You could not have asked for more thrilling finishes to the third legs of both semi-finals of the Standard Bank Pro20 Series. In both the encounters it was ultimately the Super Over that decided the finalists.
The Cape Cobras edged out the Dolphins after both teams scored 148 at Kingsmead. Allowed to pick three batsmen, the Dolphins opted for Sanath Jayasuriya and Johann Louw to open during the Super Over bowled by Charl Langeveldt. Langeveldt bowled Jayasuriya with his first ball and then conceded two runs and a wide before getting new man, Daryn Smit, caught at deep square-leg by JP Duminy.
Cobras, needing four runs to win, lost captain Graeme Smith, run out by Jayasuriya off the first ball of Alfonso Thomas' over. Herschelle Gibbs then took two runs off the second ball of the over before hitting a boundary through the covers to secure the victory.
The visitors faltered once Smith elected to bat, losing Gibbs in the second over of the day. But Smith and Duminy provided a good platform, putting on 50 off 44 balls for the second wicket before legspinner Smit bowled Smith.
Duminy then combined with Justin Ontong to put on 73 for the third wicket before Ontong was bowled by Thomas for 44 off 32 balls. Duminy continued bravely and soon brought up his half-century. He remained unbeaten on 53, hitting three boundaries and two sixes in his 46-ball innings.
The Dolphins' chase began poorly as they slumped to 11 for 3 in the fourth over with Langeveldt and Rory Kleinveldt doing the damage. A timely fourth-wicket stand between Hashim Amla (35) and Jon Kent (32) however revived the home fans' hopes.
But left-arm spinner Claude Henderson struck twice in the 13th over as Amla was caught at deep midwicket by Duminy, while Kent was stumped.
Louw and Smit then put on 39 runs for the seventh wicket in four overs, as the match headed for a fantastic climax. The Dolphins needed six to tie off the final ball of the last over, bowled by Vernon Philander, and it was Louw's mighty blow over long-on which helped level the scores. He remained not out on 48 off 26 balls, hitting four fours and two sixes.
The clash between the Eagles and Warriors in Port Elizabeth may have been low-scoring, but was never short of thrills. After all the excitement of the match being tied after both teams managed 97, left-arm seamer Jandre Coetzee's slower balls posed too many problems for the Warriors in the decisive over as Davey Jacobs, Robin Peterson and Craig Thyssen could manage just five singles between them.
Put in by Eagles captain Boeta Dippenaar, the Warriors' innings never got going - several of their experienced batsmen losing their cool and displaying inappropriate shot selection. CJD de Villiers was on song, bowling brilliantly to pick up 5 for 12, having starred with 4 for 14 in Sunday's washed out second leg.
De Villiers killed off any hopes the Warriors had of posting a competitive total in conditions that were helpful to the bowlers, and he was ably supported by Coetzee who finished with 3 for 19.
The Eagles looked to be easing towards the small target with Dippenaar and Dean Elgar managing the chase seemingly well. The two added 37 in seven overs to take the Eagles to 76 for 3 in the 17th over.
But Juan Theron bowled superbly at the death, having Dippenaar caught at midwicket for 15 and accounted for Ryan Bailey in the penultimate over. Wayne Parnell then had seven runs to defend in the final over and bowled superbly to ensure the tie.