KZN Inland proved their pedigree once again in limited overs pressure matches when they beat hosts, Free State, by four runs in the second semi-final of the Africa T20 Cup at the Mangaung Oval on Saturday.
They will now play Northerns in the final on Sunday.
‘We have won both the T20 and 50 overs titles in the semi-professional league,’ commented KZN Inland captain, SJ Erwee, ‘so we have a good record and will certainly draw on those experiences in tomorrow’s final.’
Batting first, they looked a little bit short of a par total when they were restricted to 139-5 – a total which owed much to Vaughn van Jaarsveld whose unbeaten 61 off 49 balls with four fours and a six was far away the highest contribution.
The Protea left-hander has had a wonderful tournament to date so far, scoring 189 runs for an average of 94 and a strike rate of 130.
He was involved in three of the four highest partnerships of the match and the final one for the sixth wicket with Sohail Mahmoud of 37 turned a very modest total into one which they were able to defend.
Mahmoud had an excellent match as did all the KZN spinners as they worked their way through the Free State batting after Craig Alexander and Matthew Pillans, had restricted the home side to 27-1 in the power play overs.
It was a disappointing Free State batting performance after they had looked to have a very good winning chance at the halfway stage. They missed the services of Michael Erlank whose opening partnerships with Andries Gous were key in getting them through to the knock-out phase.
His off-spinners would also have been useful against Inland’s array of left-handed batsmen in the top order.
Their bowlers certainly did a good job in putting them into a good position and none more so than Shadley van Schalkwyk (3-32). He remained defiant until the end being unbeaten on 21 (11 balls, 1×4, 1×6) when the match ended.