AB fi­nally comes good for Spar­tans

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport -

The Tsh­wane Spar­tans cap­i­talised on a late bat­ting melt­down by the Jozi Stars to snatch a 20run vic­tory where de­feat looked al­most a cer­tainty in their lat­est Mzansi Su­per League (MSL) derby en­counter at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day.

On a day that Chris Gayle fi­nally de­liv­ered – the West In­dian su­per­star plun­dered 54 off 27 balls (6 fours, 4 sixes) – to set the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons up for what looked like a first win of the sea­son as they eyed a 156-run vic­tory tar­get.

How­ever, from 122/3 and only 34 re­quired from 38 balls, they im­ploded spec­tac­u­larly to be dis­missed for 135.

It meant the last seven wick­ets fell for 13 runs with Morne Morkel the big­gest bene­fac­tor, fin­ish­ing with 3/21 in 3.3 overs.

Roelof van der Merwe claimed 2/11, while Eng­land pace­man Tom Cur­ran, recorded 3/30.

The re­sult meant that the Stars, the win­ners of the in­au­gu­ral ti­tle last year, have now lost six out of six and are af­fec­tively al­ready out of play-off con­tention.

For the Spar­tans, they are up to third on the ta­ble, and con­tinue to show an im­prove­ment from last sea­son where they fin­ished se­cond bot­tom.

Like Gayle did for the Stars, it was a day when the other big su­per­star of MSL 2.0, AB de Vil­liers (above), de­liv­ered his first big per­for­mance of the sea­son – the for­mer Proteas cap­tain strik­ing 53 off 33 balls.

But it was not all plain sail­ing for his side, who slipped to 47/4 after win­ning the toss and bat­ting.

An Aaron Phangiso (2/32) dou­ble pegged the Spar­tans back early with The­u­nis de Bruyn (0), Dean El­gar (18), Van der Merwe (5) and Hein­rich Klaasen (10) all gone inside the first 10 overs.

But De Vil­liers and Pite van Biljon (45) re­built with a 63-run fifth-wicket stand that proved key in help­ing their side re­cover to 155/6. – Own Cor­re­spon­dent

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