South Australia kept their unbeaten record in the Champions League Twenty20 intact in Johannesburg yesterday and Michael Klinger, their captain, could not have been more delighted. "We batted really well to get into that position," Klinger said after a 15-run victory over Guyana - who were heading home after their fourth and final defeat.
"A win is a win, and four from four, we could not have asked for more." said Klinger. "[Fast bowler Shaun] Tait will be back for the semis which is very good for us. We want to continue doing the little things right in the semis." Callum Ferguson, who hit four fours and two sixes in a 37-ball 55 for South Australia, was also looking forward to the semi-finals later this week. "Momentum is a huge thing in T20, and the fact that we could get the platform for the hitters to come in in the end overs, that matters a lot," said Ferguson.
"The first few games the top order did a really good job. Now the middle order has done well. We feel ready for the semis." Ramnaresh Sarwan, the Guyana captain who was top scorer in the match with 70, took some consolation from his team's fighting performance. "We played well today and showed what we are capable of," said Sarwan. "Unfortunately, we could not win though. We need to build on this."
Sarwan's knock, his highest score in the shortest version of the game, finally brought some fight to Guyana's ranks but he lacked enough support as his side fell short of the Redbacks' 191 for six. Ferguson, whose half-century was the mainstay of the Australian side's innings, receiving good support from Cameron Borgas (48) to help set what proved to be a match-winning total for the already Redbacks, who had already qualified for the semi-finals.
They were dealt an early blow, though, when Daniel Harris (five) played on from Paul Wintz (two for 11). Klinger and Graham Manou looked to be leading a recovery until they fell in quick succession. But a half-century partnership from Borgas and Ferguson put the Australians back on track as they reached 100 in the 14th over. The pair put on 88 before the stand was broken when Borgas was bowled by Assad Fudadin.
Ferguson continued to look sharp, raising his 50 from 33 balls before falling, but Daniel Christian (23) and Tom Cooper (13) ensured there was a flourish at the end. Despite the loss of Travis Dowlin (two) in the second over, Richard Ramdeen gave the West Indians an encouraging start with a quickfire 35 before he perished. Sarwan and Steven Jacobs (32) kept the momentum going with a 33-ball 56 partnership that took the score to 108 after 13.
But the loss of Jacobs, followed by that of Christopher Barnwell in the space of five balls, spelt the end for Guyana, although their skipper did his best to keep them in the hunt with his 70 coming from 46 balls. * Agencies