Northerns ended their Africa T20 Cup Pool B campaign on a high, despite being knocked out of the tournament.
The 2015 champions were stunned by Northern Cape in Oudtshoorn on Saturday, and Northern Cape’s huge 97-run win against Kenya earlier on Sunday allowed them to progress to the semi-finals at the expense of the favourites.
It’s been a campaign to forget for South Western Districts, who finished winless after a rained out game, a one-wicket loss to Kenya, and now the nine-run defeat to Northerns.
Northerns chose to bat, and two quick wickets fell thanks to Glenton Stuurman as Grant Thomson (2) and recent SA U19 captain Tony de Zorzi (5) departed early, but another former U19 captain in Aiden Markram (24) kept the scoreboard ticking with a 39-run stand with Heinrich Klaasen.
Klaasen might well finish as the tournament’s top run-scorer, as he followed up his 76 and 77 not out with 32. It was Thomas Kaber who got the Gauteng side to a fighting total with 43 off 32 balls, as they posted 133-6.
An encouraging but steady start followed in response from Niel Hornbuckle and Hanno Kotze who putt in 33 inside seven overs, but medium pacer Andrew Rasemene tore into the top order with an excellent spell that saw him take a wicket in each of his first three overs.
SWD were always in with a shout with 51 runs needed off the last five overs, but not even the experience and skill of Dane Vilas could get them over the line.
He plundered 37 off 31 balls, but when he was run out in the 18th over that signalled the end of their fight, falling nine runs short.
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