An unbeaten half-century by Faf du Plessis helped the Paarl Rocks jump to third on the Mzansi Super League (MSL) table after they brushed aside the Durban Heat with a clinical nine-wicket victory at Boland Park on Sunday.
The home captain smashed a dominant 76 off 48 balls (9 fours) as his side chased down their 155-run victory target at a measured tempo with five balls to spare.
Du Plessis had good support from Aiden Markram (48) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (28 not out) with their only problem in the chase being an injury sustained by Henry Davids, who had to retire hurt on two with a groin injury.
They eventually finished on 158 for one to complete a commanding victory and one that lifted them up to 13 points on the table, six behind the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and three ahead of the Jozi Stars – the two sides that meet later on Sunday.
For the Heat, their poor season continued as they remained bottom of the standings with a solitary win from their six games.
Despite having one of the best squads on paper, they have failed to gel as a team thus far and were again found wanting in Paarl, even after winning the toss.
They made the bold move of dropping out-of-form marquee signing Hashim Amla and it looked a good move initially as replacement Sarel Erwee struck 32 off 22 in an opening stand of 65 with Morne van Wyk (33) in seven overs.
But it mainly went south from there as wickets began to tumble regularly.
Proteas batsman David Miller (1) and Heinrich Klaasen (4) again failed, with the Durbanites having to heavily rely on Khaya Zondo’s unbeaten 38, which came from a relatively slow 34 balls.
The one plus for the visitors was the form of Vernon Philander after he shone with 30 off 16 balls, but his side was undone by the control of the home attack, which was well led by the two for 20 from Tabraiz Shamsi’s four overs.
None of their bowlers went for more than nine to the over, with Grant Thomson (1/18), Bjorn Fortuin (1/25) Tshepo Moreki (1/25) and David Wiese (1/33) also collecting a wicket apiece.
It was then the Faf show as the Heat failed to make inroads, with their solitary strike coming from Zimbabwean rookie Brandon Mavuta (1/32).
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