UJ made 140/7 and Tuks 121/7. ou'd need the blankest of poker faces to predict this clash without showing any hint of uncertainty.
A face only the likes of Steve Waugh and a garden gnome are blessed with. It was the two leaders of the pack, the defending champions against the only unbeaten side in the tournament, it was Goliath versus Goliath and it didn’t disappoint. Squaring off at Senwes Park, UJ batted first and, anchored by Mohammed Cook, made Tuks' best laid bowling plans look foolish.
Cook kept the strike and faced the majority of deliveries. His partner, Delano Potgieter, would have been well chuffed. When Cook reached his fifty, Potgieter had only faced eight deliveries for seven runs.
The half-centurion was bowled the next ball after reaching the milestone, gone for 52. With Cook's heroics a thing of the past, Tuks managed to contain the flow of runs to greater effect. Ryan Rickelton (29) and Delano Potgieter (40) made telling knocks, whilst Vincent Moore was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.
Tuks were set a target of 140 to chase down and looked unfazed by the task ahead. Murray Coetzee took control of the strike as well as boundary opportunities. His opening partner, Matome Modiba, walked for a duck and Coetzee followed suit soon after, just with 23 runs more.
Evan Jones was runout, leaving it up to Sean Phillips and Gerry Pike to steer the ship. And that they did. With five overs to go Tuks were 86/3 needing 55 to win from 30 deliveries.
It was now or never. They called the Power Plus over in the 16th over on 93/6 and managed to elevate their score to only 103. A brilliant catch in the deep by Cook took care of Phillips for 28, and 35 runs were required from 12 balls.
Twenty-five was needed from the final over ... they lost three wickets to a hat-trick by Keith Dudgeon. UJ will face Tuks in the first semi-final at 09:00 on Saturday at Senwes Park. Tuks face the hosts Pukke in the second semi-final at 13:00.
Photo credit: Mario Van De Wall/SASPA