Durban Heat 129 for 6 (Morkel 26, Zondo 25, Sipamla 3-22) beat Tshwane Spartans 139 for 9 (Cloete 55, Abbott 4-27) by 10 runs (DLS method)
AB de Villiers warned before this game that Kingsmead was the type of ground where even he never really feels in. It rang true as batsmen from both teams struggled to impose themselves in a low-scoring, rain-reduced affair. It wasn't until Albie Morkel and Khaya Zondo came together in a rapid 40-run stand that Durban Heat found their way in pursuit of Tshwane Spartans' 139 for 9, and when the rain came down, Durban were seven ahead of the DLS par score. This soon translated into victory.
There were a couple of new faces on either side, with David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen having returned from Australia, and Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza turning up from national duty with Zimbabwe. But Morkel and Zondo aside, even the seasoned internationals - de Villiers included - were undone by a testing surface. Kyle Abbott collected 4 for 27, while Lutho Sipamla picked up 3 for 22, and might have got a couple more had the rain not brought the game to a premature end.
Coming together with the chase wobbling at 83 for 4 in the 13th over, Morkel and Zondo spanked six fours and three sixes in the space of three overs to push the home side well ahead of the par score. They were so far ahead that even Sipamla's dismissal of both men in the space of three deliveries was not enough to bring Spartans back into the match.
Sipamla had also started well, his third ball bringing a wild heave across the line and a thin edge off Morne van Wyk's bat. Van Wyk had launched Durban Heat's chase with a flurry of boundaries, taking four fours off Williams' second over. After he fell Heinrich Klaasen and Hashim Amla managed to tick over at just better than a run a ball. Jeevan Mendis upset the balance with the quick wickets of Klaasen and David Miller, but Spartans just didn't have enough runs to defend.
Spartans had been put in after Durban captain Morkel won the toss, and they lost three top order wickets inside the first half of an innings that never really get going amid regular wickets. Those strikes included the big one of de Villiers, who top-edged Keshav Maharaj with the breeze for the only six of the innings but then missed a reverse sweep to be pinned lbw for 10 by the same bowler.
At the other end, Gihahn Cloete rattled to his second successive fifty with a selection of big drives and mis-hits in testing conditions, but Spartans could only take 39 from the Powerplay. It wasn't until a 39-run stand between Cloete and Sikandar Raza that they were able to lay platform.
Raza endured a torrid time from Marchant de Lange, the fast bowler repeatedly targeting him with short pitched deliveries as he sought ways - sometimes ungainly - to survive and turn the strike over. Cloete went to a 37-ball fifty in the 14th over, but he and Raza then fell in successive overs as Spartans faded against Durban's pace attack.
Having got past Raza and Robbie Frylinck, Abbott closed things off by dismissing Rory Kleinveldt and Sean Williams in consecutive deliveries in the final over of the innings. His late strikes stopped any thoughts of a Spartans surge, ultimately keeping them to a total that set Durban Heat a gettable target amid the rain.