Nervy Warriors hold on to secure victory
The Chevrolet Warriors all but secured their place in the Twenty20 Champions League semi finals thanks to a nervy 6 wicket victory over the Central Stags who saw their hopes of reaching the knock out stages all but disappear.
Faced with a victory target of 176 the Warriors enjoyed an excellent start with Ashwell Prince and skipper Davey Jacobs sharing a fabulous opening partnership of 147 but a late order wobble saw the tension start to increase before Craig Thyssen cameo of 18 sealed the victory.
The pair smashed 9 fours and 8 sixes during an opening stand which lasted just 94 deliveries as the Stags bowlers were dispatched around St George's Park with ease.
Having seen the Warriors bowlers underperform Prince and Jacobs made no such mistake with the Warriors skipper setting the tone at the start of the run chase by smashing two boundaries off the first two deliveries bowled by Adam Milne.
The Stags bowlers had no answer to the onslaught with Doug Bracewell looking practically ineffective as he conceded 21 runs during the 4th over which saw him dispatched for two boundaries and two sixes by Jacobs.
Jacobs lead the way dispatching any length deliveries into the stands as he raced to an impressive half century from just 26 deliveries which he brought up with another mammoth six which went sailing over the deep backward square leg boundary.
The carnage continued with the runs flowing with ease as the boundary was peppered with fours and sixes as the Stags were unable to halt the Warriors impressive march to victory.
Having seen their partnership reach 100 the Warriors pushed on with Prince completing his own half century which came from a pedestrian like 36 balls as the home team enter the final stages of their innings which saw them need just 40 more runs from 7 overs.
The pair’s mammoth opening stand was finally ended in the 16th over when Jacobs (74) was caught by Michael Mason out on the long-on boundary after tried to hit Kieran Noema-Barnett for another six.
Having waited for over an hour in the dugout Colin Ingram’s time at the crease was ended quickly after he dragged a delivery from by Milne onto his own stumps to leave the Warriors 149-2.
Having taken two quick wickets the Stags started to show new urgency in the field as the run rate required had increased to 8.75 as the Warriors needing to score 27 more runs from 24 deliveries.
Amazingly Prince (64) quickly followed at the start of the 18th over before Thyssen steadied the nerves by dispatching Bracewell for a six and a boundary from his next two deliveries.
Mark Boucher entered the fray with a boundary from Bracewell’s penultimate delivery to leave the Warriors needing 9 runs from the last 12 deliveries and despite losing Thyssen (18) who had smashed Noema-Barnett for a six at the start of the 19th over the Warriors secured the victory.
Having won the toss the Stags decided to bat first but with overcast conditions in Port Elizabeth the Kiwi Twenty20 Champions got off to a poor start losing Peter Ingram who had faced just two deliveries before he was trapped LBW by Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
It was the second game in a row that Ingram had fallen in the first over but the Stags remained positive despite the lose with How dispatching Rusty Theron for three boundaries in the next over.
Tsotsobe faired no better in his next over conceding three more boundaries before Makhaya Ntini was smashed for a six over square leg by How who had now scored 31 runs from just 11 deliveries to help the Stags reach 40-1 after just 4 overs.
How’s partner, Brad Patton, who had been a spectator at the non stickers end since coming to the crease got into the action with a quick fire 24 before he was trapped LBW by Nicky Boje to end the Stags 2nd wicket partnership of 64.
Matthew Sinclair (6) quickly followed but Noema-Barnett played the perfect supporting role to his skipper as the pair shared a 4th wicket partnership of 100 as they looked to increase the run rate during the second half of the innings.
Noema-Barnett (53) enjoyed a cameo innings smashing a 33 ball half century which included 5 fours and 3 sixes as he picked up the gauntlet from a visibly tiring How who just missed out on a well deserved century.