career best figures of 4/18.
Although the Dolphins also slumped to 33/4 at the end of the seventh over, Smith who scored 60 not out on 60 off 41 balls and Petersen with 38 off 43 balls, smartly negotiated the chase.
The Dolphins will face the Titans in the first semi-final on Thursday morning.
North West Dragons 156/8
Gbets Rocks 153/6
Result: North West won by 3 runs