Outstanding returns by David Wiese and Morne Morkel helped the Tshwane Spartans book a ticket to the Mzansi Super League final at the expense of the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants after they won the qualifier by 22 runs in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
There was also a vital unbeaten innings of 48 off 32 balls by Pite van Biljon that helped provide the visitors with some late runs when they batted, before their bowlers delivered a telling display at St. George’s Park.
All-rounder Wiese, playing his first match of MSL 2.0, contributed 31 with the bat and then claimed three for 30, while Morkel took two for 22 as the home side were restricted to 144 for eight in pursuit of 167.
That left them well short and handed Tshwane a place in Monday’s Reconciliation Day Final against the Paarl Rocks at Boland Park.
And they were full value for their win in the Eastern Cape, where they were asked to bat first after losing the toss.
There was no explosive start by the away side as Dean Elgar fell early to Mthiwekhaya Nabe (2/24) for 14.
AB de Villiers plundered 27 off 15 balls, before he was next to fall to the same bowler, before Heinrich Klaasen (9) and Tony de Zorzi (26) quickly followed.
That left the Spartans precariously placed at 79 for four in the 12th over.
But Van Biljon and Wiese exploded from there as they added an impressive unbroken 87-run partnership in the remaining overs to propel their side to a competitive 166 for four.
Despite the loss of some early wickets, the Giants still made steady progress thanks to their star Australian batsman, Ben Dunk.
They reached 50 for two in the seventh over, before two game-changing moments.
First the competition’s top-scoring batsman, who made 35, was run out via a precise Van Biljon direct hit and then Roelof van der Merwe claimed a brilliant low catch to send Heino Kuhn on his way for five.
It was suddenly 57 for four and the chase got even harder after Marco Marais (11) dragged on not long after.
Ryan ten Doeschate (26) and Chris Morris (42 off 23 balls) did their best to try to stay in touch, but the run rate grew and with it the Spartans’ confidence as they closed out a solid win.