Namibia Men’s captain Gerhard Erasmus led from the front as BA Blasting won the Richelieu Franchise T20 in Namibia. Quickfire fifties from Erasmus and Michiel du Preez helped BA Blasting post 200/7 in 20 overs. An unbeaten century by Divan la Cock went in vain as M&M Signs Strikers were beaten by 5 runs.
BA won the toss and elected to bat first in the final. Captain Erasmus got BA off to a fast start, but energetic fielding from the Strikers kept the opening exchanges even.
Steven Delport got the opening wicket of Gerhard van Rensburg in the 5th over, which brought Jan Loftie-Eaton to the crease. Loftie-Eaton was not able to reproduce his heroics from Saturday’s group stages where he made back to back unbeaten centuries. Instead he perished for 15 in the 9th over.
But Erasmus continued to score with ease. He brought up his 50 in the 9th over, and would hit 6 sixes in his 35-ball 69. His dismissal in the 12th over brought Karl Birkenstock to the crease, which briefly slowed the flow of runs.
Birkenstock, alongside batting partner du Preez, took the game to the bowlers in the closing stages. The 16th over went for 29 runs including 3 consecutive sixes for du Preez, who went on to bring up his fifty in 21 balls. A flurry of late wickets prevented further damage, but Blasting were able to close on 200/7.
With scores at the United ground particularly high, the chase was not out of reach of the Strikers. In fact, they had made over 200 the day before in a losing cause against Blasting.
The chase did not get off to a great start. Hard-hitting opening batter Nikolaas Davin was out in the first over to Birkenstock for 1. International teammate Steven Baard followed in the 3rd over for 13.
Lohan Lourens was also out before the end of the powerplay and it was left to Jan Frylinck and Divan la Cock to rebuild. The two were able to keep up with the rate and were 69/3 after 7 overs.
Two quick wickets to Erasmus and Bernard Scholtz left the score 73/5, and Blasting appeared to have one hand on the trophy. La Cock and new batting partner Renier Bosman scored slowly against the spin, and with 6 overs to go still needed 85.
At this point, la Cock unleashed an onslaught, taking 25 off the 17th to give Strikers some hope. Wickets fell around him, but la Cock was able to reach a century off 51 balls. 3 further sixes in the 19th left Strikers needing 16 off the last over.
La Cock hit the first ball for 6, before following it up with a single. The 3rd ball saw Nian Grober caught in the deep, though la Cock was able to regain the strike. However, he missed a wide yorker off the 4th ball. Needing 9 to win off 2, la Cock could only manage 3 runs. Whilst he finished with an exceptional 123 not out from 59 balls, Blasting won by 5.
Earlier in the day, M&M Signs Strikers eased past King Price Kings in the playoff. Batting first, KPK managed a sub-par 146 all out on the high scoring United ground. Steven Delport took 4/20 in 4 overs. 53 from Nikolaas Davin broke the back of the chase, and the Strikers were able to ease home in the 17th over for the loss of 3 wickets.
BA Blasting therefore take top honours in the Richelieu Franchise T20, with M&M Strikers, King Price Kings and MR24/7 taking 2nd, 3rd and 4th spot. The tournament, which was scheduled to run in March, was postponed after the first 8 games due to COVID-19, but has now been completed under relaxed protocols in Namibia.
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