Janneman Malan, bowlers maintain Blitz's unbeaten run

Cape Town Blitz 175 for 6 (J Malan 57, Morris 3-32) beat Nelson Mandela Bay Giants 132 for 6 (Kuhn 55, Steyn 2-21) by 12 runs (D/L method)

Cape Town Blitz's bowlers rallied to defend a revised target of 145 against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to maintain their team's unbeaten run in the 2018-19 Mzansi Super League. With three wins in as many matches, Blitz are the only undefeated team in the competition, rising to 13 points, eight clear of the second-placed Jozi Stars.

Farhaan Behardien, the Blitz captain, had had little hesitation in electing to bat on what he sussed out to be a worn surface. Janneman Malan vindicated that decision, tearing into the Bay Giants attack with a 39-ball 57 that set the base for a competitive 175. In reply, Bay Giants were well behind the mark, at 49 for 2 in 8.4 overs, when floodlight failure resulted in a fifteen-minute break in play. With no provision of extra time to account for stoppages, four overs were slashed from the Bay Giants chase, leaving them with 96 to get in 44 balls.

Much of that early struggle by the Bay Giants was down to Dale Steyn, who turned back the clock to produce a fiery spell of fast bowling. Clocking speeds in the range of 85 to 90 miles per hour on a consistent basis, Steyn was incisive, and had the Bay Giants batsmen fretting against his pace. Steyn hit the deck hard, generated substantial bounce, hit razor sharp lines, and managed disconcerting movement off the deck. And the impact was felt immediately.

With his second ball, Steyn got Marco Marais into a tangle, and produced a leading edge, with the batsman playing half-heartedly across the line, to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps. That over from Steyn ended up being a wicket maiden. In his next, he foxed JJ Smuts with a slower one that the batsman tamely chipped back, with Steyn getting down sharply on the followthrough to snare it low in front. He then followed up with a short ball, fired in at full tilt, that spat up off the deck, and crashed into the helmet grille of Heino Kuhn. At the end of his second spell, Steyn had figures of 2-1-1-2. A top-edge over the slips in his next over resulted in the first boundary of Steyn's spell, but by the end of that over, the last of the Powerplay, Bay Giants had played out 19 dots.

Kuhn did well to ride the early storm, however, and in the first full over after the resumption, laid into Dane Piedt, cracking three fours and a six, making it the most expensive over of the match. Using quick feet and powerful arms, Kuhn scooped, slogged and reverse-swept Piedt to breathe life into the chase for the first time.

Thrown a lifeline when he was shelled at third man off Steyn on 42, Kuhn swatted the next ball through midwicket for four, and brought up his half-century off 32 balls. But an unfortunate run out, in another boundary-heavy 13th over, transferred the pressure back on Bay Giants. In the face of a mounting required rate, Hussain Talat's double-strike in the next over further tilted the scales in the favour of Blitz, who then made sure to avoid any more surprises.

As with the bat, Bay Giants struggled with the ball early on, failing to find the right length. They kept pitching it short to Malan, who was in an unrelenting mood and smashed two fours and a six off the first seven balls he faced. Ryan McLaren managed to hit a different length, but a full toss and a half-volley outside the off stump were hardly the need of the hour and were duly put away for boundaries. So dominant was Malan that de Kock had contributed only 6 to the first-wicket partnership when he stepped down and blindly swung to be stumped.

Phehlukwayo matched Malan's aggression, and the two continued to pinch timely boundaries as they settled into the ideal pace in their partnership of 49 in 37 balls. Having settled down courtesy some generous gifts from the Bay Giants bowlers, Malan collected his fifty with a full toss from Tahir that he chipped straight back over for four.

Malan and Phehlukwayo fell in successive overs - Malan trapped plumb in front by the left-arm spin of JJ Smuts and Phehlukwayo to a blinder from Aaron Phangiso at midwicket - but the platform laid by them was such that the brief cameos that followed lower down were sufficient to haul Blitz to a match-winning total.

Giants 2nd innings Partnerships

1st9JT SmutsM Marais
2nd4JT SmutsBM Duckett
3rd65HG KuhnBM Duckett
4th24HG KuhnC Jonker
5th2C JonkerCH Morris
6th0R McLarenC Jonker
7th28R McLarenRS Second

Mzansi Super League