Lerato Kgoatle lit up the CSA Provincial T20 Cup with a second century in four innings as Limpopo stole the headlines on the second day of action on Saturday.
The right-handed opener, who hit a career-best unbeaten 101 on the opening day of the 2019 competition on Friday, bettered that with a superb 114 (63 balls, 12 fours, 5 sixes) not out as the men from Polokwane won both their games to move into playoff contention from Pool C in Potchefstroom.
On a remarkable day for Limpopo Cricket, the 26-year-old also made a solid 41 earlier in the day to help his side stun hosts North West by seven wickets and also flatten Western Province by 10 wickets.
There were also key wins for Easterns and Northern Cape in the other two groups as the race for the semi-finals heated up.
The Benoni-based side are hosting Pool A and they were involved in two close games, one with a Super Over which they won, and another that they lost by 12 runs.
But the result of the group on day two came when Hollywoodbets KwaZulu-Natal Coastal defeated runaway leaders Northerns by 10 runs, meaning there was all to play for on the final day.
The Durbanites batted first and posted 172-5, thanks in the main to Prenelan Subrayen, who first made 35 not out off 25 balls and then took a miserly 1-19, as the Centurion-based team were kept to 162 -8. Daryn Dupavillon and T Ncgobo finished with 2-28 apiece.
KZN then narrowly missed out to Easterns after both teams tied at 138 apiece. The local side posted 19-0 in the extra six balls thanks to captain Grant Thomson’s two sixes off Dupavillon, while the visitors managed just 9-1.
Easterns had earlier thrown away a good position to be beaten by Gauteng. Imran Manack (4-14) and Khwezi Gumede (4-35) took eight wickets between them to keep their opponents to 150-9.
Matthew Arnold (70 not out off 47 balls, 6 fours, 3 sixes) took his team close, but Gauteng held on for a first win of the campaign.
The defending champions then lost their second match on the day, ensuring they would not be able to defend their title after losing by seven wickets to Free State. Raynard van Tonder (76 not out off 59 balls, 9 fours, 1 six) guiding the Bloemfontein side over the line.
With four points each, both teams are eliminated, though. Northerns (10), Easterns (9) and KZNC (8) all still have a chance of progressing.
Cody Chetty struck an unbeaten half-century (54 off 51 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) to help KwaZulu-Natal Inland move top of their pool with an important win over hosts Northern Cape in their first game at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.
But the men from Pietermaritzburg missed out on sealing their place in the playoffs when they later went down by four wickets to Boland.
Ferisco Adams crunched a brilliant seven sixes in an unbeaten 80 (39 balls, 4 fours) to guide the Paarl-based side to victory. NC did stay alive in the pool, when they bounced back to beat South Western Districts by 82 runs.
The match will be remembered for a sensational 117 off 58 balls, which included nine sixes and eight fours, by Jacques Snyman that powered the locals to 201-8.
Kagiso Mohale then took 4-15 to shoot out SWD for 119.
The Oudtshoorn team also lost to Eastern Province on the day, a match in which they could manage only 114-7 chasing 185. That score was built around 67 off 48 balls (7 fours, 3 sixes) by Marco Marais and Kelly Smuts’ 59 off 35 balls (4 fours, 4 sixes).
KZNI are in pole position to progress with 13 points, followed by Northern Cape (10) and EP (9). Boland (4) and SWD (0) have no chance.
Finally in Potch, Limpopo was the team that had set tongues wagging after they first overcame NW at Senwes Park.
The competition’s leading wicket-taker Alfred Mothoa took his tally to nine when he bagged 2-25 to help dismiss the home side for 146.
Andrew Rasemene was the pick of the bowlers with 3-32, while Thomas Hobson grabbed 2-19.
Kgoatle led the response with 41, but Andrea Agathangelou’s unbeaten 56 (34 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes) took Limpopo home with 10 balls to spare.
And the group leaders were even more ruthless in the second game, despite Andre Malan’s breezy 82 (56 balls, 12 fours, 1 six) not out setting Province up for a strong 168-4.
But Kgoatle lit up the university town when he and Ludwig Kaestner (42 off 33 balls) ensured that Limpopo responded with 169-0 to seal a massive bonus-point win in just 15.5 overs.
NW did enjoy a measure of revenge by thumping Mpumalanga by 44 runs – Katleho Leokaoke collecting 3-26 in the victory.
The losers in that game also had their day in the sun by surprising Border, who topped the group after the opening day, by 53 runs.
Justin Watson (4-16) and Siyabonga Mahima (4-33) were the stars for Mpumalanga, sharing eight wickets between them.
Limpopo (13) lead the table but have completed their four games. They are followed by North West (9), Border (9), Mpumalanga (5) and Western Province (0), who all play on Sunday.
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