The Dolphins will play the Warriors and the Titans will clash with the Cobras in the semi-finals of the competition over the next two weeks. The latter three sealed their spots in the last week of group matches in the tournament played this week, while the Dolphins ensured they finished the round-robin stage in pole position.
The Warriors secured their final four spot on Wednesday with a six run win over the Lions in Port Elizabeth. It was a low-scoring encounter with the Warriors posting just 122. Davy Jacobs and Ashwell Prince started convincingly and when Jacobs was dismissed in the seventh over, the Warriors had 34 runs on the board. Jon-Jon Smuts' 26 was the only other score in the 20s as the rest of the order was strangled by the Lions bowling. Paul Harris claimed 2 for 26 and both Robbie Frylinck and Ethan O'Reilly conceded less than five runs an over.
The Lions would have fancied their chances but were immediately rocked by a double strike from Makhaya Ntini, who removed both Alviro Petersen and Jonathan Vandiar. Neil McKenzie was stumped off Nicky Boje without scoring and suddenly a collapse was brewing. Gulam Bodi and Zander de Bruyn appeared to have the wherewithal to take the Lions home but when they departed for 21 and 26 respectively, the spark in the chase was just about gone. Theron defended 17 off the last over, despite Alfonso Thomas smacking two boundaries.
The winning ways didn't stay with the Warriors and they went down by seven wickets to the Cobras in Cape Town on Friday. Ashwell Prince played a big knock, scoring 57 off 55 balls but the rest of the batsmen battled again. Charl Langeveldt and Johann Louw were difficult to hit around and Justin Kemp bowled a superb three overs for 11 runs, picking up the wicket of Prince.
The Warriors posted 126 and were unable to defend it this time, although they caused some flutters in the Cobras line-up when they plucked three early wickets in the Powerplay. Richard Levi, Dane Vilas and Herschelle Gibbs all fell cheaply but Owais Shah and Justin Ontong took the Cobras home. Shah scored 58 off 45 and Ontong 42 off 38 as they punished Garnet Kruger and Jon-Jon Smuts in particular, taking 42 runs off the pair's four overs. The Cobras eventually romped home with seven balls to spare.
The Titans stormed to the top of the table with a five-wicket win over the Knights in Centurion. Reeza Hendricks and Dean Elgar gave the Knights are solid start with 58 for the first wicket in nine overs. Hendricks top scored with 46 off 35 balls. He was dismissed by Andre Nel, who shared identical figures with Albie Morkel - 1 for 26 in four overs. Pierre Joubert did the rest of the damage for the Titans, with 3 for 23, including the wicket of the dangerous Johan van der Wath. The Knights posted 142 for 6.
The Titans were off to a brisk start, scoring 18 runs in two overs, but losing the wicket of Henry Davids. Quick contributions from Jacques Rudolph (22) and Roleof van der Merwe (21) took the Titans halfway to their target at the corresponding stage of the match. Dillon du Preez threatened to swing the match back in the Knights favour when he removed Rudolph and later, Farhaan Berhardien for 33. Morkel's big hitting was on display and his 46 off 30 balls gave the Titans a comfortable win with two overs to spare.
Sunday's match between the Dolphins and the Lions was a nothing game, which the Dolphins won by three wickets in Durban. The Lions chose to bat first and chalked up a respectable 156 for 3, with Alviro Petersen's 84 off 54 balls the top score. Gulam Bodi finally came good for his new franchise with 51 off 42 balls. Economical bowling from Kyle Abbott, who took 2 for 17 and Jon Kent, with 1 for 23 kept the Lions' line-up from going wild.
The Dolphins lost Devon Conway with the score on 1 at the end of the first over, but then Loots Bosman's 42 off 19 balls and Imraan Khan's 39 off 31 balls put them on course for the win. They almost lost their way when they lost five wickets for 44 runs, thanks in part to Alfonso Thomas' 2 for 42 but Daryn Smit saw them to victory with an unbeaten 12 off six balls.
Bowler of the week: Makhaya Ntini has had a rough return to domestic cricket since announcing his retirement but has two economical returns in his outings this week. He picked up 2 for 23 against the Lions and 1 for 15 against the Cobras.
Batsman of the week : Loots Bosman played a thunderous knock for the Dolphins against the Lions, with his 42 runs coming at an astounding strike of 221.05. The Dolphins had safely qualified for the semis, but the intent he showed in getting them back to the table was admirable.