AB’s 50 off 19 balls whips Li­ons

• Con­sec­u­tive sixes wrap up easy eight-wicket T20 vic­tory for Ti­tans

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Telford Vice Cape Town

Sarel Er­wee’s cen­tury grabbed head­lines in the first round of fran­chise T20 matches, but what will stick in the mem­ory is AB de Villiers ham­mer­ing Kag­iso Rabada for con­sec­u­tive sixes to se­cure vic­tory.

Sarel Er­wee’s cen­tury grabbed head­lines in the first round of fran­chise T20 matches, but what will stick in the mem­ory is AB de Villiers ham­mer­ing Kag­iso Rabada for con­sec­u­tive sixes to se­cure vic­tory.

Al­most for­got­ten al­ready are the hard-hit half-cen­turies The­u­nis de Bruyn and David Miller scored to win the open­ing game of the com­pe­ti­tion.

And there’s more good news to fol­low this week in the shape of Dale Steyn’s re­turn from a year out of ac­tion be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury.

All of which makes ex­actly the kind of im­pact or­gan­is­ers would have hoped for in an event that was born as a dowdy sec­ond prize af­ter the col­lapse of plans to play the in­au­gu­ral T20 Global League in Oc­to­ber.

Even the weather played ball with a highveld thun­der­storm serv­ing as a spec­tac­u­lar show and not get­ting in the way of the cricket too much‚ in a dou­ble­header in Cen­tu­rion on Sun­day.

Opener Er­wee’s un­de­feated 103 off 58 balls and Khaya Zondo’s 67 not out — and their stand of 136 — guided the Dolphins to a tour­na­ment record to­tal of 231/2 in the first game.

The Co­bras could not stop the bleed­ing de­spite their at­tack har­bour­ing in­ter­na­tion­als Ver­non Phi­lan­der‚ Dane Pater­son‚ Rory Klein­veldt and JP Du­miny, who all went for more than 10 runs an over.

Hashim Amla‚ who watched the Co­bras sham­ble to 20/3 in­side four overs of their re­ply‚ scored a stylish 52 not out. But that was not enough to get his team to the re­vised tar­get of 124 from 10 overs and the Dolphins won by 15 runs.

De Villiers sent what be­came the last two balls of the Ti­tans’ game against the Li­ons‚ which was re­duced to 15 overs a side‚ arch­ing into the night sky to seal an eight-wicket win. One of those blows was de­liv­ered with a knee on the ground‚ a pose that would be suit­able for a statue that will surely grace Cen­tu­rion once De Villiers has re­tired.

All Rabada could do was crack a wry smile and nod his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a su­perb dis­play by De Villiers‚ whose 50 not out flew off 19 balls‚ and Al­bie Morkel‚ who made his un­beaten 41 off 16 de­liv­er­ies.

Reeza Hen­dricks’s 67 not out for the Li­ons looked pedes­trian by com­par­i­son.

It was all quite dif­fer­ent from Fri­day’s events at St George’s Park‚ where the Knights needed their steeds to break into barely a can­ter to race past the War­riors by eight wick­ets.

The home side crashed to 69/5, be­fore re­cov­er­ing to 153/9 with the help of Chris­ti­aan Jonker’s 61.

De Bruyn and Miller made light of all that with an un­bro­ken stand of 142 to clinch vic­tory with a dozen balls to spare.

De Bruyn’s 78 not out came off 48 balls and fea­tured three fours and six sixes.

Miller hit his un­beaten 62 off 47 balls with seven fours and three sixes.

The Knights might have a tougher job on their hands in Kim­ber­ley on Wed­nes­day‚ when Steyn is ex­pected to be part of the Ti­tans XI.

Big hit­ter: AB de Villiers slays the Li­ons at­tack at Su­perS­port Park on Sun­day. /Lee War­ren/Gallo Im­ages

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