A thrilling century by Wiaan Lubbe was not enough for North West to progress from Pool D in the Africa T20 Cup as Patrick Kruger’s 86 took Northern Cape to the brink of a semi-final berth thanks to a convincing eight-wicket win over Nigeria in Paarl on Saturday.
Kruger was in excellent form throughout his 49-ball innings, striking seven sixes and five fours along the way to seal victory with five overs to spare as his side moved to 14 points at the top of the group.
Their third win from three matches saw them chase down a target of 137 and left them three points ahead of North West, who have completed their games.
But they are four ahead of Boland – the team they will meet on Sunday and that needs to win with a bonus point to overhaul them.
The hosts won one and lost the other of their matches on the second day, first going down to NW and then overcoming the Nigerians.
In the first game, the Potchefstroom side were 11-run winners thanks to a fine unbeaten 68 (45 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes) by Nicky van den Bergh. It helped his side set 130 for six and, even though it was a very gettable score, Boland fell short to end on 119 for seven after Jovuan van Wyngaardt (2/14) and Migael Pretorius (2/23) shared four wickets.
The hosts bounced back when they played the Africans in the group, restricting them to 64 for eight after Kyle Simmonds excelled with two for seven, before they chased down 65 in just 5.2 overs.
North West also won their other game on the day by thumping Limpopo by 102 runs in a match that saw Lubbe record his maiden T20 century. The left-hander plundered an astonishing 11 sixes and five fours in his 102 off only 36 balls to help NW post 262 for four. Van den Bergh was also in rich form, blasting 74 (38 balls, 4 fours, 7 sixes).
It was the second highest score in the history of T20 cricket – only bettered by IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore and Australia when they made 263.
Limpopo replied with 160 all out to fall to a heavy loss.
POOL D FIXTURES – PAARL
Sunday, September 16
Limpopo v Nigeria, Eurolux Boland Park
Boland v Northern Cape, Eurolux Boland Park