Paarl Rocks' Hardus Viljoen was named player of the match following their Mzansi Super League victory over the Cape Town Blitz at Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

PAARL - The Paarl Rocks really are the darlings of the Mzansi Super League. And it all starts with their passionate purple fan base that turn up at Boland Park ready for a party.

And on Sunday they were royally entertained with Faf du Plessis’s team crushing their noisy neighbours Cape Town Blitz.

The Rocks were simply better in every department. Even though their own innings fell away – the home side were 107/2 after 10.3 overs – they still had more than enough in the bank.

It really was a comedown for the Blitz batting unit after they had belted a record 213 at the Wanderers on Friday evening. However, here at the coast, the wickets are much slower and it requires greater application than simply hitting through the line. Especially against a Paarl Rocks bowling line-up hand picked for the conditions. 

Proteas T20 left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin (2/13) continues to enhance his reputation for being able to deliver in the Powerplay, while the rest of the Rocks bowlers took pace off the ball from the outset. The plan worked particularly well against the in-form Blitz openers Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock, who both fell to Hardus Viljoen. From thereon it was a struggle throughout with fellow Proteas T20 chinaman spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (3/16) delivering the knockout blows.

“We were excellent with the ball. We picked guys for a reason. All our bowlers were brilliant,” Du Plessis said. “Last year the expectation was that the wicket was going to play slow, but then it was an absolute road.

“I thought this year that we needed a bit more variety in our attack. Obviously we went with quite early with Hardus and then (Isuru) Udana offers you the left-arm option. Ferisco (Adams), you can see the skills that he has.”

The Blitz have a couple of days off to re-assess their plans, especially now that England World Cup winner Moeen Ali heads off to the Abu Dhabi T10 competition. The will, though, be enforced by the arrival of Pakistan duo Wahab Riaz and Asif Ali this week.

Ali’s arrival will be hugely beneficial for the Blitz as once again their middle-order failed to shape up.

“It was just a bad day at the office. A lot of our dismissals were quite soft. But I think as we go on, we will get better as a batting unit. Obviously we batted really well (against the Jozi Stars) but then today … hopefully we can find the consistency in the team.

“Their attack is really suited to the Boland wicket. They took pace off the ball with Bjorn. I didn’t think it would be that slow. They bowled really well, but if you want to play a consistently high standard of cricket we must learn and be better.”


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