THE Nashua Titans spun the Chevrolet Knights to distraction and destruction, claiming a bonus point in a comfortable 81-run victory in their Momentum One-Day Cup match at SuperSport Park on Sunday.
A target of 286 was not going be easy to chase, but the Chevrolet Knights had all the momentum after taking seven wickets in the final seven overs of the Nashua Titans innings, pegging back what had looked to be a huge score.
Ryan Bailey was out early again, but Rilee Rossouw put the Nashua Titans to the sword. The pace attack was hampered by an injury to Ethy Mbhalati, who limped off the field after bowling just three balls. With the ball being despatched to all corners of SuperSport Park, the Chevrolet Knights raced to 87 in the mandatory Power Play.
Captain Martin van Jaarsveld turned to his spinners immediately the tenth over was completed. Paul Harris stemmed the flow of runs, conceding just three in his opening over, and Henry Davids was the surprising recipient of the ball to bowl the next over. He dismissed Rossouw with his second ball, and the rest is history. Rossouw’s 43 came off just 29 balls (8 fours), and his partnership of 74 with Reeza Hendricks came at 9.4 runs to the over. Davids then had new Protea Test cap Dean Elgar out in his next over, and was on a hat-trick when Obus Pienaar went first ball. Ryan McLaren denied him the hat-trick, assisting Hendricks in adding 33 for the fifth wicket.
However, there was no let-up in the spin pressure. In fact, Harris, Davids and Roelof van der Merwe shared the remaining overs. Van der Merwe also struck early despite only entering the attack in the 21st over. He was to be the star turn, sweeping through the tail to finish with a career best five for 26. He dismissed both McLaren and Hendricks, who finished with the top score for the Chevrolet Knights (59 off 64 balls, 4 fours 2 sixes).
Davids also had a career-best performance, taking his first four-wicket return in List A cricket. In fact, at franchise level, he had only taken two wickets previously at an average of 166. Harris went wicketless. Albie Morkel (0 for 36 in five overs) was also disappointing on his return from injury.
Earlier, the Nashua Titans top order had performed superbly. Heino Kuhn recorded his first List A century for the Titans, scoring 107 off 116 balls, superbly supported by aggressive innings from Mangaliso Mosehle (69 off 64) and Van Jaarsveld (64 off 57). Nicky Boje picked up three wickets.
Although Van der Merwe’s late burst of wickets almost changed the minds of the Man of the Match adjudicators, Kuhn took the award for his superb batting in what was ultimately an undistinguished match.
The Nashua Titans now march into second position on the log. The Chevrolet Knights slip to third.