February 11, 2001

Northerns ease into final as Border crash to 84 all out

Telford Vice - MWP

Northerns swept into the Standard Bank Cup final with an emphatic nine-wicket win over Border at Buffalo Park on Sunday which stood in sharp relief to the hard-fought first two legs of this semi-final.

Border crashed to a total of 84 in 31.3 overs on a slow but not unfriendly pitch, to which Northerns replied with 85 for one in 24.3.

In the final, the men in blue will take on either Natal or Eastern Province, who between Wednesday and next Sunday will stage their own best-of-three semi-final.

Border's hopes of reaching the championship match were wiped out in a total playing time of less than four hours. But perhaps they lost Sunday's match on Friday night, when Northerns showed remarkable chutzpah by overhauling Border's towering total of 271 for eight to square the series.

The psychological effects of that loss seemed to linger with the East Londoners on Sunday and most of their wickets tumbled through loose strokeplay rather than penetrative bowling.

The entire Border innings was mournful, but they probably nailed their coffin shut by losing the wickets of Mark Boucher, Pieter Strydom and Piet Botha for nine runs in the space of three overs.

Northerns' bowlers weren't complaining, with Greg Smith taking three for 15 off seven overs to claim the man-of-the match award. He and Steve Elworthy conceded 33 runs in 13 overs between them, and Pierre Joubert's return of one for 19 off nine ensured Border were not about to mount a comeback.

The country's hottest opening pair, Johan Myburgh and Jacques Rudolph, knocked off the first 50 runs of the nominal target before Myburgh was bowled by an off-cutter from Vasbert Drakes for 25 in the 14th over.

Rudolph, with 33 not out, and Martin van Jaarsveld, on 21, finished the job.