Heinrich Klaasen played a match-winning innings to lead Northerns to victory in the final Pool A match of the Africa T20 Cup at Sahara Park Willowmoore on Sunday.
The victory also meant that Northerns qualified for the semi-final round to be played early next month.
Easterns appeared to have the match under control when Northerns went into the last seven overs needing a run rate of 11 to the over and Albie Morkel already back in the pavilion, having been needlessly run out going for a second run after being dropped off his initial scoring stroke.
But Klaasen, who recently led the SA Emerging Squad to a limited overs series win in Sri Lanka, proved more than equal to the occasion, smashing an unbeaten 73 off 39 balls with six fours and three sixes. ‘I knew we needed to have one really big over to get on track and make sure that we did not have too many to get in the final over,’ said Klaasen.
And that is exactly what he did as Northerns took 17 runs off the 18th over bowled by the luckless Grant Thomson, with Klaasen hitting three fours off successive balls. That took the target down to a very manageable 17 off 12 balls and then eight off the final over.
That final over was not without drama as his partner, Ruben Claassen, was run out off a wide and then Klaasen himself nearly got run out getting back on strike. He was helped by a no-ball from Vincent Moore which gave him a free hit which he pumped out of the ground to finish the contest with three balls to spare.
Rivaldo Moonsamy, who shared a partnership of 69 for the sixth wicket in six overs, also deserves a lot of credit as he rotated the strike with a run-a-ball innings to give Klaasen as much strike as possible.
If anybody deserved not to be on the losing side it was Thomson, who top-scored in both matches in which Easterns got on the field and was also excellent in the field and with the ball. Today’s effort produced 47 runs off 40 balls (three fours and two sixes) and enabled Easterns to post a target of 127 and for a long time it looked like being a match-winning contribution.