Tabraiz Shamsi led a spectacular bowling performance with three wickets as the Paarl Rocks started the Mzansi Super League by destroying the Cape Town Blitz at Boland Park on Sunday.
The hosts won by 86 runs after dismissing the visitors for 84 – the lowest ever score since the inception of the competition last year.
The Blitz had been trying to hunt down a strong 170 for nine, which was built around 38s by Henry Davids and Faf du Plessis.
But they struggled in their chase as the 2019 edition of the tournament took its bow in Paarl.
Hardus Viljoen (2/9) and Bjorn Fortuin (2/13) rocked the Blitz’ top order, before Shamsi made key lower-order inroads to send the away side packing in 15.4 overs, a score that beat the previous low mark of 92 made by the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants against Jozi Stars last year.
It completed an impressive opening game all-round for the home side against a visiting team, who themselves started the competition with a bang on Friday by overcoming defending champions, the Jozi Stars, in the opening game in Johannesburg.
But there was no repeat this time as they completely fell apart with the bat against a ruthless Paarl outfit, led from the front by Du Plessis.
Also see: Graeme Smith in running for director of cricket post
The national captain won the toss and opted to bat first against their Cape rivals, with Cameron Delport (19) and Henry Davids getting their side off to a flier.
The pair added 41 for the opening wicket in just 4.3 overs, before Du Plessis joined in to nearly double the score by the ninth.
Davids then fell for 38 off 26 balls, with the skipper scoring the same amount of runs in just 20 balls to both end as joint top-scorers – the Rocks reaching 107 for two just over halfway.
But George Linde (3/23) and Anrich Nortje (3/31) hauled the Blitz back from there as Paarl’s thin middle-order, which was hit by news of JP Duminy being ruled out of the competition due to injury in the build-up to the game, folded.
However, the 171-target proved too much for their neighbours from Cape Town, especially after their two big-hitters, Quinton de Kock (14) and Janneman Malan (12), were sent packing in the first 4.3 overs by Viljoen, who conceded only nine in his two overs.
Fortuin was even more miserly in dismissing Moeen Ali (13) and Aviwe Mgijima (2) – the Blitz slipping to 48 for five in eight overs by the time the latter was dismissed.
Linde ended up top-scoring with 15, but he was amongst the victims of Shamsi as Paarl coasted to an impressive win.