The Cape Town Blitz defeated the Jozi Stars to extend winning streak. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

JOHNNESBURG – So the Cape Town Blitz’s perfect start in the Mzansi Super League continues - played four, won four, two of this wins coming with a bonus point. Already, barely a week into the tournament, they’ve virtually confirmed a play-off spot. 

They dominated this encounter, widely billed as a battle between the quick bowlers in the respective attacks. And the outcome of that battle was summed up in one stat - the Jozi Stars had to use four different balls to complete the Blitz’s innings after three were hit out of the stadium. The Blitz used just one.

The Stars simply got their bowling plans wrong and then didn’t adjust properly until it was too late. The location of the pitch didn’t help the bowlers. It was to the far right as one looked from Long Room, making for an extremely short boundary towards the scoreboard. 

Blitz openers Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan deposited balls into and in one case over the adjacent block of flats. The Stars bowlers all struggled with their length, dropping far too many short allowing the Blitz batsmen to free their arms. 

Duanne Olivier of the Jozi Heat celebrates wicket of Dawid Malan of Cape Town Blitz during the 2018 Mzansi Super League T20 cricket match on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Duanne Olivier of the Jozi Heat celebrates wicket of Dawid Malan of Cape Town Blitz during the 2018 Mzansi Super League T20 cricket match on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

De Kock loved it. He’s been struggling for form of late at international level and perhaps this innings will help to get his season started. Not all the hitting was clean - it didn’t have to be when directing balls to the eastern terrace - but those slices of luck were put to good use in a thoroughly entertaining innings at what was once his home ground.  

He needed just 36 balls for his 74, smashing nine fours and five sixes sharing a partnership of 99 with Malan.

The 22 year old Malan showed some good maturity, initially happy to simply feed De Kock the strike, but once his more senior partner was out he took to the Stars attack with relish. A long hop from leg-spinner Eddie Leie was hammered onto and then over the roof of the neighbouring flats and another six, this time off Kagiso Rabada cleared the main scoreboard. 

It was Malan’s second half-century of the competition, a continuation of the good form he began the season with in the Four-Day series. 

All the Blitz bowlers, bar off-spinner Simon Harmer suffered, but given his status it was a really poor showing from Rabada. He conceded 45 runs in his first three overs, battling with line and length and generally, until his final over, he appeared a bit flat. That last over - the final one of the Blitz innings - went for just four runs, all the deliveries pitched in or near the block-hole, a lesson on where he should have bowled more. 

By contrast the Blitz bowlers kept short balls to a minimum. Most deliveries were fuller, demanding the Stars batsmen to drive, and when the short ball was used, it came as the surprise in the over. Dale Steyn picked up Ryan Rickelton’s wicket with a ball that cramped the batsman. Otherwise it was about keeping the ball full and straight for the Blitz. 

They outbowled the home team, with Anrich Nortje picking up three wickets while Steyn and Andile Phehlukwayo claimed two apiece. Left-arm spinner George Linde cleaned up the tail and finished with three wickets. 

Results:

Cape Town Blitz 198/5

Jozi Stars 136 all out

Blitz won by 62 runs

@shockerhess


IOL Sport

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