Gauteng will meet Northerns in the final of the SAA Provincial One-Day Challenge after they defeated South Western Districts and Eastern Province in the semi-finals held on March 8. Gauteng thrashed South Western Districts by 209 runs while Northerns prevailed over Eastern Province by 15 runs.
Gauteng's massive win in Johannesburg was set up by opener Dane Vilas, who smashed an unbeaten 119 from 115 balls, including ten fours and two sixes, as he steered his team to a commanding 297 for 5. Warren Swan chipped in with 57 while wicketkeeper Matthew Harris (25 off 13) and Dumisa Makalima (47 off 22) provided the flourish at the end. The only bowler to end with respectable figures was Rudy Hillerman, who took 2 for 49 in eight overs.
Pursuing a stiff 298, South Western Districts struggled as left-arm spinner Jean Symes along with fast bowlers Yunus Keiller and Brian Mathebula shackled the visitors and bowled them out for 88 runs in 21 overs. Symes finished with 4 for 8 off 3.5 overs, while Keiller had 3 for 23 off his seven. Nigel Brouwers hit three sixes but fell for 26 as his side crashed to a 209-run loss
In the other semi-final in Port Elizabeth, Northerns scraped home in a low-scoring encounter. A tight bowling performance saw the Northerns, who chose to bat, restricted to 172 for 9. Shaun Liebisch scored almost a run-a-ball 60, but the rest of the batsmen were unable to find any run-scoring rhythm. Two run-outs in the 30th over didn't help the cause of the Northerns either.
Liebisch, though, sparked off his team-mates with the ball; he provided two vital breakthroughs when the Eastern Province top order were threatening to take the game away via building partnerships. Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso removed Nos 6-8 to finish with 3 for 31; wicketkeeper-batsman Sean Adair fought for 69 off 100, but was one of two scalps for medium-pacer Tumi Masekela.
Eastern Province were dismissed for 157 off 42.5 overs, 16 short of their target. Northerns will face Gauteng in the final on Wednesday.