KZN Inland comprehensively outplayed Gauteng in the T20 final to add the title to the CSA 50-over trophy it won in December.
Adding lustre to Inland’s T20 title is that the team had won it in the proverbial lion’s den, having had to travel to Johannesburg on Saturday. The team was cheered on by a bus-load of supporters who had left for Johannesburg in the early hours of the morning and despite a rather subdued reception by the hosts, Inland won the match before a ball was bowled.
At issue was the painstaking preparation ahead of the final, and the determination to add more silverware to the trophy cabinet.
Having won the toss, Inland elected to field and bundled out Gauteng for 127/7 in their 20 allotted overs through superb bowling by Craig Alexander (2/35), Graham Hume (1/20), Yusuf Abdulla (1/20), Mbasa Gqadushe (1/23) and Kyle Nipper (1/26).
The Inland batsmen were on fire – SJ Erwee smashed 35 in 18 balls that included six fours and one six, while top scorer Tyler Lortan’s 60 not out in 57 balls included five fours and three sixes. In essence, the home team had few answers to the aggressive batting with Matt Hulett (17) and Kyle Nipper (14) also contributing to Inland’s 8-wicket triumph, with 15 balls remaining.
The two limited over titles makes the 2013/14 season Inland’s most successful to date, and also emphatically states the KZN Inland Cricket Union’s case for full affiliation to Cricket South Africa,
In its congratulations to Inland for completing the double, CSA pointed out that the T20 triumph was decisive,.
“They have proved themselves worthy champions,” commented CSA CE Haroon Lorgat, “and, strikingly, they finished their campaigns like champions.
“KZN Inland’s achievement in winning two of the three semi-professional trophies as an associate member of CSA is a stand-out effort. Their top two batsmen, Matthew Hulett and Tyler Lortan, both had batting averages in the mid-40s which is outstanding in T20 cricket,” said Lorgat.
“They also possess one of the most versatile cricketers in the country in Mbasa Gqadushe, who kept wicket for most of the season in the three-day competition, and then turned out as the leading wicket-taker and also had the best economy rate in the T20 Challenge,” he said.