An unbeaten 88 from Dean Elgar helped the Tshwane Spartans record the first win of their Mzansi Super League campaign in Paarl on Sunday.
Chasing a stiff target of 186 to win Elgar controlled the innings superbly and saw the Spartans home with five balls to spare.
Elgar is a Proteas Test regular but in recent seasons he has shown that he can also make a splash in the game’s shorter formats. He shared a 104-run opening partnership with fellow Proteas batsman Theunis de Bruyn that set up the chase for an enthralling finish.
The loss of De Bruyn and the failure of AB de Villiers to get going might have rocked the Spartans had it not been for Elgar’s steadying presence at the crease.
A brutal cameo from Heinrich Klaasen saw the Spartans seize the initiative and consign the Rocks. With two balls remaining in the penultimate over and 14 runs needed to Klaasen smashed successive sixes to take all the pressure off the Spartans on the home straight.
Englishman Vince puts Spartans bowlers to the sword
Earlier James Vince continued the fine form he showed with the Three Lions in the T20I series in New Zealand to help the Rocks post what looked a competitive total of 185/6.
The Rocks lost opener Cameron Delport (19) and skipper Faf du Plessis in the Powerplay but bounced back courtesy of Vince who had quite a job on his hands marshalling a batting lineup seemingly hellbent on collapse. Only Henry Davids (30) joined Vince in going beyond 20, though the lower order had the excuse of trying to give the innings a big finish.
Morne Morkel was the pick of the Spartans bowlers claiming the vital wickets of Du Plessis and Davids while conceding just 24 in his four overs.
Steyn powers Blitz past Heat
The Spartans own English recruit, Tom Curran, was among the wickets making the initial breakthrough when he drew a miscue from Delport.
Rocks up against it
The Rocks found themselves chasing the game thanks to the start engineered by Elgar and De Bruyn and though Tabraiz Shamsi gave them hope when he accounted for De Villiers at the outset of the sixteenth over, it was not meant to be.
The Spartans will host the Durban Heat outfit at Supersport Park in their next MSL T20 assignment on Thursday while the Rocks have to wait until Friday for the visit of the Jozi Stars.