Asif Ali and Dale Steyn extend Cape Town Blitz’s strong start

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Nov
17

Cape Town Blitz 174 for 6 (Ackerman 43, Asif Ali 43, Phehlukwayo 2-34) beat Durban Heat 164 for 7 (Lubbe 83, Steyn 2-23, Mahlokwana 2-26) by 10 runs

Before we get to what happened on the field in Durban, let’s take a moment to appreciate that something actually happened. After two washouts, at least two tornados and heavy rain for much of the last two-and-a-half weeks, Kingsmead was dry and cricket was played. The Heat weren’t able to give their home crowd a victory but provided ample entertainment, as they fell 11 runs short of a competitive target of 175.

Ackerman shows the Heat what they missed

Marques Ackerman was named the Kwa-Zulu Natal Cricket Union’s player of the year in May after his first summer in Durban in 2018-19. Still, he was not picked up by his home team, the Durban Heat, in the MSL draft, and he showed them what they are missing out on. Ackerman was the joint top-scorer in the Blitz innings, with 43 off 34 balls. The shot of his innings was a slog-sweep off his Dolphins team-mate Keshav Maharaj that went for six.

Bowl it wide

The Heat’s plan to limit the Blitz’s big-hitters was to bowl wide of off stump but it didn’t always work. They bowled nine wides in the innings, seven to Asif Ali, including three from Andile Phehlukwayo in his third over. Kyle Abbott controlled his line a little better, especially at the death. He only bowled one wide and his last two overs cost just 12 runs, to ensure the Blitz were kept under 175.

Chances gone begging

Wihan Lubbe‘s 83 held the Heat’s chase together but not without some luck. He sent the ball aerial several times and evaded Liam Livingstone twice. When he was on 25, Lubbe’s miscued pull off Sisanda Magala teased Livingstone at midwicket but landed safely, costing just one run, and then when he was on 44, Lubbe lashed out at Anrich Nortje and sent his shot to deep midwicket, where Livingstone ran to his left and stuck out one arm but couldn’t get his fingers to it and the shot went for four. Lubbe made his chances count and went on to add 39 more runs to his total and put Heat in a position to push for victory. Livingstone’s day didn’t get any better when he dropped Ravi Bopara in the final over, at deep point.

Right-arm, Left-arm

Ambidextrous Gregory Mahlokwana may be the find of the Blitz’s campaign and he showed off both his offspin and left-arm spin in Durban. Best of all, he was rewarded in both disciplines when he had Sarel Erwee caught at extra cover off an arm ball delivered with the right arm and switched to left-arm spin which he used to bowl Dane Vilas. Mahlokwana delivered it quicker, Vilas moved outside his leg stump to make room, and his middle stump was pegged back.

Steyn’s alive

Dale Steyn is still available to play for South Africa in white-ball cricket and is making a strong claim to be considered for next year’s T20 World Cup. He is the joint leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far with six sticks at 19.33 and stepped up when most needed in this match. Steyn accounted for the early wicket of Alex Hales, caught at mid-on for a duck, and the late breakthrough of Lubbe, who pulled to short fine leg, and finished with figures of 2 for 23 in his four overs. Steyn set up the win before Sisanda Magala defended 20 off the final over to put Blitz on top of the points’ table.

De Kock’s poker face

Phehlukwayo’s finishing skills made him the man who could take the Heat home, even though they needed 34 runs off the last three overs. They scored just six in the first five balls of the 18th over when Phehlulwayo tried to push for a second run off the last ball and was tricked into thinking he would get there. As Phehlukwayo ran towards the striker’s end, Quinton de Kock put on a blank look, pretending the ball was not coming to him. Phehlukwayo didn’t run his bat in, thinking he was home safe, when the ball arrived and de Kock broke the stumps to send him on his way.

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