“Oh no it’s raining again!” would have been the united cry of all North-West Dragons fans as their team was surely denied a place in the CSA Provincial T20 Knockout final by the weather in Kimberley on Thursday afternoon.
Having bowled superbly to restrict the much-fancied Free State Knights team to just 127 for seven in 19 overs, earlier rain having chopped an over off the innings, North-West openers Eben Botha (21* off 8) and Wesley Marshall (20* off 7) had smashed 42 runs off just 2.3 overs when the rain returned.
And unfortunately the showers were severe enough for the match to be called off with no result, North-West being left to ponder what might have been as they needed only another 88 runs off 99 balls with all 10 wickets intact for a place in Friday’s final against the KZN Dolphins.
Unfortunately for the Potchefstroom-based team, Free State advance instead due to them having a higher net run-rate in the tournament as a whole.
Free State had earlier elected to bat first, but struggled to 91 for six after 16 overs as North-West captain Nicky van den Bergh made use of his bowlers to pick up regular wickets, three of them falling to Eldred Hawken.
Paceman Chad Classen created the initial pressure by conceding just 17 runs in his four brilliant overs, and left-arm spinner Senuran Muthusamy then turned the screw with exceptional figures of two for 12 in his four overs.
Knights captain Pite van Biljon tried to hold the innings together with his 29, but it was only thanks to an incredible 29 not out off just 12 balls by Gerald Coetzee, after the first rain delay, that Free State made it to 127.
Given the blazing start North-West made to their innings though, it would surely not have been enough if the rain had not intervened.