The first night of Week 4 of the Mzansi Super League 2019 saw a top of the table clash as the league leaders Nelson Mandela Bay Giants took on the Paarl Rocks at St. George's Park, Port Elizabeth.
The Paarl Rocks put in a strong overall performance to get the win as they bowled out the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at 135 after putting up 166/7 in the first innings of the match.
Disciplined bowling from the Rocks had the Bay Giants struggle from the start in their run chase as Englishman Jason Roy departed on the first ball of the innings. Ben Dunk proved to be the lone warrior for the Bay Giants managing to get a score of 45 as Chris Morris failed to produce his magic at the death.
We take a look at the performances of three players who played a major role in determining the result of the match.
#3 Hardus Viljoen (Paarl Rocks)
The South African international Hardus Viljoen had a strong showing on the night managing to quell the threat of the Bay Giants' hard-hitting batsmen like Chris Morris and Ben Dunk.
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Viljoen used his slower balls extremely well to force the batsmen into committing errors and utilized the pitch well to keep the runs in check. He finished with two wickets and had figures of 4-0-21-2 being the most economical bowler for Paarl Rocks.
He also played a small cameo at the end of Paarl Rocks' innings scoring 9 runs in 5 balls to stretch the total to 166.
#2 Imran Tahir (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants)
Imran Tahir was at his vintage best bowling a characteristic spell of leg spin as he reigned in the Paarl Rocks' batting lineup.
Despite his fellow bowlers like Chris Morris, Junior Dala, JJ Smuts and Beuran Hendricks going at an economy rate of 8.0 and above, Tahir managed to stay economical with his tight line of bowling.
Tahir broke the opening partnership of 37 runs in the 5th over for the Paarl Rocks getting the wicket of Cameron Delport and later added the scalp of Mangaliso Mosehle in the 16th over. He finished with figures of 4-0-19-2 with a stunning economy of 4.75.
#1 Tabrez Shamsi (Paarl Rocks)
The man with one of the best wicket celebrations in cricket today troubled the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants batsmen with his disciplined line and length. He got the ball to turn inside and did not allow any room for easy hits to the boundary.
After conceding just 21 runs in his first three overs, Shamsi began his fourth with a wicket on the first ball catching Heino Kuhn plumb in front of the wicket. He went on to concede three more singles before ending his spell on the night with a classic chinaman wicket.
The ball spun inside the dangerous Marco Marais beating his attempt to play against the spin and castled his stumps. Shamsi ended with figures of 4-0-24-2 picking up wickets in the middle of the chase making it more difficult for the Bay Giants.
With this result, the Paarl Rocks moved atop the points table after playing six matches with 19 points. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants have the same points total but drop to second due to inferior Net Run Rate.
The next match for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants will see them take on the Durban Heat on 30th November whereas Paarl Rocks face off against the Tshwane Spartans on 29th November