Last-wicket pair steer SA home
South Africa A 240 for 9 (Botha 54, Bosman 41, Harris 3-24) beat New Zealand A 239 for 8 (Sinclair 64, Marshall 56*, Rudolph 4-41) by 1 wicket
South Africa A's last pair of Thami Tsolekile and Garnett Kruger edged their team to a tense one-wicket win against New Zealand A as they gained the psychological advantage ahead of the final. South Africa were still 29 runs short of their target when Tyron Henderson was the ninth man out, but Tsolekile and Kruger held their nerve.
The match was a close fought encounter from the start as New Zealand recovered from the loss of both openers to the new ball through a stand of 92 between Mathew Sinclair and Peter Fulton, the captain. Loots Bosman broke the stand when he trapped Fulton lbw, then Sinclair became the first of four victims for Jacques Rudolph's legspin.
Sinclair's 64 came at better than a run-a-ball and Rudolph's success with the ball was an unexpected boost for South Africa. Rudolph, South Africa's captain, was once earmarked as haveing the potential to be a useful bowling option, but back injuries forced him to restrict the number of overs he sent down. However the skipper introduced himself as the sixth bowler and managed to stem the late-order quest for runs with three further wickets.
The latter stages of New Zealand's innings were held together by James Marshall, with a hardworking 56. He managed just a single boundary - a six - but worked the ball around and ran hard between the wickets as the ball grew softer.
South Africa also suffered a difficult start to their reply, slipping to 55 for 3 when Rudolph was unable to reproduce his bowling form with the bat - falling first ball to Iain O'Brien. Bosman was performing the anchor role before he was caught behind off Chris Harris - who was proving as difficult to score off as the South African slower bowlers.
With the innings in trouble at 122 for 7, and the pressure increasing, Jan Botha played a superbly paced innings, striking 54 off 45 balls and added 85 with Henderson. When both fell in quick succession the game was there for the taking for New Zealand, but Tsolekile and Kruger had other ideas.