CAPE TOWN – AB de Villiers was expected to be the show-stopper, but instead it was a virtual unknown Pakistani and local rookie that stole the show for the Cape Town Blitz on the opening night of the Mzansi Super League on Friday.
De Villiers did not disappoint the 6 953-strong crowd that braved a chilly November evening at Newlands with a sparkling 59 off 30 balls.
It was, though, a lone hand for the Tshwane Spartans, as they were downed by 49 runs.
The night instead belonged to Muhammad Nawaz (59 off 37 balls) and Kyle Verreynne (53 not out off 34 balls).
The pair stroked two sparkling half-centuries to power the Cape Town Blitz to 180/4.
Their 100-run partnership in 9.2 overs for the fourth wicket, coupled with further cameos from Jason Smith (25 off 30 balls), Janneman Malan (19 off 12 balls) and George Linde (13 off four balls) provided too much scoreboard pressure for the visitors from up north.
While De Villiers was at the crease, the Spartans were always in the hunt. But the return of Ferisco “Ice-Man” Adams in the 15th over for the Blitz was the game-changer.
The Robertson-born seamer held his nerve, even after De Villiers blitzed him for six off the first ball off the over, to have “Mr 360” caught in the boundary.
WICKET! AB de Villiers is gone for 59!— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) November 16, 2018
Ferisco Adams digs it in, and De Villiers pulls it straight to Anrich Nortje on the square leg boundary - Nortje parries it up and claims the catch #MSLT20
Adams drove home the Blitz’ advantage even further the very next ball when he clean-bowled Rilee Rossouw for the Spartans to slip to 116/5.
There was no way back for Mark Boucher’s team after the double-strike, with the Blitz coasting to victory during the remaining overs to sketch yet another famous night in the storied old ground’s colourful history.@ZaahierAdams