The Durban Heat won the match over the Spartans by 2 wickets. Photo: @MSL_T20 on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – A late assault from Albie Morkel kept this ‘dead rubber’ from petering out tamely on Tuesday night.

With the Heat needing 41 off the last three overs, Morkel hit 24 runs off the 18th over bowled by Rory Kleinveldt to rip the game from the grasp of the Spartans. It was a moment of sweet revenge for Morkel, who it is understood wasn’t very happy when he wasn’t picked up by the Spartans in the Mzansi Super League draft. He finished not out on 57 which came off 28 balls and included four fours and five sixes. 

There was some drama in the last over, and an otherwise brilliant over by Eldred Hawken was spoiled when the penultimate ball, saw him over step having had Kyle Abbott caught in the covers. Abbott hit the winning run off the next delivery. 

It was just the third the win for the Durban side in the competition, although the outcome had been rendered academic following the Paarl Rocks’ win with a bonus point over the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants earlier on Wednesday.  

Both these teams have disappointed for a variety of reasons. The Spartans have struggled to find the right balance with their starting team and as a result they lacked consistency while the Heat who many felt had the best draft, couldn’t find the right combinations at the top of the order and their batting was a problem for the first half of the tournament.

With nothing at stake the quality of the match suffered. The Heat in particular plumbed the depths in the field; dropping catches, missing the ball and produced needless overthrows. 

The Spartans meanwhile finally got to see something of the ‘real’ AB de Villiers. He admitted afterwards it was scratchy and he certainly had some good fortune - probably something he feels he deserves after some of the dismissals he’s had in the tournament. 

He was bowled off a no ball when he’d scored 22 by Abbott and thereafter let loose. A sign of his struggles in recent weeks came when he punched a beautiful cover drive and then seemed to offer thanks that the ball had finally come off the middle of his bat. 

He managed to middle a few more but it felt as if just as many also came off the outside and inside edge. But he ended up on 93 not out - he was dropped off the last ball of the innings by Khaya Zondo with the ball trickling for four in the process - having hit 11 fours and four sixes off 52 balls. 

Besides Morkel’s late heroics, the other high point of the match was De Villiers’ battle with leg-spinner Rashid Khan. The Afghan star probably won on points, beating De Villiers’ bat on a couple of occasions.

The lethargy that had afflicted their fielding affected the Heat’s batting too as they slumped to 21/4. However Morkel got them across the line and ensured much excitement for the crowd at the end. 

Results:

Tshwane Spartans 188/6

Durban Heat 189/8

Heat won by two wickets

@shockerhess


IOL Sport

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