We take a look at some of the players to watch in the Africa T20 Cup semi-finals taking place in Oudtshoorn today.
Being an experienced T20 campaigner with games in the CPL T20 and for SA A, Smuts took that experience into his matches for Eastern Province. He lit-up the stage of the Africa T20 in EP’s (199-5 ) first game against Gauteng (196-3) with a magnificent century in a match which recorded the two highest totals since the birth of the competition last year. He became the first ever centurion of the competition, smashing a magnificent 102 not out off 63 balls. Although he had one noticeable performance, being in the opening match, it set the tone for EP for the rest of the competition as they remained unbeaten in Pool D, with Smuts scoring 114 runs with a strike rate of 154.05.
Bowling played an important role in EP’s dominance throughout the group stages and Magala was the focal point of their success. His eight wickets for 80 runs at an economy rate of 7.05 means that he tops the standings as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament. His best performance came against KZN when he took four wickets for nine runs in EP’s 55-run win. The 25-year old fast-medium bowler has put in some decent shifts for SA A in their tour to Australia for the Quadrangular A-Team One-Day Series and he will look to catch the attention of national selectors by playing an important role in the Warriors’ upcoming domestic season.
Fast bowler Shingi Masakadza and spinner Wellington Masakadza, are the younger brothers of Ex-Zimbabwe national captain Hamilton Masakadza. They will form a key role in Zimbabwe’s bowling attack and a huge role in their chances to reaching the final, after finding themselves cashing in after a lucky draw saw them steal a semis spot.
One of the rising stars of this tournament, 20-year-old Ex-SA U19 player has lead North West to an unbeaten group stage topping Pool A with 13 points. His consistent form has made him the top-run scorer for North West in the competition with 153 runs and a high score of 70, leaving him second in the tournament behind Northerns’ star batsman Heinrich Klaasen. Malan will look to replace Klaasen on the top of the pile, as he looks to play an important role in NW’s hunt for a final spot.
Fortuin is having a remarkable year so far and is a talented spin bowler who made his mark for SA Emerging taking 10 wickets in the Emerging Team Tri-Series and 16 wickets in two four-day matches on their tour to Sri Lanka. The 21-year old is a focal point of North West’s bowling line up taking four wickets in his three matches played he will also try taking momentum in his domestic campaign for the Lions.
After recently snatching up a contract for the Knights, Budaza has been tipped to have a solid domestic season. The left-hand quick has not yet hit his stride in the Africa T20 only taking three wickets so far, but will look to impress when the semis kick off on Friday.
The semis get on the way on Friday with the first game between Zimbabwe and Eastern Province starting at 09:45 and the second match between Northern Cape and North West starting at 13:30 all teams looking to play in the final which will take place on Sunday.
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