Dean Elgar made his highest T20 score as the Tshwane Spartans crushed the Paarl Rocks by eight wickets and five balls to spare in the Mzansi Super League 2.0 at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday.
The Proteas left-hander scored an unbeaten 88 from 60 balls, which included seven boundaries and two maximums, to lead the Spartans to 188 for two in reply to the Rocks’ 185 for six after Faf du Plessis had won the toss and decided to bat first.
Elgar’s innings was well-balanced, fluid and controlled throughout. Elgar, who was named man of the match, and fellow opener Theunis de Bruyn (42) set the tone for the chase as the pair registered the highest opening stand this season, as well as the highest opening stand for the Spartans, when they scored 104 off only 78 deliveries.
De Bruyn, who faced 33 deliveries, struck four boundaries in his knock which was given a life on 31 by Bjorn Fortuin, who dropped the tall right-hander at long-off from the bowling of Isuru Udana (3.1-0-39-0) but the miss proved to be not that expensive as Fortuin made amends by holding onto the next chance that came his way, this time off Kerwin Mungroo (4-0-42-1) at square-leg.
The dismissal of De Bruyn brought AB de Villiers to the crease and the crowd anticipated a flurry of runs but despite smashing Mungroo for a six, De Villiers fell soon afterwards, edging Tabraiz Shamsi (4-0-41-1) through to wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle for just 19.
Elgar and Heinrich Klaasen (31 not out) saw their side to victory with a speedy, unbeaten stand of 55 from 24 balls as the Spartans picked up their first victory of the season.
Earlier, Englishman James Vince scored his maiden MSL2.0 half century after only arriving in the country on Thursday evening. Vince faced 53 balls and struck eight fours and two maximums while dominating the sixth-wicket stand of 52 off 25 balls with Udana (14).
Henry Davids (30) and Cameron Delport (19) had given the home side a good start with an opening stand of 41 from 25 balls but the quick departures of Delport, caught by De Bruyn off South African born Tom Curran (4-0-44-1), Du Plessis (0) and Dwaine Pretorius (9), the Rocks lost momentum.
But Vince kept the scoreboard ticking, bringing up his first MSL fifty off 38 balls, while adding 38 runs off 28 balls for the fifth wicket with Mosehle (13) to give the Rocks a total that was worth defending.
Morne Morkel (4-0-24-2) used all his experience as the tall right-hander claimed the wickets of both Davids, given out caught behind off the arm and then Du Plessis, who flicked a ball to Donovan Ferreira on the leg side, while old-boy Roelof van der Merwe claimed 1-31.
The Spartans, who moved ahead of the Rocks into third on the log, head home to host the Durban Heat on Thursday while the Rocks, now fourth on the log, host the stuttering Jozi Stars here in Paarl next Friday.