The hosts finally had a breakthrough when Jaun Mpofu bowled Coetzee out for 71 from 50 balls (7x4s, 4x6s)
St. Andrews (4 wickets; 20 overs) 188
G Coetzee 71, G Tarr 53
NCH (9 wickets; 20 overs) 140
R Alexander 58
Coca-Cola South Africa Under-19 and ICC World XI all-rounder, Gerald Coetzee led his team to victory, in the central franchise final on Friday, as the Bloemfontein based Saint Andrews defeated Northern Cape High School by 48 runs to secure a spot in Coca-Cola Schools T20 National Finals.
St. Andrews made it to the franchise finals after defeating their Free State rivals Grey College last week. They then took on NCH on Friday at the Diamond Oval, after the Kimberley side had qualified by beating Kathu in their provincial final match.
St. Andrews won the toss and elected to bat, and after losing an early wicket, that of Henré Koekemoer, Coetzee strode to the crease to join Garnett Tarr. Their partnership of 123 runs from 87 balls (10x4s, 5x6s) gave the NCH bowlers and fielders a hard time. The hosts finally had a breakthrough when Jaun Mpofu bowled Coetzee out for 71 from 50 balls (7x4s, 4x6s).
A short while later Tarr was dismissed by Zacharea Mason for 53 (39 balls, 4x4s, 1×6). Pheko Moletsane then also came to the party for the visitors and was unbeaten on 32*, coming off only 13 balls (4x4s, 1×6).
The hosts started their chase pretty well and cruised to 98/3 early on in their innings, but then things took a bad turn as they lost three quick wickets in an on-fire Coetzee’s last over (including two run outs), which caused them to plummet to 103/6. However, NCH’s Reeza Alexander was unwilling to give up without a fight and bludgeoned his way to a solid 58 from 51 balls for his team. But it was not enough to save the hosts from falling almost 50 runs short of their target.
Alexander’s heroics caught the eye of tournament ambassador and Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma who said he was impressed by the young Alexander’s resilience. The NCH batsman’s quality contributed him to being included in the Coca-Cola T20 All-Star team which will take on a CSA Development Hub team at the National Finals.
Alexander told the DFA that he was happy about the opportunity despite being on the losing side on Friday. “I’m a little disappointed that we lost today as we worked very hard to get here, but I’m also very excited to get another opportunity from Coca-Cola to go to the national finals and showcase my talent,” he said.
Zacharea Mason NCH’s left arm spinner, who showed great control and responsibility during pressure situations also earned himself a spot in the All-Star team.
Mason was also understandably excited about the opportunity. “It feels great to be selected by someone like Temba Bavuma. I can’t wait to meet the other players in the All-Star team. I’m looking forward to making new friends,” he said.