The Paarl Rocks made an impressive early statement in the Mzansi Super League with a comprehensive and clinical 86-run win over the Cape Town Blitz in a picturesque Paarl on Sunday.
On a somewhat sluggish surface, the home side were indebted to a calm Dwaine Pretorius (39 off 26) and a late flourish by Sibonelo Makhanya – who smashed 16 off 8 at the death – to reach a highly competitive 170/8.
The two men prevented their side from thoroughly wasting a magnificent platform, having reached 107/2 in the 11th over.
The skillful left-arm spin of George Linde, who took 3/23, was a sign of things to come as the Blitz hauled themselves back into contention.
But the pace of Hardus Viljoen (2/9) immediately undermined the Blitz’s reply, who simply couldn’t repeat their batting heroics from the opening game at the Wanderers.
As the Rocks became increasingly strokeless, Tabraiz Shamsi ran through the lower order to claim 3/16 as the hosts slumped to a depressing 84.
Batsman of the game
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis looked a class above the rest in an attacking and entertaining 38 off just 20 deliveries, an innings punctuated by four sixes.
It felt like a real waste when the experienced stroke-maker was run out, after chancing his arm on a second run to deep midwicket.
His partnership with the evergreen 39-year-old Henry Davids (38 off 26), a local from nearby Pniel, was fun to watch.
Bowler of the game
Shamsi didn’t have to bowl to any top order batsmen, but he still utilised the platform laid by Viljoen and co superbly.
There was guile and a hint of turn from a player with definite X-factor as he bamboozled his opponents.
Bjorn Fortuin’s fine grab at backward point to dismiss Quinton de Kock was pivotal.
The Blitz rely heavily on their captain to get things going with the bat and looked in control in hitting three fours in his 14.
He probably could’ve left Viljoen’s iffy delivery wide of off, but it still required some great skill by Fortuin.
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