Efficient Warriors seal easy win over Wayamba
Juan Theron could do with a better nickname. He was anything but Rusty, taking two wickets in the first over of the match, and one in his first over back, hurting both Wayamba's start and comeback. On St George's Park's flat pitch, and with short boundaries, 154 proved to be a comfortable chase for an efficient Warriors side, who made it two in two for South African teams in Champions League Twenty20. The required run-rate, never a threatening proposition in the first place, fell under six in the 14th over.
Theron, with his efforts at the top and the end of the innings, provided the game-changing moments, reducing Wayamba to 2 for 2 and then ensuring only 43 came off the last six overs. Jeevantha Kulatunga, Wayamba's hard-hitting journeyman opener, counterattacked, scoring 49 off his team's first 69 runs, but missed support from the other end and the innings failed to get a fillip after he got out for 59, in the 15th over.
Warriors didn't need any solo heroics in the chase as Davey Jacobs, Colin Ingram, Justin Kreusch and Mark Boucher all made contributions. From the moment Ashwell Price walked across to the fifth ball of the innings and flicked it past midwicket for four, boundaries kept coming at the right times, either through improvisation or through correct hits straight down the ground.
After Prince's dismissal, Ingram and Jacobs added 52 risk-free runs in 34 legal deliveries. Left-hand batsman Ingram's high elbow and straight hits stood out, and so did Jacobs' square-cuts off Mendis. Those shots involved slight risk as Jacobs had to create room to those long hops. Two boundaries were followed by one that found its way through to the leg stump. Kreusch came in and hit the sixth and seventh balls he faced for boundaries through the on side. That brought the target down to 68 off 62, but a tight over from Rangana Herath produce a false stroke from Ingram.
Wayamba tried to create pressure, conceding just seven off the next two overs. With 54 required off seven overs, it seemed Wayamba were starting to slip their foot in the door. Kaushal Lokuarachchi then got one over too many, and Boucher slammed the door shut, hitting two massive sixes in a 21-run over.
A mark of the efficiency of Warriors's effort was that they hit seven sixes fewer than Wayamba, but played 17 fewer dot balls too. Kulatunga, though, was not responsible for the middling Wayamba innings, which got off to a poor start.
The Mahelas, Jayawardene and Udawatte, were both troubled by swing in the first over. Jayawardene edged the second ball he faced to second slip, Udawatte did the same to the third ball he faced but it fell short. He lobbed the next delivery, a short one, to midwicket, giving the Warriors a dream start. But Kulatunga was about to jolt them into action.
It started with a short and wide delivery from Lonwabo Tsotsobe. It was dealt with a powerful cut, with no effort to keep it down. Anything with a hint of width was going to be dealt with similarly. After two such boundaries, Tsotsobe overpitched, and was lofted straight down the ground. When he tried to cramp Kulatunga up with a short ball into his body, the pull shot nearly went out of the ground. Tsotsobe to Kulatunga: four balls, 18 runs, and Wayamba were 28 after 3.3 overs.
Kulatunga responded to the fall of his captain, Jehan Mubarak, with another counterattack, a six off Nicky Boje in the same over, taking Wayamba to 58 after nine overs. His solo received semblance of support from Kushal Perera, the left-hand wicketkeeper-batsman, who hit sweetly timed sixes in the 11th, 12th and 13th overs. Kulatunga responded with one in the 14th, taking Wayamba to 110, and a big score looked on the cards.
The game was about to turn, though. Tsotsobe earned a sense of redemption, removing Kulatunga with his first ball back. Theron came back too, getting Kushal with a slower ball. The two allrounders, Thisara Perera and Farveez Maharoof, holed out looking to hit Makhaya Ntini for sixes, and it was obvious then that Kulatunga's effort wouldn't be enough.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo