PRETORIUS AND SPINNERS STIFLE BLITZ
Dwaine Pretorius continued his outstanding Mzansi Super League (MSL) season with his fine all-round effort helping the Paarl Rocks climb to second on the table with a two-run win over rivals the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands on Sunday.
The Standard Bank Proteas all-rounder first blasted 29 off 16 balls to help the visitors post 163 for eight after they had lost the toss and were put into bat.
Pretorius, also the star of the last game, then claimed one for 22 in four overs and was supported brilliantly by Bjorn Fortuin (2/20) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2/26) as the hosts were restricted to 161 for nine.
It completed another important win for Faf du Plessis and his team – the four points propelling them to 15 points on the table, now two ahead of the Blitz, who have played a game more, and four behind the pace-setting Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.
The Rocks had won their last game on Friday when they beat the Jozi Stars in Paarl and they continued that good work in Cape Town to complete a perfect weekend.
It was a good game-all round for them, with Henry Davids (46 off 33 balls) and captain Du Plessis (21) giving them a good start with a 54-run stand following the early dismissal of Cameron Delport, out caught and bowled to Vernon Philander for eight.
After both set men fell in quick succession, England World Cup winner James Vince (23) and Pretorius carried their side forward with another strong partnership that lifted the total to 122 for three in the 14th.
Sisanda Magala (2/35) and Wahab Riaz (1/24) managed to pull things back at the death as the target was restricted to 164.
In reply, the early doubles by Fortuin and Shamsi meant the match looked over as a contest as early as the 11th over.
The pair took out Marques Ackerman (1), Janneman Malan (22), Liam Livingstone (8) and Asif Ali (13), while Quinton de Kock (23) fell to Hardus Viljoen (1/43) as the Blitz slipped to 69 for five.
A stand of 52 between Vernon Philander (33 off 25 balls) and top-scorer Mohammad Nawaz (41 off 23 balls) briefly raised the hopes of the home crowd.
In fact, the latter’s strong striking against Viljoen in the penultimate over when 14 runs came, left the equation at 12 off six balls.
But he fell from the first delivery of the last over bowled by Isuru Udana to all but end hopes, and even though Magala managed to bring things down further to four off one, Paarl held on to secure victory.