Qaasim Adams scored an excellent 50 to help Northerns become the inaugural champions of the Africa T20 series, beating KwaZulu-Natal Inland by seven wickets at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning.
He came in when Northerns were labouring at 25-3 off six overs, chasing a target of just 104, but he and Theunis de Bruyn steadied the ship and cruised to victory with 12 balls to spare.
The Natal team had won the toss and elected to bat, but were restricted to a woefully inadequate total by some excellent bowling by Rowan Richards and Alfred Mothoa.
In defence of that target, KZN-Inland may have harboured a flicker of hope when Mathew Pillans took the wickets of Henry Davids (16) and Lerato Kgoatle (7) within three balls, following the early dismissal of Aiden Markram (2).
But Adams and De Bruyn took their time, until the 13th over, when Adams decided to get the board moving with a four and a six off Sohail Mahmoud; an over which eventually cost 15 runs and broke the back of the chase.
De Bruyn went on to 26 off 30 balls (2×4) and Adams to a round 50 off 43 (6×4, 1×6).
Earlier Richards and Mothoa ripped through KZN- Inland’s top order to put them under huge pressure. Rowan started the slide by trapping captain SJ Erwee (0) with nine on the board in the second over; then Mothoa followed up by sending back Lefa Mosena (2) and Kyle Nipper (3) in consecutive overs.
But it was not only the strikes that did for Inland, but their inability to get the ball of the square. When the third wicket went down at 31, eight overs had be consumed: a run-rate of just under four.
Vaughn van Jaarsveld, hero of the semifinal with 61 when Inland beat Free State on Saturday, could not repeat his efforts and was bowled for 29 by the medium pace of Davids in the 10th over, with 49 on the board.
There was token resistance from Ruan Pretorius (25 off 20) and Sohail Mahmoud (28 off 29) but when Richards had Mahmoud caught behind in the 18th over, with just 93 runs secured, it was all but over. Richards ended with the brilliant figures of 3-11 off four overs and Mothoa 2-14 off two.