Border’s top order collapsed in sensational fashion, losing three wickets in the first nine balls of the African T20 Cup final against Gauteng in East London.
Border’s in-form opening pair of Marco Marais and Gihahn Cloete were looking to continue their fine Africa T20 Cup form after Gauteng sent them in to bat first.
Marais has been a sensation during the tournament, starting off with scores of 103 not out, 106 not out, 75 not out, 11 and 64 coming into the final. For his part, wicketkeeper-batsman Cloete has scored two forties and three twenties in the tournament, and their opening partnership has been the hallmark of the team’s success to date.
Gauteng’s Carmi le Roux dealt Border a bitter blow off the first ball of the innings, as he had Marais caught behind by wicketkeeper-captain Mangaliso Mosehle. Cloete was then caught by Mosehle off Nandre Burger off the first ball he faced, and Yaseen Vallie was run out off the very next ball for two as Border tumbled to 3-3 off nine balls.
Border skipper Jerry Nqolo fell to Burger for nine off eight balls, and Border were reeling at 17-4.
Christiaan Jonker weighed in with 37 off 23 balls (four fours, two sixes, S/R 160.86), but the saviour of the Border innings was Bamanye Xengxe. Playing only his fifth T20 match, Xengxe had yet to score a run in the format, having made a golden duck in his only previous T20 innings, against Eastern Province a few days earlier.
Batting at No 8, the 21-year-old played superbly to lift Border from despair at 67-7 to a vaguely defendable score of 130. Xengxe ended undefeated on 51 runs scored off just 34 balls, with three fours and two sixes (S/R 150.00) to make his mark on the final.
Burger bowled Basheeru-Deen Walters for a golden duck off the last ball of the 20 overs, which was the third golden duck of the innings and the fourth duck in total as Gauteng took a firm grip on the final.
Burger picked up 3-27 (econ 6.75) and 29-year-old Nono Pongolo was also superb with the ball, taking 3-20 off his four overs (econ 5.00).
Gauteng need to score at just over 6.5 runs to the over in their 20 overs, which should prove a cakewalk for their strong batting lineup, but it all depends on how much fight Border put up in the field.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images