Rising young Proteas star Quinton de Kock struck the highest ever individual Twenty20 score in South Africa as the bizhub Highveld Lions launched the new RAM SLAM T20 Challenge with a spectacular nine-wicket victory over the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
The rising Proteas star blasted an unbeaten 126 off a mere 69 deliveries, including six sixes, the most in 20-over cricket at franchise level in the country, and also hit 13 fours to help the hosts romp to their 184 victory target with seven deliveries to spare.
De Kock put on 124 in 14.4 overs with Gulam Bodi (40) for the first wicket, before adding a 61-run unbroken stand with Dwaine Pretorius (nine) from just 4.1 overs to lead the Lions to a comprehensive win at Senwes Park.
Earlier, Dane Vilas struck 63 from 45 deliveries and received good support from Proteas 20-over specialist Richard Levi (40) and Qaasim Adams (43) as the Capetonians posted a competitive 183 for five.
At the start, the Lions may have been ruing their decision to ask the Cobras to bat first after winning the toss.
Levi offered them a flying start as he blazed away early on, despite losing opening partner Stiaan van Zyl (nine) courtesy of a fine inswinger from Pakistan import Sohail Tanvir (2-37).
But Vilas joined Levi and the two took their side past 50 in just the sixth over.
New Proteas spinner Aaron Phangiso, the pick of the bowlers with three for 31, ended Levi’s 25-ball innings leg before wicket as soon as he was introduced in the eight over and also had Cobras’ English recruit Owais Shah out in the same way for a first ball duck.
But captain Justin Ontong (18) added 44 for the fourth wicket, before a 70-run blitz between Vilas and Adams, who struck one six and six fours in his 26-ball knock, blew the Lions away – their stand taking just six overs – and left them needing a stiff 184 for victory.
But De Kock made a mockery of that, and after reaching 50 in 35 balls, he raced to his century in 59 balls.
Bodi was keeping him company nicely, before he was the only wicket to fall after Dane Piedt ended his run-a-ball innings.
De Kock, though, kept his cool and his career-best knock anchored a superb win for the Lions.
bizhub Highveld Lions: Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Jean Symes (capt), Dwaine Pretorius, Chris Morris, Sohail Tanvir, Hardus Viljoen, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir.
Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras: Richard Levi, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas (wkt), Owais Shah, Justin Ontong (capt), Qaasim Adams, Rory Kleinveldt, Dane Piedt, Johann Louw, Charl Langeveldt, Lizaad Williams.