Dragons cling on to clinch final play-offs spot after thriller with Storm
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Johannesburg – Senuran Muthusamy’s smartly timed half century, proved the difference between the two teams in a gripping final Pool C match, that saw the Dragons qualify for the quarter-finals of the CSA Provincial T20 Knock Out competition on Sunday.
The North West’s stand-in skipper scored 62 not out off 38 balls, sharing a crucial 48-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Wesley Marshall, that kept the momentum of the Dragons innings going at crucial stage. However it was his finishing with the bat that was influential in the outcome.
Marshall dominated the first half of the innings with another muscular half-century, in which pounded the ball with great force through the field and on three occasions over it. That allowed the top order to simply bat around him, although it became too one-sided until Muthusamy arrived at the crease.
The former Dolphins player, who played two Tests against India in 2019, had started to share the boundary hitting burden, putting the Dragons on course for a substantial total.
Having played so many excellent shots in front of the wicket, Marshall produced a thoughtless stroke that changed the course of the innings. Trying to scoop Gumede over the vacant slip area, Marshall got into a dreadful tangle, and chipped the ball to Danie Rossouw, who took an easy catch at gully. Marshall ‘s 73 came of 47 balls, with six fours accompanying that trio of sixes.
The Dragons wobbled, losing three more wickets for the addition of eight runs in 15 balls.
Muthusamy saved the innings, following that collapse, biding his time until the last two overs, taking 17 runs off the 19th bowled by Kwezi Gumede, and 15 off the final over bowled by Grant Thomson.
The Storm struggled to stay in touch with the required run rate for the first half of their innings. Opener Danie Rossouw, who scored two half-centuries in the first couple of matches, made just 11, while the most experienced player in the side, Thomson was dismissed for only 14.
Jurie Snyman (33 off 21 balls) and Matthew Arnold (33 off 25 balls) turned the match back in Easterns’ favour with a 66-run partnership for the fifth wicket, as they took the attack to the Dragons’ spinners. However, they lacked the necessary street smarts when Muthusamy, desperately went back to his pacemen earlier than he wanted to with Snyman, leaving too much room and being bowled by Duan Jansen in the 15th over. Arnold chipped Chad Classen to long-on in the next over, to seemingly hand the initiative back to the Dragons.
However, more lusty hitting from Clayton August, who was not out with 26 off 16 balls, saw Easterns in with a chance of winning in the last over. Needing four off the last ball, an injured Tumelo Tlhokwe could only top edge a full toss and while his batting partner was desperate for a third run, which would have tied the match and set up a super over, Tlhokwe’s cramping legs wouldn’t allow him to run as fast as he wanted, handing North West the last spot in the play-offs.
North West Dragons 158/7 (Wesley Marshall 73, Senuran Muthusamy 62*, Jurie Snyman 3/16, Khwezi Gumede 2/46)
Eastern Storm 157/6 (Matthew Arnold 33, Jurie Snyman 33, Duan Jansen 3/27, Caleb Seleka 1/10)
Dragons won by 1 run
Quarterfinals (all matches to be played in Kimberley):
Oct 19: Six Gun Grill South Western Districts vs Multiply Titans; ITEC Knights vs Six Gun Grill Western Province
Oct 20: HollywoodBets Dolphins vs Gbet Warriors; North West Dragons vs Gbet Rocks