The Cape Town Blitz, spurred on by half-centuries from Kyle Verreynne and Mohammad Nawaz and two critical wickets from Ferisco Adams, gave the home side a crushing 49-run victory over the more fancied Tshwane Spartans in the opening Mzansi Super League T20 match at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.
The Blitz, asked to bat first by AB de Villiers, posted a very competitive 180 for four thanks to Verreynne and Nawaz, who shared in a 100-run stand for the fourth wicket from just 58-deliveries. In reply, Adams claimed the wickets of De Villiers and Rilee Rossouw (15) off consecutive balls to turn the game on the head and put the home side in the driving seat.
De Villiers was looking in ominous form, having smashed five sixes and three boundaries to reach his half century off just 26 deliveries, was brilliantly caught by Anrich Nortje on the square-leg boundary off Adams (3.3-1-28-3) for 59. Rossouw was then clean-bowled the very next ball to leave the visitors on 116 for five in pursuit of 181.
But the platform had been laid by Verreynne (53 not out), who struck six boundaries and a six from only 34 balls, and Nawaz (59), who struck two sixes and seven boundaries from 43 deliveries, both registered their maiden T20 fifties to give the home side the lift they needed.
The Blitz lost their captain, Dawid Malan early for just five, trapped LBW by Andrew Birch (4-0-39-2) before his brother, Janneman (19) and Jason Smith (25) added 37 for the second wicket. But Robbie Frylinck (4-0-34-1) clean-bowled Janneman Malan and then Jeevan Mendis (4-0-29-1) bowled Smith to leave the home side on 64 for three.
But the Verreynne and Nawaz stand warmed the cool Cape Town air with some breathtaking strokes and innovation. Nawaz was finally out, caught on the long-off boundary by Lutho Sipamla off Birch but that did not stop the Blitz as George Linde waltzed in and struck one four and a six to end unbeaten on 13 from just four balls.
In reply, the Spartans lost Tony de Zorzi early, caught by Linde off Dane Piedt (3-0-15-1) for just four. Gihahn Cloete struggled against the pace of Nortje (4-0-21-1) and was finally caught by Adams off Malusi Siboto (3-0-13-1) for three from 13 deliveries.
But the men from Tshwane look set to make a challenge as Dean Elgar (32) and De Villiers set about making 43 runs for the third wicket from 30 balls before a brilliant piece of fielding by Linde (2-0-21-1) off his own bowling saw Elgar depart, after striking five fours.
De Villiers then really opened up as he and Rossouw added 46 runs off only 26 balls for the fourth wicket but then Adams, who had conceded 18 runs off his first over, returned to turn the tables on the Spartans and give the home side the edge they needed.
The Spartans were finally bowled out for 131, losing seven wickets for just 15 runs as the Blitz ran riot in front of their home fans. The Spartans now travel to Paarl to take on the Paarl Rocks on Sunday while the Blitz host the Durban Heat here at Newlands on Sunday.