Seven wickets from the spinners bowled the Northerns Titans to a 38-run victory over the Free State Knights in their CSA T20 Challenge semi-final in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.
A vastly-improved Knights attack meant the Titans could only score 158 from their 20 overs, compared to the record 271/3 they made just two days earlier.
Free State were well in the game on 92/3, having benefited from a bright start from openers Gihahn Cloete (21) and Jacques Snyman (33), but from the 15th over onwards it was one-way traffic as the Northerns spinners took control.
Five wickets were claimed in the space of 22 deliveries as the Knights crashed to 111/8, and they eventually closed on 120/8.
Left-arm spinner Neil Brand did the bulk of the damage with 3/24 from his four overs, but there was much pressure exerted from the other end as well, with orthodox left-armer Aaron Phangiso (3-0-16-1), off-spinner Simon Harmer (4-0-22-2) and leggie Dewald Brevis (3-0-15-1) all emerging from the match with excellent figures.
Coetzee roaring in
Northerns had elected to bat first, but with fast bowler Gerald Coetzee roaring in with impressive pace, the Knights turned their frustrations and humiliation from their previous meeting into redemption.
Coetzee roughed up their nemesis Brevis, and fellow quick Migael Pretorius then roared with delight as he had the prodigious talent caught at mid-on for just 9, trying to drive on the up.
Read more: Dewald Brevis — A prim & proper young man with a talent for batting destruction
It was a real arm-wrestle for the Titans, but Jiveshan Pillay scored a composed 33 off 24 balls, and the experienced Theunis de Bruyn (36 off 28) and Sibonelo Makhanya (45 off 34) shared a key partnership of 48 for the third wicket in 6.2 overs.
Coetzee (4-0-28-2) was outstanding in leading a Knights attack that was as smart as it was ferocious, with Mbulelo Budaza (4-0-22-1) and Alfred Mothoa (4-0-31-0) also impressive.
Off-spinner Jacques Snyman (3-0-17-1) was also hard to get away, but the Titans had given themselves enough of a total for their spinners to run rampant once again.
They will now play the winners of Wednesday night’s other semifinal, between defending champions Boland Rocks and the KZN Dolphins.
Read more: Rocks stun Titans to win T20 Challenge final