The Tshwane Spartans suffered their third defeat out of four matches as a lightning storm brought their run chase to a cruel early end to lose by seven runs to the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.
Marco Marais enjoyed the chance to shine in the MSL by top-scoring with 47 runs off 41 balls (5×2, S/R 114.63), sharing an opening stand of 40 with skipper Jon-Jon Smuts (19 off 18 balls). A rash of wickets then fell as the Spartans pulled in the reins to haul the Giants back to 72-4 just before the halfway mark of the innings.
Marias was bowled by the ever-impressive Lutho Sipamla with the Giants score on 114 off 14.5 overs, Rudi Second following four runs later after a well-played 26 scored off 17 balls (3×4, 1×6).
Chris Morris chipped in with 13 runs as the tail pulled the Giants along to 143-9 off their 20 overs, which would have been below their expectation after their solid start.
Jeevan Mendis (4-22, econ 5.50) and Sipamla (3-29, econ 7.25) were superb with the ball to give their batters a relatively comfortable target to attack in their first home game of the League.
With ominous clouds massing on the horizon, Morris conceded just three runs off the first over, and Junior Dala picked up the valuable wicket of Gihahn Cloete off the last ball of the second over, which went for seven runs. With the storm clouds closing in rapidly, Theunis de Bruyn hit Morris for a six off the second last ball of the third over, and then took 11 off the fourth over with Tony de Zorzi.
The fifth over brought just six runs and the wicket of De Zorzi as the thunder and lightning started to reverberate and two balls later AB de Villiers was trapped leg before by Carmi le Roux’s first ball of the match, De Villiers trying to paddle a sweep down to fine leg. With the Spartans on 35-3 in the sixth over, the umpires called the players from the field for safety from the storm.
No further play was possible in the match, which gave the Giants victory by seven runs on the D/L Method, cementing their position in second place on the log. Sisanda Magala ended with figures of 1-6 and Dala 1-18, while Marco Marais picked up the Player of the Match award for his well-played innings of 47.
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