WANDERERS won the Premier League T20 trophy after beating WHS Old Boys by six wickets in a thrilling final at the Wanderers field on Saturday.
With fortunes swaying to and fro throughout, Old Boys scored 138 for eight wickets in their 20 overs, but then dropped three catches as Wanderers reached the target with only two balls to spare.
The final had been in doubt after the semifinals were earlier cancelled due to waterlogged fields at United and Wanderers, but it was finally given the go ahead, after Wanderers' groundsman Wynand Louw did a great job to salvage the situation.
With Old Boys and Wanderers finishing on top of the log on points, they went straight to the final at the expense of their semifinal opponents, United and the defending T20 champions CCD Tigers.
Batting first, Old Boys lost the wicket of Zane Green early on for six, but Wimpie Viljoen revived their innings, scoring 33 off 29 balls (1x6, 3x4) before he was caught on the boundary off Bernard Scholtz' bowling.
Craig Williams joined Gerhard Erasmus and they put Old Boys in charge with a 43-run partnership off 30 balls.
Erasmus was the first to go, caught off Nicolaas Scholtz' bowling for 39 off 32 balls (2x6, 3x4), and with the total at 101 for three wickets with five overs remaining, Old Boys were well placed for a big score.
Wanderers, however, regained the initiative when Karl Birkenstock took two wickets in the 17th over, dismissing Malan Kruger for eight and Williams for 30 off 28 balls (2x6, 1x4), and with Ruben Trumpelmann and Divan La Cock both adding eight runs, Old Boys were restricted to 138 for eight wickets.
JJ Smit was Wanderers' best bowler, taking three wickets for 26 runs, while Birkenstock took 2/26.
Wanderers suffered an early blow when Niko Davin was out for a golden duck, but JP Kotze kept them on track with 22 off 16 balls (1x6, 3x4), and when Craig Williams dismissed JJ Smit for 10, Wanderers were struggling at 45 for three wickets.
Michau du Preez and Karl Birkenstock, however, revived Wanderers' innings with a 45-run partnership, before Gerhard Erasmus took a great diving catch to dismiss Birkenstock off Mauritius Ngupita's bowling for 30 off 23 balls (3x4), and with the total at 90/4 with seven overs to go it was still anyone's game.
Old Boys' task was not helped by some sloppy fielding as Du Preez was dropped twice and Jan Frylinck once and the pair went on to post an unbeaten 52-run partnership to take Wanderers to a tight victory with two balls remaining.
Du Preez was the mainstay of Wanderers' innings, scoring 45 not out off 50 balls (2x6, 1x4), while Frylinck was not out on 29 off 22 balls (1x6, 1x4).
For Old Boys, Mauritius Ngupita took two wickets for 28 runs and Craig Williams 2/26.
After the match, Wanderers captain Nicolaas Scholtz praised the groundsman, Wynand Louw, for preparing the pitch in difficult circumstances so that the match could take place.
"We were a bit worried that the final might not take place, because it was still a bit wet, but the groundsman did a fantastic job so hats off to him, and all the players agreed to the conditions to play," he said.
"WHS Old Boys against Wanderers is always a good contest and it once again went down to the wire in the last over and that's what cricket is all about," he added.
Scholtz paid special tribute to Du Preez and Frylinck for taking them to victory.
"Luckily we had Jan (Frylinck) and Michau (du Preez) in there at the end, because it was quite difficult to build a partnership, but they batted well and kept their nerve and took us home in the end," he said.