Mzansi Super League final extravaganza for Mother City
The final of the inaugural Mzansi Super League extravaganza will be played at Newlands in Cape Town after second-placed Jozi Stars were beaten at home by Paarl Rocks in a thrilling match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Faf du Plessis and Grant Thompson scored sparkling half centuries for Paarl Rocks to steer the side to a win over Jozi Stars, boosting their hopes of clinching a playoff spot.
Du Plessis (61 off 34) and Thompson (71 off 55 balls not out) put on a match-winning fourth-wicket partnership of more than 100 runs that laid the foundation for a successful run chase after the Stars could only make 170/6 in their 20 overs.
The Rocks won by six wickets with six balls to spare as they posted 172/4 to leave the Stars in second place on 24 points after nine matches.
The result means leaders Cape Town Blitz‚ who are six points ahead of the Stars with one pool match to play‚ have an unassailable lead on 30 points and will host the final even though they lost by six wickets to Durban Heat at Newlands in Sunday’s late game.
The Rocks moved to fourth place with 17 points and boosted their playoff chances.
Stars’ premier run-getters and openers Chris Gayle and Reeza Hendricks failed to get out of their blocks in a terrible batting display from the Johannesburg side, with only three batsmen reaching double figures.
After winning the toss and sending the hosts to bat‚ the Rocks got off to a convincing start with Kerwin Mungroo the pick of the bowlers as he removed Gayle and Hendricks to dim the Stars’ start. Mungroo‚ who conceded just 29 from his four overs‚ also dismissed Pete van Biljon.
Rassie van der Dussen came in with Stars having lost two early wickets and fought a lone battle with a half-century of his own. He scored 83 off 55 balls and had his captain, Dane Villas (23 off 23), for company to give their innings brief momentum.
But when Villas saw his middle stump flying off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamzi‚ Pete van Biljon (8 off 8) and Dan Christian (6 off 4) offered little resistance and were soon sent packing to bring to the crease Duanne Pretorious‚ whose 28 off 17 pushed the Stars’ total to 170/6.
The Rocks’ run chase started well and they raced to 19/1 after two overs before Olivier struck twice in quick succession to remove Aiden Markram (3 off 6) and Cameron Delport (15 off 9).
Du Plessis and Thompson came together for the fourth-wicket partnership and it was their stand that was vital to set up the win by six wickets with four balls to spare. Thompson finished with an impressive return of 71 off just 55 balls.