University Sports South Africa (USSA) will play Sri Lanka Emerging in the final of the One-Day Triangular Series on Sunday after ousting South Africa Emerging by five wickets in what was an effective knock-out final round-robin game in Pretoria on Thursday.
Kabelo Sekhukhune’s measured 66 (96 balls, 9 fours) played a pivotal role in the result after it helped carry his side to their 182-run victory target with more than 15 overs to spare.
It was a third win for Kruger van Wyk’s charges and means they piped the more favoured SA side for a place in the deciding game.
Opener Sekhukhune was not the only man to shine, with the bowlers, headed by Gideon Peters (3/45), playing an equally important part by dismissing their opposition for just 181 in 34.1 overs.
USSA had won the toss and opted to bowl first, but the decision looked questionable early on after SA Emerging flew out of the blocks.
Led by their top-scorer Janneman Malan, who struck an attacking 68 off 63 balls (9 fours, 2 sixes), and Tony de Zorzi (15), Shukri Conrad’s side reached 62 for one in the 10th over and then 111 for two in the 20th over thanks to Raynard van Tonder’s 26.
But they lost their way horribly from there, slipping from 147 for three in the 28th over to their final total – a collapse of seven wickets for just 34 runs.
Peters was the chief destroyer with his three-for, while Shabir Mallie captured two for nine.
In a steady reply, man-of-the-match Sekhukhune kept his cool by taking his side to 101 for one and then 162 for two following partnerships of 65 with Neil Brand (43) for the second wicket and a stand of 61 with Rubin Hermann (27) for the third.
That took them to the brink, before some late blows by Marco Jansen (2/39), but it came too late to affect the result as USSA won with 94 balls to spare.
SA Emerging squad: Tony de Zorzi (Multiply Titans), Janneman Malan (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Raynard van Tonder (VKB Knights), Matthew Breetzke (Warriors), Wandile Makwetu (VKB Knights), Sinethemba Qeshile (Warriors), Sibonelo Makhanya (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Marco Jansen (VKB Knights), Tshepang Dithole (bizhub Highveld Lions), Tshepo Ndwandwa (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Tladi Bokako (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Nandre Burger (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Kyle Simmonds (Northerns), Jason Smith (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Dayyaan Galiem (Multiply Titans), Thando Ntini (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras).
Sun 14 Final USSA vs Sri Lanka Emerging (Tuks Oval)
Thu 18-Sun 21 1st Four Day Match South Africa Emerging vs Sri Lanka Emerging (Senwes Park)
Thu 25-Sun 28 2nd Four Day Match South Africa Emerging vs Sri Lanka Emerging (Tuks Oval)