North West crowned CSA One-Day Challenge Champs for first time

North West were crowned Cricket South Africa (CSA) Provincial One-Day Challenge champions for the first time after Janneman Malan and Wihan Lubbe helped script a 34-run win over Gauteng at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Highly-rated opener Malan struck his fourth List A half-century when he hit seven fours and six in a 99-ball 69 as the visitors posted 179 all out after winning the toss and batting.

All-rounder Lubbe then bagged a career-best three for 21 to help bowl out the host for 145 and seal a famous first win.

NW were bidding for a first-ever 50-over crown against a Gauteng side that were aiming for a third title and the Potchefstroom-based team would hardly have been confident at the halfway stage having been bowled out in 49.2 overs.

Apart from Malan, only two other players reached double figures. Captain Kagiso Rapulana hit 33 and Andre Malan made 17 with three wickets apiece for Kgaudisa Molefe (3/35) and Nandre Burger (3/37).

And the 2015/16 runners-up appeared to be heading for another silver medal when Gauteng cruised to 59 for two by the end of the 17th over thanks to Ryan Rickelton (20).

But Lubbe then struck – amongst his wickets were opener Rickelton and the key one of captain Dominic Hendricks for eight – as the home side dramatically lost their way.

They slid to 88 for six in no time and would have been rolled over even quicker had it not been for Ndumiso Mvelase’s 39 off 37 balls at the death.

He was last man out and ended as the top-scorer, while support for Lubbe came from Craig Alexander (2/32) and Bjorn Fortuin (2/27) with the Johannesburg-based side all out in 41.3 overs.