Nelson Mandela Bay Giants 143 for 9 (Marais 47, Mendis 4-22, Sipamla 3-29) beat Tshwane Spartans 35 for 3 (5.1 overs) by seven runs (DLS method)
The arrival of a highveld thunderstorm, and the threat of lightning that came with it, brought Tshwane Spartans' game against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at Centurion to a premature end with Giants seven runs ahead on DLS. Just as heavy, grey cloud rumbled over the ground Giants nipped out two Spartans wickets in three balls - including the prized scalp of AB de Villiers - to derail Spartans' chase just as five overs were completed and the umpires stopped play.
Giants had been kept to 143 for 9 by a clinical effort with the ball from Spartans, with Jeevan Mendis' legspinning variations proving too much for the middle order as he collected 4 for 22. Seamer Lutho Sipamla chipped in with 3 for 29, getting rid of Marco Marais for 47 and Chris Morris just as he set himself to cut loose in the final over, and were it not for the approaching weather, Spartans' chase should have been an easy one.
It had been predicted that rain would reach the ground at 4pm, but the clouds started to roll in much sooner and the early loss of Gihahn Cloete stalled Spartans' efforts to stay in touch with the DLS par. Even more troublesome were the quick dismissals of Tony de Zorzi and de Villiers moments before the game was stopped.
Struggling to pierce the cover field, de Zorzi edged a cut at Sisanda Magala in the fifth over, and with Spartans just behind the DLS par, Carmi le Roux struck the knockout blow with his first ball. De Villiers walked across his stumps, looking to attack the fine leg boundary, but le Roux beat his paddle with a full ball that struck his boot. It was a marginal call, and the ball may well have missed the off stump, but Umpire Bongani Jele upheld the appeal to set Spartans even further back.
Lightning had been visible to the south of the ground, and it has struck the floodlight towers during a domestic game at Centurion in the past so before another ball had been bowled, with player safety in mind, umpires Jele and Johan Cloete removed the players from the field.
The weather spoiled what had been an excellent day in the field for Spartans. Both Mendis and Sipamla found themselves on hat-tricks, and though neither completed the milestone Spartans never let Giants off the hook.
Giants captain Jon-Jon Smuts and fellow opener Marais had got their team off to a flier first up, but the opening stand was quickly snapped by Corbin Bosch, who has been picked up by Spartans as a replacement for the injured Lungi Ngidi. With his third ball, he found the top edge of Smuts' pull, and Mendis then got to work on the middle order.
Ben Duckett was stumped for 3, having wandered out of his crease looking for a single unaware that the ball had ricocheted off his body and rolled into wicketkeeper Cloete's gloves. In his next over, Mendis bowled Christiaan Jonker with an arm ball, and he ended his spell with the dismissals of Rudi Second and Sisanda Magala with consecutive balls.
With Spartans' bowlers tight on the yorker at the death, Sipamla returned to repeat the trick in his final over, getting rid of Morris and Tahir with successive deliveries to dent Giants' charge. He had also removed Marais three runs short of his fifty, and Giants stumbled a little to get to their total. Bad weather, and last-minute wickets, meant it was just enough.