Centurion - Good batting and tight bowling helped the Warriors take coach Russell Domingo’s dream of being the best franchise in the world a step further when they reached the final of the Champions League Twenty20 by beating the South Australian Redbacks by 30 runs at Centurion on Saturday.
Davy Jacobs and Colin Ingram set the Warriors on their winning way with a superb second wicket partnership of 104 off 70 balls, after Ashwell Prince fell to Shaun Tait off the second ball of the Warriors’ innings, when he was caught at first slip by Daniel Harris.
Jacobs said before the semi-final that the secret to success in Twenty20 cricket lay in the first six overs, either with bat or ball.
“Strike early and you put them under pressure, or with the bat, if you get off to a good start, you also put them under pressure,” he said.
Taking this to heart, he and Ingram, who has just been included in the Proteas one-day squad for the series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan, raced to their first 50 off just 29 balls, and their hundred partnership came up off 65. Aaron O’Brien conceded 18 runs off the second over, and was taken out of the attack, although when he came back, he went for just four more runs in his next two overs.
Jacobs, who has overtaken Redbacks captain Michael Klinger as leading runs-scorer in the CLT20, reached his half-century off 32 balls, including eight fours and a six. He fell in the 11th over, when he was caught and bowled by Daniel Harris for 61. Ingram was caught by Daniel Christian at deep backward square leg off Cullen Bailey for 46 off 35 balls.
The Warriors lost three more wickets, but 25 runs from Mark Boucher and a flurry of 22 off seven balls from Nicky Boje saw them post a very challenging total of 175 for six.
The Redbacks started as they meant to continue, with nine runs off the first over of their reply, but a superb over by Lonwabo Tsotsobe saw Harris and Klinger both traipsing back to the dug-out, Harris caught Boucher for eight and Klinger caught Johan Botha for 13 in the fourth over of the innings.
The South Australians never recovered from that setback and continued to lose wickets at regular intervals. The spin twins, Boje and Johan Botha, did an excellent job in keeping the Redbacks in check in the middle overs, and also took three wickets between them.
With the required run rate climbing inexorably, Tsotsobe added to the Redbacks’ difficulties when he ran Tom Cooper out for six, and Rusty Theron finished off a dream evening for the Eastern Cape side when he bowled Daniel Christian for 19 off the last ball of the match.
Callum Ferguson made a valiant attempt to rescue the Redbacks’ innings with 71 runs off 49 balls, and a fifth-wicket partnership of 84 with Christian, but the team that had won every pool match was outplayed by the Warriors, who will play the Chennai Super Kings in the final at the Wanderers on Sunday evening.