Sisanda Magala’s outstanding death bowling played a key hand as the Warriors sealed a CSA T20 Challenge Final date with the bizhub Highveld Lions after beating the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras by 15 runs in their semi-final encounter in East London on Wednesday.
The seamer finished with two for 19 after the visitors appeared to have done enough to overhaul the hosts’ 172 for seven three-quarters of the way through the chase.
This after career-best efforts with both ball and bat by Rory Kleinveldt and David Bedingham, who took four for 33 and smashed 73 off 39 balls (7 fours, 4 sixes) respectively.
However, with just 51 needed off 43 balls and seven wickets still in hand, they lost their way horribly thanks to some tight bowling from Magala, aided by Lutho Sipamla (2/21) and Andrew Birch (2/37).
It meant the Eastern Cape franchise sealed a deserved place in what will be the final match of the franchise season against the Lions at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
However, the Cobras may rue a missed chance after they had their moments in an open game at Bufffalo Park.
The Cape side won the toss and opted to field first, but they were made to toil by another key performer for the Warriors – the rising young star Matthew Breetzke.
The former South Africa Under-19 opener struck 60 off 38 balls (3 fours, 4 sixes) and shared in a partnership of 69 with captain Jon-Jon Smuts (34) that laid the foundation for a competitive score.
That had left the home side on 90 for one at halfway, but Kleinveldt then pulled things backed brilliantly with his maiden four-for in his 163rd T20 game, which surpassed his previous best figures of three for 14 for Northampton against Warwickshire back in 2016.
Recently-capped Standard Bank Proteas wicketkeeper Sinethembe Qeshile did manage to get 35 off 21 late on to boost the total and set 173 for victory.
The Cobras made a flying start to their chase despite the early losses of key men like Janneman Malan (14) and JP Duminy (0) as Bedingham posted his best score in the format.
He took them to 112 for two in the 12th over – including smashing Smuts for four boundaries in a row – as the away side looked odds on for victory.
But Birch dismissed Bedingham and Smuts returned to send down a rare maiden in the 14th over as the pressure mounted.
Spinner Jade de Klerk (1/33) also finished his spell well with a wicket, before the pace bowlers turned the screw to squeeze out the Cobras and seal a famous win.