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Ackerman, Alexander help North West roar into contention

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Marques Ackerman and Craig Alexander starred for North West as they bounced back from a disappointing day one of Africa T20 Cup Pool B by thrashing defending champions Eastern Province by 41 runs at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Left-hander Ackerman first played a critical role with the bat by rescuing his side from a catastrophic batting display to post a competitive 143/8.

After winning the toss and batting, the highest score by a home batsmen, bar the 21-year-old, was 16 and they had to rely heavily on his splendid career-best 74 (50 balls, 10 fours) to give themselves a chance.

Janneman Malan (16) and Kagiso Rapulana (14) were the only others to reach double figures after two wickets each from Anrich Nortje (2/22), debutant Jade de Klerk (2/26) and the outstanding Brad Dolley (2/14) – all three sending down four overs apiece.

It was then the Alexander show, with Johannes Diseko the excellent support act, as the reigning champions were shot out for 102 in 19.1 overs.

The former claimed an outstanding four for 11 in 3.1 overs, with the latter chipping in with three for 25.

Alexander had EP on the ropes from the first ball when he took out David White and then had opening partner Eddie Moore with the final delivery of the over – both men out for ducks inside the opening over.

Matthew Breetzke managed 30 and Solo Nqweni 37 not out, but it was not enough as the away side suffered a first loss since 2015.

The bonus-point win means NW now lead the pool ahead of the final round of games on Sunday. They are scheduled to play Gauteng, who are second, while EP will take on eta Northerns.