Cameron Delport carried the Paarl Rocks on his broad shoulders and wide bat into the Mzansi Super League eliminator against the Jozi Stars on Friday.
His ballistic 45-ball 84 helped the Rocks overhaul the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants’ paltry 129/8 within the 16 overs required for the bonus point.
The Rocks won by six wickets with 28 balls to spare to book their ticket to the Wanderers.
The later match between the Tshwane Spartans and Durban Heat was reduced to an academic exercise.
Delport could not see the business through but David Wiese clouted a six off Aaron Phangiso‚ who bowled the crucial 16th over before a wide and two runs finished the job.
Sisanda Magala nearly derailed the third-place chase when he dismissed Delport and Dwayne Bravo in three balls in the 15th over.
Delport’s calculated assault meant there was no respite for the bowlers bar Chris Morris (1/14) and Magala (2/15). Delport was given a life on 21 when Phangiso grassed a routine return catch in the eighth over. That would have left the Rocks tottering at 41/3 after captain Faf du Plessis (six) had holed out to Marco Marais off Phangiso two balls earlier.
It was the escape Delport required as he bashed seven fours and five sixes.
Such was the impact and magnitude of his innings‚ Henry Davids (12) and Wiese (eight not out) hit a single boundary in their time at the crease.
Delport scored 64.61% of his team’s runs; significant considering the Rocks were 37/1 after the power-play. When he shifted gears‚ there was no response from the visitors.
While the slow Boland Park surface had a lot to do with the Giants’ low score‚ their batting left a lot to be desired.
Only three batsmen, Jason Roy (22)‚ Morris (27no) and JJ Smuts (11), scored at better than a run-a-ball.
Rudi Second‚ inexplicably pushed up to No 3‚ soaked up 41 balls for his 37 while the normally explosive Marco Marais used up 28 for his 20.
Their terminal mid-innings stutter belied their reasonable start where the Giants collected 41/2 in their first six overs.
Roy and Smuts gifted their wickets to Wiese (1/19) and Kerwin Mungroo (1/26).
The innings contained only five fours and four sixes. There also was a 13.3-over spell where the Rocks dried up the boundaries. Second and Marais batted through the barren spell as Tabraiz Shamsi (1/15)‚ Mungroo‚ Grant Thomson (0/5) and Wiese applied the squeeze with their intelligent bowling.
While Ben Duckett (three) and Heino Kuhn (four) were snared in the dry spell by Shamsi and Bravo (3/22)‚ it was in the 18th over where the former West Indian international seemingly broke the back of the Giants’ batting when he dismissed Second and Marais in the space of four balls.
Morris though capitalised on a wayward 19th over from Paterson where two sixes were ransacked in the 15-run over.
Morris took 12 off Bravo’s last over to give the Giants a veneer of respectability. But they were yet to encounter Delport.