Henry Davids of the Paarl Rocks receives his Man of the Match award after their Mzansi Super League game against the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands Cricket Ground on Sunday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Forget what the doomsayers are saying around the rest of the country. The Mzansi Super League is a genuine product.

The entertainment served up by the Cape Town Blitz and Paarl Rocks at Newlands on Sunday afternoon was of the highest quality, with the Rocks taking home the spoils by just two runs to be crowned “Kings of the Cape” in MSL 2.0.

The fact that it was decided on the last ball added to the excitement, with the Blitz requiring four runs for victory. With the partisan home crowd baying for another big heave from Sisanda Magala, the burly all-rounder could only smear the ball down to Rocks captain Faf du Plessis on the long-off boundary.

Du Plessis ensured he covered the ground quickly and then fielded cleanly before throwing the ball back to bowler Isuru Udana, who took off the bails to set off raucous celebrations in the Rocks camp.

Uduna would have been the most relieved player on the field. The Sri Lankan international had a day to forget and virtually gift-wrapped the victory for the Rocks. Not only did he take a “wicket” with a no-ball, but delivered two wides and dropped a catch off his own bowling in the final over.

Fortunately it did not matter for the visitors, who had fought bravely throughout. Their initial 163/8 seemed 20 runs too light, particularly with no batsman being able to convert a solid start.

Henry Davids had laid the platform with 33-ball 48 (5x4, 1x6) before cameos from Faf du Plessis (21), James Vince (23) and Dwayne Pretorius (29) kept the scoreboard moving.

The Rocks’ batsmen could not evade the acrobatics of Wahab Riaz though. The Blitz’ Pakistan import pulled off two of the most astonishing catches Newlands has seen in a long while.

Riaz, fielding at long-off, initially misjudged a Du Plessis long strike but recovered before throwing himself aerially to his right to take a two-handed catch at full stretch. The #BlitzBridgade leapt up from their seats in applause.

The second catch was equally brilliant. Fielding at point on this occasion, Riaz back peddled and stuck out his right hand to take another blinder.

The Blitz were hoping to take his momentum into their batting effort and seemed well on track when Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan raced to 34 after four overs.

However, as Du Plessis said in the pre-match press conference “We must just get De Kock”, and that’s exactly what transpired after the Blitz lost their skipper for 23 off 17 balls.

Tabraiz Shamsi (2/26) and Bjorn Fortuin (2/20) are two high-quality spinners and are proving integral to the Rocks’ cause. The spin twins claimed 4/46 in tandem to squeeze the Blitz’ top-order with only Pakistan international Mohammed Nawaz (41 off 23 balls) and Vernon Philander (33 off 25 balls) keeping the home side in the game until the final over drama.


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