Jacobs, bowlers help Warriors outplay Victoria
Warriors 158 for 6 (Jacobs 59, Boucher 31, McDonald 2-22, Nannes 1-25, McKay 1-27) beat Victoria 130 for 9 (Hussey 29, Theron 3-22, Ntini 2-33) by 28 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Davey Jacobs began with a blitz filled with audacious enterprise, followed up with two sensational catches inside the circle, and finished off with perceptive bowling changes to lead Warriors to a 28-run win over pre-tournament favourite Victoria. Jacobs charged out of the blocks with 59 off 39 balls and, though his batsmen let him down, his bowlers responded in clinical fashion as Warriors became the first side to register two wins in the Champions League.
Pursuing a middling target of 159, Victoria held all the aces despite the early loss of Rob Quiney. Warriors had lost the momentum following Jacobs' assault in the Powerplay overs, and Brad Hodge was settling in to put the chase on course. And then Victoria ran into the one-man army for the second time in the match: in the fifth over, Jacobs back-pedalled furiously at mid-on before leaping up and back to pluck Hodge's mow that was headed to the boundary, reducing Victoria to 20 for 2 after 4.1 overs.
Aaron Finch tried to counterattack, launching the spinners for two sixes as things looked up, but Jacobs was not done. In the ninth over, he flew across from extra-cover towards wide mid-off to intercept Finch's carve in acrobatic fashion. With nine overs gone and the score 59 for 3, Victoria had seen enough of Jacobs for a lifetime.
David Hussey and Andrew McDonald searched desperately for an escape route. The Warriors bowlers, though, were not about to repeat the mistakes of their batsmen. Nicky Boje and Johan Botha, two of the best spinners to have emerged from South Africa, rose to the occasion with a series of tight overs as the pressure mounted.
Things tipped over in the last ball of the 14th over, Justin Kreusch pinging Hussey's stumps with a yorker. Rusty Theron effectively ended the game in the next over, removing McDonald and Matthew Wade as Victoria slunk to 94 for 6. The lower order did not come in the way as Theron and the remaining seamers hit the stumps with monotonous regularity as Victoria finished well short.
Right through the game, Jacobs sported the mentality of someone who knew he was up against a team with serious Twenty20 pedigree. He set the tone early in the piece, and came out throwing punches in all directions: after Dirk Nannes sprayed the first ball of the game down the leg side for four leg-byes, Jacobs drilled him through point, pulled uppishly past square-leg and punched on the up through the covers to loot 17 from the first over. Shane Harwood also began in wayward fashion and Jacobs crashed two more boundaries to pick 12 from the second.
Nannes' reworked lengths and Clint McKay's close-to-unpickable slower balls allowed Victoria to slip in two quiet overs before the mayhem resumed. Jacobs, who had initially bristled with nervous energy - on a couple of occasions, he had exposed all his stumps against Nannes operating at 145+ kph - settled down to play the bowling on merit. What followed was a series of explosive and well-placed cover-drives along the ground, as Harwood bled 31 from two overs. The Powerplay overs had gone for 62, and round one to Warriors.
With the field spreading out, Hussey resorted to Plan B - taking the pace off the ball - and it helped Victoria switch the momentum around. McKay, McDonald and John Hastings proved tougher to get away, and the pressure led to a run-out. Jacobs was caught short at the striker's end after responding late to Ashwell Prince's call for an impossible single.
Victoria had found an opening into Warriors' castle, and three overs later, they claimed full ownership. Prince could not compensate for the run-out, succumbing to a clumsy paddle-scoop off McDonald in the 11th; Colin Ingram holed out in the 12th; Justin Kreusch over-balanced in the 13th and Warriors had lost 4 for 35 in 39 balls following the Powerplay.
Mark Boucher and Johan Botha ensured the Warriors innings was not a complete failure and salvaged them to a fighting score. All the same, the dice was still loaded in Victoria's favour and a total of 159 should not have bothered their experienced line-up. However, one Warrior had completely different plans and that made all the difference.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at Cricinfo