JJ Smuts hits 73 as Giants chase 187 to leapfrog Blitz

JJ Smuts celebrates a half-century MSL

Nelson Mandela Bay Giants 187 for 5 (Smuts 73, Marais 40*) beat Cape Town Blitz 186 for 9 (de Kock 39, Livingstone 39) by five wickets

The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants leapfrogged the Cape Town Blitz to the top of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) table with a successful chase of 187 under lights at St George's Park. The Giants recovered from 4 for 2 after nine balls to win with four balls to spare in dramatic fashion. Chris Morris swung hard at a Sisanda Magala delivery to deep midwicket, where George Linde attempted a diving catch but dropped the ball onto the boundary rope to allow the Giants to complete a record chase at their home ground.

Blitz quick out the blocks

Quinton de Kock has made more of an impression on this tournament as a captain than a batsman so far but showed glimpses of his destructive potential at St George's Park. De Kock had to wait 14 balls before he faced a delivery after his opening partner Janneman Malan kept strike early on and he wasted little time showing what he can do. After two balls to get his eye in, de Kock hit back-to-back sixes off the Giants' best bowler Morris and then 18 runs off Junior Dala's first over which included three fours and a six. De Kock's first 31 runs came off 11 balls and he looked set for a fast 50 and more but fell for 39.

Morris issues selectors a reminder

The Blitz's top five all scored 20-plus but their middle and lower order fell away to ensure that the Giants kept them under 190. he Blitz lost 6 for 33 in the last 5.4 overs of their innings and it was Morris who put the squeeze on. His penultimate over cost only two runs and included the wicket of Liam Livingstone, caught at fine leg, and the run-out of Wahab Riaz, who tried to test the arm of Heino Kuhn, to further Morris' claims on a place in the T20 World Cup squad.

Reprieve for Jon-Jon Smuts, twice

A target of 187 needed a strong start which the Giants' didn't get and it was left to captain Jon-Jon Smuts to steady the ship and mount a challenge. He managed both but was almost thwarted in his efforts, twice. Smuts was on 16 when he was caught by Greg Mahlokwana at deep backward square leg off Wahab and was walking off the field when the umpires check for the no-ball revealed Wahab had overstepped. He added 15 runs to score and kept the scoring rate above eight an over when he swept Magala to Linde at short fine leg. Linde dived forward to take the catch but wasn't sure if he had done it cleanly and neither were the umpires. Smuts survived again. His fifty came off 41 balls and he took the Giants to within 37 runs off a win.

But not a third time

Smuts was on 73 when he slashed Wahab to backward point where Magala claimed a catch low down. Initially it seemed the umpires were looking at whether the catch was clean but replays focused on whether Wahab had overstepped again. His front foot appeared to be just on the line and slid over milliseconds after he landed but the delivery was ruled as fair and Smuts had to go.

Dale and Wahab who?

Dale Steyn was brought back on mid-innings to break the 46-run fourth-wicket stand between Smuts and Kuhn and he did exactly that. Kuhn miscued a pull shot to midwicket where Asif Ali took the catch. That brought Marco Marais, from the farming town of Stutterheim, to the crease and reputations don't seem to bother him. Marais cut Steyn behind point for four off the ball he faced and then uppercut Steyn over the third man boundary for six. Then, two balls after Smuts was dismissed, Marais outside-edged Wahab to third man for four before sending him straight down the ground for six to create another of those "remember the name," moments.

Giants 2nd innings Partnerships

1st1JJ RoyMP Breetzke
2nd2JT SmutsJJ Roy
3rd53JT SmutsBR Dunk
4th46HG KuhnJT Smuts
5th48JT SmutsM Marais
6th37CH MorrisM Marais