Durban Heat 182 for 3 (Vilas 75*, Lubbe 49, Steyn 2-25) beat Cape Town Blitz 181 for 5 (Malan 75, Beddingham 44, Abbott 2-32) by seven wickets
Cape Town Blitz’s Dale Steyn conjured a vintage spell with the new ball on his grandfather’s birthday, but Dane Vilas and Wihan Lubbe crashed their party and led Durban Heat to their first victory in MSL 2019.
Steyn struck twice in the first over of Heat’s chase of 182 and even floated a Lasith Malinga-esque dipping full-toss in his first spell. However, Lubbe and Vilas repaired the innings and ensured they stayed in touch with the asking rate by adding 65 for the third wicket in just 39 balls.
By the time Steyn returned for his second spell, in the 14th over, the partnership had been broken. Steyn cranked it upto 144kph and pinged David Miller on the shoulder, but he shook that blow off and ushered Heat to the finish line along with his captain Vilas, who ended with a career-best 75 not out off 52 balls.
Strike four…and out
After Blitz chose to bat on an used track, Janneman Malan settled into his shot-making stride immediately, backing away and launching 19 year-old left-arm seamer Marco Jansen over mid-off for six. At the other end, Quinton de Kock swivel-pulled Kyle Abbott for six, but then struggled to put bat on ball against Andile Phehlukwayo. He desperately swung and missed four successive balls from the seam-bowling allrounder before dragging the fifth to midwicket, where Jansen completed a smart diving catch.
Malan, however, offset that early loss and cracked Jansen for three boundaries in four balls as Blitz reached 46 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay. Ravi Bopara then found some grip and rolled out one slower ball after another. Once it became too predictable, Malan lined him up and biffed him for a brace of leg-side boundaries.
He found a busy partner in David Bedingham and went onto bring up his fifty off 32 balls when he imperiously lofted Phehlukwayo for six over long-on. Malan cut loose thereafter and moved to 75 before holing out in the 15th over. The dismissals of both Malan and Bedingham added to a late slide, but Liam Livingstone smote a hat-trick of sixes in the final over to push Blitz past 180.
Lubbe’s fire, Vilas’ calm
If you’re still wondering if Steyn has it, of course he does. He first pinned Alex Hales lbw with a 143kph full ball and then got a similar rapid ball to skid through the defences of Wesley Marshall, leaving Heat at 24 for 2 in two overs.
Lubbe, too, was skittish against Steyn’s pace or the lack of it. However, he found the release against Sisanda Magala and Wahab Riaz, taking 31 runs off 15 balls from the two pacers. Lubbe fell one short of a fifty, getting castled by a 100kph dart from left-arm fingerspinner Mohammad Nawaz in the ninth over.
There was no stopping Vilas, though.He drove Nawaz inside-out over extra-cover and even reverse-swept him fine of short third man for another four. Then, when Steyn returned to the attack, Vilas scythed him to the third-man boundary and raised his maiden MSL fifty off 37 deliveries. Miller wasn’t as fluent during his unbroken 93-run stand with Vilas, but they got the job done with seven wickets and three balls to spare.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.