Cape Town - Stiaan van Zyl and Jean Marais shared a century partnership to enable Boland to beat Border by 8 wickets with a bonus point to keep up the pressure on KwaZulu-Natal Inland at the top of Pool B at the Africa T20 Cup at Senwes Park on Saturday.
As things stand at the close of day two with all sides having played two of their three matches, KZN Inland top the log on 9 points, followed by Boland (5), Border (4) and North West who have yet to get off the mark.
The top three all have a mathematical chance of topping the log and qualifying for the semi-final and final round but realistically the last day will be between the top two. Boland will have to beat North West with a bonus point as KZN Inland have the advantage of winning the pool match between the two sides and hope that Border in turn beat the log leaders.
Van Zyl would have been expected to be a dominant force for Boland but Marais has turned out to be an inspired selection on the basis of one three-day and a single one-day match for Boland last season. He has made 90 runs in his two matches so far at a strike rate in the region of 110. He has a fine pedigree having represented Northerns in all the age groups before heading south to Stellenbosch.
He is an exciting talent of whom a great deal more is to be held. He is also no mug behind the stumps, pulling off a smart piece of stumping to get rid of Border’s in-form Daryll Brown.
Border’s top order looked as though they had learned the lessons from their errant batting display against North West when they won the toss against Boland put together a solid and enterprising, yet riskless, stands at the top of the order.
Gionne Koopman and Somila Seyibokwe put on 60 for the first wicket in 7.4 overs and then Seyibokwe and Clyde Fortuin added 51 for the second in 7.1 overs.
With a total of 102 on the board at the end of the 14th over and 9 wickets still intact the scene was set for Border to step up a gear and look for a total of 170. Fortuin clearly had that idea when he cleared the ropes against the spin of Neil Botha in the 15th over but was then dismissed going for another maximum in the same over.
This was the start of a disastrous collapse that saw Border lose 6 wickets for 14 runs in 25 balls and make a total of even 140 out of the question. The architects were the spin bowlers, Botha (3/32 including two wickets in 2 balls) and Robbie Peterson (1/23) while Tshepo Moreki and Ferisco Adams underlined their ability as death bowlers to make sure there was no runs spurt at the end.
Border’s cause was not helped by the run out of their top scorer, Seyibokwe (51 runs off 47 balls, 5 fours) by a direct hit.
It left them to defend a below-par total of 134 with their having to dismiss Boland for 107 to gain a bonus point.
Boland got their runs chase off to a perfect start thanks to Stiaan van Zyl and Jean Marais helping themselves to 23 runs off the third over bowled by Aya Gqamane. Van Zyl hit four boundaries off successive deliveries and there were also two no balls and a boundary to Marais.
The effect of this one over was to reduce the chase to a run a ball target and created the platform for Boland to get a bonus point as well. The half-century partnership followed in the sixth over and at the end of the power play they had 55 on the board without loss.
The pair went on to extend their partnership to 104 before Marais was needlessly run out by which time the match was finished as a contest and the bonus point was a certainty.