Cameron Delport helps KZN Inland Tuskers maul Rhinos in T20 KO
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The Tuskers showed the new Mpumalanga Rhinos no mercy, charging to the first bonus point win of the T20 Knock Out competition, thanks to an aggressive half century from Cameron Delport.
The Rhinos’ inexperience showed in a one-sided affair between the Division Two teams in Pool B, with the Mpumalanga outfit struggling in all facets after choosing to bat first at the Mangaung Oval.
Of their starting team, only Ruben Hermann with 17 and skipper Luvuyo Nkese with 11, have been capped more than 10 times. Tuskers captain, Delport has made more half centuries - 30 - in his much travelled career. The Rhinos know they are likely to be also-rans in this Pool, but the experience from playing against players, some with international experience, will be crucial in their development.
Hermann top scored for Mpumalanga making 32 off 31 balls with Jarred Alder the next best scoring 26 off 28 balls. Hermann gained much of his experience while on the fringes with the Titans franchise in the last couple of seasons, and it was clear from Tuesday’s match that much of their run-scoring this season, whatever the format, will be dependent on the 24 year old wicket-keeper batsman.
Besides Delport, the KZN-Inland outfit has a handful of players with experience from the now defunct franchise system. Keith Dudgeon and Kyle Nipper had stints in the Dolphins team and showed the necessary street-smarts to put pressure on the Rhinos early with the ball.
Nipper picked up 2/18, while right arm medium paceman, Gareth Dukes finished with the same figures in three overs.
For the Tuskers the run chase was all about securing a bonus point - achieved if the chasing team gets to the required target within 16 overs - and once Delport had smashed 20 off the first over and then scored 22 of the 23 runs made in the fourth, that extra point was a formality.
He finished on 74 not out off 40 balls, striking eight fours and four sixes as the Tuskers got home with 42 balls to spare.
The Tuskers play the Knights in the opening match on Wednesday morning at 10am. Following that the Rhinos play the Titans at 2.30pm.
Mpumalanga Rhinos 112/8 (Rubin Hermann 32, Jarred Alder 26, Kyle Nipper 2/18, Gareth Dukes 2/18)
HollywoodBets (KZN-Inland) Tuskers 113/3 (Cameron Delport 72*, Michael Erlank 16, Blake Schraader 2/21, Jon Hinrichsen 1/25)
Tuskers won by 7 wickets