The Pretoria Capitals became the first team in history to advance to the inaugural Betway SA20 Final with Rilee Rossouw and Eathan Bosch playing starring roles in a tense 29-run victory in the first semi-final against the Paarl Royals at the Wanderers.
Rossouw held the Capitals’ innings together with 56 off 41 balls as the table-toppers posted a competitive 153/8 after being inserted by the Royals.
It was a surface that was not conducive to fluent strokeplay and Rossouw had to restrain his natural attacking game after the Royals spinners Bjorn Fortuin (1/24) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2/19) had started well.
Royals all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo (3/29) maintained the pressure during the middle period, but Rossouw kept the scoreboard ticking over with a few timely boundaries.
At the interval the match was evenly-poised before opening bowler Bosch provided the Capitals with the perfect start.
Bosch (2/22) struck with the second delivery of the Royals innings when he removed England opener Jason Roy. But then Bosch delivered arguably the moment of the match when he clean bowled the in-form Jos Buttler (13) in his next over.
The Royals were 13/2 and faced an uphill battle from hereon. The challenge became even steeper when Rossouw utilised his golden arm to have Eoin Morgan (17) caught on the cover boundary.
The Boland Park-based side had one last hope though in the form of their skipper David Miller. While Miller was at the crease anything remained possible, especially when the equation was reduced to 30 runs off the final 12 balls with two wickets remaining.
However, the return of Anrich Nortje to the attack in the penultimate over saw to the demise of Miller (31) who was caught on the square-leg boundary before the tournament’s leading wicket-taker closed out the match when Colin Ingram claimed a brilliant catch off Shamsi to set off the Capitals’ celebrations.
The Capitals now wait for the winner of the second semi-final between Joburg Super Kings and Sunrisers Eastern Cape at Centurion on Thursday to see who they will face in Saturday’s showpiece at the Wanderers
image: Rilee Rossouw of Pretoria Capitals celebrates the wicket of Eoin Morgan of Paarl Royals (SA20/sportzpics)