January 3, 2001

Free State collapse handing victory to Border


A stunning collapse by Free State saw them bowled out for just 154, handing Border victory by 55 runs at Buffalo Park and giving them a bonus point for the comprehensive nature of their victory. At the same time, the defeat left Free State struggling to make the semi-finals.

An opening stand of 51 between Kosie Venter and Andrew Gait had made it seem as though the victory target of 210 in 45 overs would be a walk in the park, but once Venter played on to Tyron Henderson, the slide was on, with Border captain Pieter Strydom, who had endured some difficult moments off the field in 2000, playing the major role in knocking over the visitors with a return of three for 30, which earned him the man of the match award.

The left-arm spinner finished the match when he had his Free State counterpart, Gerard Brophy, stumped by wicketkeeper Ian Mitchell for 37, the top score in his team's disappointing run-chase. Strydom had earlier also accounted for Gait, who made 34, and Boeta Dippenaar, released from the national team for the second Test against Sri Lanka, but able to notch up just nine in this encounter.

From 91 for two, Free State lost their next six wickets for just 32 runs, ending their quest for what would have been a vital victory, and it was left to Brophy to play a futile lone hand at the end, before the visitors were bowled out in just 39 overs.

Earlier, the news had been better for them, with both opener Victor Mpitsang and second-change bowler Johan van der Wath performing admirably with the ball as Border were restricted to 209 for seven. Mpitsang, who has already played for the national team in this form of the game, took two of the first three wickets to fall, including that of Strydom for 25, on the way to a return of two for 24 from his nine overs.

Van der Wath was more expensive, but the 45 runs he conceded were counter-balanced by four wickets, giving him a career-best analysis in the competition exactly a week before his 23rd birthday.