Free State’s eight-run win over Gauteng confirmed their position in the semi-finals of the Africa T20 Cup next Saturday, and gave them home-ground advantage.
Free State won the right to host the final by virtue of being the only one of the four host affiliates from the four pools to qualify for the knock-out phase.
The first semi-final will be between Northerns and KwaZulu-Natal while Free State will front up to KwaZulu-Natal Inland
The final will be played on Sunday.
It was a superb all-round effort by the Free State bowlers which enabled them to defend a weak total of 110 in the final match of the series.
Captain Patrick Botha used eight bowlers, and six of them picked up wickets, bowling out Gauteng for 102. Only Devon Conway showed any resistance, scoring 42 off 51 balls (5×4), while wickets tumbled around him. Keith Dudgeon, batting at seven was next best with 12, and the extras weighed in with 11.
Free State also struggled and their total was based on a third-wicket stand of 41 between Obus Pienaar and Botha (33 off 28). Pienaar went on to an unbeaten 42 off 48, with just one four and one six.
Earlier in the day, Kenya , playing only for pride, closed their tournament with a gritty one-run victory over South West Districts.
SWD, who beat Gauteng but lost to Free State in their other group clashes, won the toss and sent the Kenyans into bat, and it looked a good toss to win as wickets at regular intervals prevented Kenya from gaining any momentum.
Opener Irfan Karim’s 22 was as good as it got for the Kenyans, as Sybrand Engelbrecht and Siya Simetu got five wickets between them to bowl out Kenya for 119 in 18 overs.
Andrew Puttick and Luthando Mnyanda got off to an assured start, striking 61 off nine overs before Mnyanda departed for 29.
The chase slowed from there, however, as a bit of complacency crept in, with Engelbrecht stuttering to 22 off 30 balls. The wicket of Puttick (40 off 35 balls, 5×4, 1×6) off the last ball of the 14th over turned out to be a turning point and they were only able to score 35 runs in the last six overs in spite of losing only two more wickets. They needed eight off the last over but some great death bowling from Nelson Odhiambo prevented SWD from finding the boundary.