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NCC falter at final Africa T20 Cup hurdle

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Free State shattered the NCC's hope of topping Pool C in the Africa T20 Cup Competitionthis past weekend

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NORTHERN CAPE Cricket’s hopes of topping Pool C in the Africa T20 Cup competition at the Diamond Oval this weekend came to a screeching halt, when they were overpowered by a disciplined Free State team.

Northern Cape were still in with a shout to qualify for the knockout rounds had they beaten the Free State with a bonus point, all this thanks to Kenya losing to KZN earlier in the day.

Free State were sent in to bat and lost four wickets early on in their innings, with only 55 runs on the board after 9.3 overs. The visitors eventually consolidated their innings, posting a useful 139/6 in their 20 overs, with Leus du Plooy ending on 50 not out. The best of the Northern Cape bowlers were skipper Werner Coetsee (2/13) and Patrick Kruger (2/22).

Chasing the target of 140 the hosts had to score at a run rate of seven runs to the over, but were in trouble early when Gerrit Snyman was back in the hut with the hosts’ having just posted three runs.

NC were in even deeper trouble after 10 overs, reeling at 57/5, with only Keegan Petersen (26) showing any resistance to the Free State bowling attack

Northern Cape’s sorrows continued with them losing wickets at regular intervals and they were eventually dismissed for 77, a whole 63 runs short with 20 balls left in the match.

Leus du Plooy was the best of the Free State bowlers taking 4/15 from his four overs.

Free State topped the log with nine points, one ahead of Kenya and will take part in the semi-finals and hopefully move on to the final on the weekend of September 24/25 back here at the Diamond Oval.

In the earlier match yesterday, KwaZulu-Natal were in deep trouble at one stage at 88/8 after 14.3 overs, with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (32) being the only batsman to make any decent contribution. The chief destroyer for the Kenyan team was Emmanuel Ringera, who took 5/13, while Pushpak Kerai captured 2/16.

Thanks to the bowling onslaught KZN were dismissed for a measly 116 in 19.3 overs.

Kenya started their innings at a blistering pace rollicking along at just over eight runs an over, but with the KZN bowlers adjusting and bowling a tighter line, Kenya’s innings started to go awry. KZN eventually dismissed the Kenyans for just 92.

However, despite this loss, Kenya did not just come to make up the numbers, as they rocked eventual Pool C qualifiers Free State in the opening game on Friday. Kenya won that match by six wickets with 10 balls to spare.

The second game of the tournament saw Northern Cape canter past KZN with a six-wicket rout. Batting first KZN scored a rather disappointing 128/7, with their top scorers being Khalipa Cele (60) and Jason Wagner (23 not out). Patrick Kruger (3/19) and NC skipper Werner Coetsee (2/27) did most of the damage. NC then sailed past the target in 19.1 overs with Keegan Petersen (23 not out) the top run-getter.

On Saturday, thanks to a whirlwind 71 not out from 49 balls by Andries Gous (pictured) and 18 not out by Leus du Plooy, Free State cruised to a nine-wicket victory over KZN after the Natalians scraped to 120/7 in their 20 overs, thanks to contributions from Vaughn van Jaarsveld (40), Khalipa Cele (25) and Calvin Savage (22).

The Free State bowlers who restricted their opponents were Corné Dry (2/28) and Shadley van Schalkwyk (2/26).

Northern Cape, meanwhile, took on Kenya on Saturday afternoon and set a decent score of 148/5 in their 20 overs.

As in their earlier match Kenya’s innings again started off shakily as they lost four quick wickets up front, but Gurdeep Singh and Rakep Patel steadied the ship and taking the match down to the wire, with Kenya eventually celebrating a win with eight balls to spare, thanks to a splendid 72 not out by Patel.

The final stage of the pool stages of the tournament concludes when Pool D is contested from September 15-17 in East London, where Border will host KZN Inland, Zimbabwe and Boland, before the action returns to Kimberley for the final round on September 24-25.