Cracker-jack Pro20 Weekend

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Forget London, Paris and New York, roll out the blue carpet and grab your hard hat because this weekend, starting tomorrow, Cape Town and Johannesburg will be hosting two of the most fashionable parties, the semi-finals of the Standard Bank Pro20 Series.

Tomorrow evening, the Nashua Cobras will display their fangs when they collide with the Fidentia Warriors in the first semi-final at Sahara Park, Newlands.

On Sunday, the action moves to the “concrete jungle”, Johannesburg, when the Highveld Lions will host the Nashua Titans at the Liberty Life Wanderers Stadium in the second semi-final.

The Warriors booked their entry ticket into the semi-finals by beating the Lions with an impressive six wickets last night at Buffalo Park, East London.

The Titans pulled off a double coup by securing the bonus point and rooted their semi-final berth when they cruised to a 40-run win against the Nashua Dolphins at Willowmoore Park, Benoni yesterday.

Formula 1 fans might be singing to the season opening speed-off in Australia this weekend, but hard hat fans will certainly be treated to faster, furious and louder cricket action.

The Lions and the Cobras qualified for the semi-finals prior to the conclusion of the round-robin stage after exhibiting some great wins.

They were not affected by the last minute rush to enter the final four knock-out stage experienced by the other four teams during the last week.

Captain Neil McKenzie and the pride finished in first place on the log with 16 points. They won four of their five matches with their only defeat coming yesterday at the hand of the Warriors.

They won their first two matches beating the Cobras and the Dolphins by two wickets each, they skinned the Eagles feathers by 8 wickets and showed force against the Titans winning by seven wickets last Friday at Liberty Life Wanderers.

The Cobras showed nerves against the Lions in their first match in Johannesburg but exhibited signs of confidence and enjoyment which resulted in wins against the Warriors (four wickets), Eagles (seven wickets) and the Titans (38 runs).

Prior to yesterday’s crucial matches, the Warriors were sitting in fifth place on the log with six points from four matches and thus had to win against the Lions to ensure further participation in the Series.

They lost their opening match to the Eagles by 61 runs, then had Mother Nature disrupt their second match against the Dolphins in East London – the match was abandoned due to rain – and they lost to the Cobras by four wickets.

Their two recent wins were against The Titans (five wickets) at Sahara Oval, St George’s and against the Lions by 6 wickets at Buffalo Park yesterday.

The Titans had the least chance of starring in the semi-finals having only collected four points from four matches and looked dead and buried until a resurrected performance yesterday, which saw them edge out the Dolphins by 40 runs.

After all the mathematical calculations and scientific equations leading to possible semi-final scenarios as to which teams would join the Cobras and the Lions, it has all come down to one mouth-watering Standard Bank Pro20 semi-final weekend.
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