The Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers has advanced to the Cricket South Africa Division 2 Limited over competition final in an afternoon of tension and drama when they reached a modest target of 152 with one wicket in hand within 40 overs – as required – to record a bonus point victory against the Eastern Cape Iinyathi at the Six Gun Grill Recreation Ground on Wednesday.
The Badgers will now travel to Pietermaritzburg where they will take on the Tuskers on the final on 28 December.
The Badgers who won the toss and opted to bowl immediately applied the pressure thanks to a clinical bowling display by the bowling department inspired by the experienced Basheeru Deen Walters – who excelled with figures of 4/26 (in 9.5 overs). He received good support from Keenan Vieira (2/26) and Sintu Majiza (2/25). Spinner, Sean Whitehead (0/16 in 10 overs), produced a superb economical bowling display. In addition, there were two direct hit run-out attempts from Hanno Kotze and Jhedli van Briesies as the Iinyathi was dismissed after 58.5 overs for 151. Joshua van Heerden, the leading runs scorer in the competition added 59 (95 balls, 4×4) and was involved in a 70 runs partnership for the 5 th wicket with Thomas Kaber (31) after the Iinyathi was 28/5 (in the 16 th over). Jade de Klerk added 33. Van Heerden had an outstanding tournament with the bat scoring 524 runs at an average of 262 with three hundreds and two half-centuries with a to score of 147.
The run chase of the Badgers never kicked on despite an opening stand of 61 between Mark Andrianatos 59 (119 balls; 1×6, 5×4) and Matthew Christensen (31 from 66 balls; 1×4). A brilliant spin bowling display by Thomas Kaber (5/43 in 10 overs) and Jade de Klerk (2/27 in 10 overs) had almost ruined the aspirations of the home team. When the Badgers lost their 9 th wicket at 133/9 after 37.5 overs the home side looked out of the match. Basheer Walters (15 from 10 balls which
includes a huge six) and Sintu Majiza however held their nerves and took the home side over the line after 39.5 overs.
The most significant achievement for the Badgers was that they reached the final without four of their key players namely Jean du Plessis, André Malan, Blayde Capell and Marcello Piedt. Two players from the Academy ranks Mark Andrianatos and Johan Smal were drafted into the line-up for the crucial fixture.