Giants repel Rocks attack
Captain Courageous Jon-Jon Smuts took three crucial wickets as the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants continued their good form by beating Paarl Rocks by 48 runs in their Mzansi Super League cricket match at St George’s Park on Friday.
Chasing 169 for victory, the Rocks could only manage 120 all out in reply as left-arm spinner Smuts took three for 17, which included the big wickets of Aiden Markram and Vaughn van Jaarsveld.
Proteas batsman Markram made a classy 50 off only 39 balls with five fours and a six, but he lacked the necessary support after captain Faf du Plessis was dismissed for only seven by Chris Morris.
David Wiese did add 18 and Mangaliso Mosehle scored 16, but for the rest it was a bad day at the office.
Sisanda Magala also bowled superbly, taking three middleand lower-order wickets for 17 runs in his three overs.
The bonus-point win consolidated the Giants’ second spot on the log and brought them to within one point of the log-leading Cape Town Blitz.
Earlier, it was Kuhn who was the shining light in the home side’s innings, stroking an attractive half-century.
Skipper Smuts won the toss and had no hesitation in taking first strike on a very good playing surface.
And Smuts’s decision was vindicated as Marco Marais hit the first two deliveries of the day from offspinner Markram for four and six respectively.
Marais was in a belligerent mood, carrying on with that aggressive approach.
He reached 20 off 10 balls with three fours and a six before being bowled trying to heave left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin for six.
Englishman Ben Duckett played some delightful reverse sweeps for four and six but he, too, fell playing one too many expansive shots.
There were a few more starts for the Giants as Smuts added 21 and Christiaan Jonker, who had been struggling for runs, made a run-aball 23.
But it was Kuhn who stole the show for the Giants with his crucial innings.
Fortuin and fast bowler Dane Paterson each took two wickets for the Rocks.
The Giants’ next game is at home to the Jozi Stars at St George’s Park on Sunday at 3.30pm, while the Rocks travel back to Paarl to host the Durban Heat.
Another win for the Giants on Sunday could wrap up a playoff spot win with three matches left to play against Durban Heat (away), Tshwane Spartans (home) and Paarl Rocks (away).
Meanwhile, Cape Town Blitz coach Ashwell Prince is hoping his team can exploit the inexperience in the Tshwane Spartans’ seam bowling attack when the teams meet at SuperSport Park on Saturday.
The clash is a rematch of the tournament opening fixture at Newlands a fortnight ago, when the Blitz emerged victorious in the “North v South” derby.
HAPPY DAYS: NMB Giants captain Jon-Jon Smuts, right, and Aaron Phangiso celebrate another wicket