Africa T20 Cup final: Free State v Hollywoodbets KwaZulu-Natal Inland


Free State and Hollywoodbets KZN Inland go head to head in the final of the Africa T20 Cup. 

Free State and KwaZulu-Natal Inland will head into Monday's final on the back of rather one-sided semi-finals against Namibia and Gauteng, respectively.

KwaZulu-Natal Inland have the dominance of Nduduzo Mfoza and Sarel Erwee to capitalise on, while Free State can compound and complete the momentum secured by Andries Gous and Karabo Mogotsi.

Free State v KwaZulu-Natal Inland | Monday, 25 September | Diamond Oval, Kimberley | 10:00 

Free State
Free State sport a hefty advantage, in that they played all their pool matches at the venue for the semi-final - and would have collected and detailed plenty of knowledge and insight about the conditions they'll encounter at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Monday. Comfortably triumphant over KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Namibia, they'll need the problems endured in defeat to Kenya rectified.

While they obviously won't begrudge the swashbuckling, unbeaten 166-run alliance between Gous and Mogotsi against Namibia, they might have wanted the rest of their batting order tested in a relatively challenging fixture. Sunday's centurion and his trusty sidekick, then, have placed plenty of responsibility on their shoulders for a repeat performance 24 hours later.

Neither side have any reason to make changes to their XI. Free State, in particular, will appreciate the consistency in personnel and selection gathered this month. However, they could have Keegan Petersen back in their ranks. The talented 24-year-old will be brimming with confidence on the back of a big century in the Sunfoil Series against the Cape Cobras - and eager to carry this fine first-class form into a big performance in the shortest format.

Hollywoodbets KwaZulu-Natal Inland
Opportunity knocks for KwaZulu-Natal Inland to achieve what they couldn't in 2015, when they were beaten by Northerns in the final. That fixture was lost due to the collective inadequacies of the middle order and a muddled approach from the bowling attack, which have largely been rectified since.

They boast the two highest totals - 170 for four and 166 for seven - in the 2017 edition of the fledgling T20 tournament. Their bowlers, spearheaded by Kerwin Mungroo and Gareth Dukes and well supported by Nduduzo Mfoza and Attie Maposa, have performed well collectively, too. The balance of the XI, indeed, seems right.

Mungroo's miserly economy in the semi-final was key, as was yet another brisk half-century from Sarel Erwee. The hard-hitting opener sports three consecutive half-tons in the competition so far - and a fourth will be in high demand on Monday. While KwaZulu-Natal Inland haven't quite been lulled into an over-reliance on him, it'll be interesting to see how the middle order responds if he fails.

Opting to bowl first after winning the toss proved the right choice for both captains in the semi-final and, a day later, choices shouldn't change. Scoreboard pressure hasn't really counted for much in a tournament characterised by confident pursuits of targets high and low.

Verdict: KwaZulu-Natal Inland
Even before the semi-finals, one could confidently surmise Free State and KwaZulu-Natal Inland would be Monday's finalists - and while it's a tight call - the latter seem the most equipped to go all the way.

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