The Mzansi Super League finally made its way down to Port Elizabeth on Friday night, and the Nelson Mandela Giants ensured the home supporters left St George’s Park in high spirits after a commanding nine-wicket victory over the Durban Heat.
Captain Jon-Jon Smuts led from the front with a superb 62 not out off 52 balls, and the skipper had good support from fellow opener Marco Marais (42 off 38 balls).
Ben Duckett, though, completed the job with Smuts as the England international finished on 21 not out as the Giants passed the Heat’s paltry 127/6 with 131/1 in just 17.3 overs.
The batsmen’s job was made easier due to a sensational opening spell by Junior Dala (2/16) and Chris Morris (2/29).
The Giants’ new-ball pair were on the mark from the outset after Dala struck with the second ball of the innings, when he beat veteran opening batsman Morné van Wyk with pure pace.
The innings faltered further when Proteas all-rounder Morris struck two massive blows for the home team in his first over.
Heinrich Klaasen failed to capitalise on his promotion to No 3 when he drove Morris straight to Giants captain Smuts at short cover, before David Miller played all across full, straight delivery to be clean-bowled for a duck.
That left Morris on a hat trick and the Heat reeling on 10/3 after two overs.
They stuttered along to 37 in the eighth over before the Giants were among the wickets again, when Imran Tahir had national teammate Hashim Amla trapped lbw after Amla mistimed a sweep shot.
The Heat lower-order rallied with contributions from Khaya Zondo (26), Albie Morkel (28), Vernon Philander (26) and Keshav Maharaj (22 not out), but it was not enough to challenge the formidable Giants batting unit.
What a performance put in by Junior Dala! He is the @POWERADE Man of the Match getting 2 wickets for 16 runs WELL DONE! @JDala3 @NMB_Giants beat @durban_heat by 9 wickets.#MSLT20 pic.twitter.com/DF2Z8h02UF— Mzansi Super League 🔥 🇿🇦 🏏 (@MSL_T20) November 23, 2018