A solid all-round performance enabled KwaZulu-Natal Inland to cruise to victory in the Africa Cup T20 final in Kimberley.
The six-wicket win, coming with 13 balls to spare, was well-earned and fully deserved after they had made their way to the final with three resounding victories and one abandoned match.
Their shock bowling effort had limited Free State to a total of 128-5, and while Free Staters’ hopes may have flickered briefly when they dismissed Lefa Mosena for four and Sarel Erwee, who had scored fifties in the previous three matches, for 19, the victors’ calmness saw them through.
Grant Roelofsen (33 off 34) and Kushen Kishun (22 off 17) broke the back of the chase with a stand of 41 in five overs. When Roelfesen fell, in the 15th over, it was just a stroll home for Kyle Nipper (38 off 31 (5×4) and Ruhan Pretorius (8).
True to the vagaries of T20 cricket, the first innings swung madly. A lazy run-out of the semi-final centurion Andries Gous in the first over, and two excellent strikes by Kerwin Mungroo, left the Free Staters on 3-12 in the fourth over. But then a series of dropped catches and a relieving stand of 68 between Karabo Mogotsi and Patrick Botha brought them back into the game.
The dismissal of Botha, who had been dropped on 24, for 38 (35 balls, 2×4, 1×6) proved crucial, and took the momentum away.
Mogotsi was still playing an anchoring role, and did not get above a strike rate of 70 as he ended on 42 (3×4), but Raynard van Tonder provided a welcome boost with 26 off 15 balls (2×4 1×6) as the Free Staters struggled to 128-5.
Still, the required run rate of 6.40 was never going to be enough for a side that showed great composure.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)