The wonderfully aggressive batting of the Free State Knights, led by Rilee Rossouw’s fiery century and the undimmed class of Farhaan Behardien, took them into the semi-finals of the CSA Provincial T20 Knockout Cup as they beat Western Province by just four runs in Kimberley on Tuesday.
Rossouw added 52 off 32 balls with Jacques Snyman (32) for the second wicket, but when Behardien (57 off 29) came to the crease, the Knights really cut loose as 130 runs were plundered off just 66 balls.
Prodigal son Rossouw reached his fabulous century and then hit the last two balls of the innings off fast bowler Nandre Burger for six to finish with 112 not out off just 55 deliveries, allowing Free State to post a massive 223 for three.
Western Province looked well out of the running as they stumbled to 90 for four at the halfway stage, but captain Wayne Parnell was in belligerent mood and kept them in the battle with the innings of his life.
The left-hander battered 80 not out off just 29 balls and took Migael Pretorius for 24 off the last over as Western Province astonishingly finished just one big blow short.
Ferreira, De Bruyn shine for Titans
In the other quarterfinal, Division II SWD would like to allege they are not far off the standard of the first division, but their fielding was appalling and four batsmen were run out as they lost to Northerns Titans.
Donovan Ferreira, an uncontracted 23-year-old, was the mainstay of the Northerns total of 192 for five, finishing with a feisty 55 not out off 29 balls, suggesting he might be the long-awaited replacement for Behardien.
Theunis de Bruyn showed his class at the top of the order with 48 off 33 deliveries, and Sibonelo Makhanya (26 off 18) and Aya Gqamane (21* off 10) supported Ferreira well.
SWD looked in the game while Leus du Plooy was blasting 55 off 33 balls; he and Hanno Kotze putting on 82 off 53 balls for the first wicket.
But three wickets fell in the ninth over of the innings, bowled by cunning left-arm spinner and skipper Aaron Phangiso, including Du Plooy being run out by a fine piece of fielding by Simon Harmer.
The rest of the SWD batting imploded, 10 wickets falling for just 56 runs in 11.4 overs, as the Northerns spinners held sway.
- The two other quarter finals will be played at the same venue on Wednesday.