An assured and calculated half-century by captain Dane Vilas finally delivered a first Mzansi Super League (MSL) win of the season for the Durban Heat as they pulled off an impressive chase of 182 to beat the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands.
The visiting skipper struck a career-best 75 off 52 balls (6 fours, 3 sixes) to guide a perfect chase that also saw Wihan Lubbe blaze 49 off 28 balls (8 fours, 1 six) – the away side eventually winning by seven wickets with three balls to spare.
Earlier, the 2018 runners-up amassed an impressive 181 for five thanks in the main to Janneman Malan’s return to form with a swashbuckling 75 off 42 balls, which included a whopping seven sixes along with two boundaries.
However, those numbers proved to a be in vain as the Durbanites finally won a match in MSL 2.0 to keep alive their hopes of reaching the play-offs.Last season’s wooden spoonists saw three of their opening five games washed out, with the other two ending in defeat, one of which was to the Blitz, who stayed fourth on the table with 13 points – three more than the Heat.
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However, victory was by no means a straightforward one for Gary Kirsten’s side. They conceded plenty of runs when they bowled as Malan and David Bedingham (44 off 33 balls) shared a century stand following the loss of Quinton de Kock (10) early on.
The pair put on 101 for the second wicket, helping the Blitz progress to 127 in the 15th over.
After both fell in quick succession, along with the dismissal of Asif Ali (1), Liam Livingstone (27 off 17 balls) and Vernon Philander (18 off nine balls) added some quick runs at the death to lift their side to a strong total.
A pumped up Dale Steyn (2/24) then dismissed Alex Hales (10) and Wesley Marshall (12) to leave the away side in a big fix early on.
But they recovered from 24 for two – first through a 65-run third-wicket stand between Lubbe and Vilas that took the total up to 89 by the ninth over.
From there, it was the skipper and David Miller (26 off 27 balls) that synchronised their chase to perfection thanks to their unbroken 94-run stand, which finally closed out the win in the final over and also inflicted a third successive loss on the Blitz.