Cape Town - A 57-run fifth-wicket partnership between Mangaliso Mosehle and James Vince proved to be the difference as the Paarl Rocks kept pace with the Mzansi Super League (MSL) leaders and all but ended the Jozi Stars’ hopes of defending their title with a four-wicket win at Boland Park on Friday.
The Stars have now lost all five of their matches in this year's competition and it will take a miracle for them to make the playoffs.
Dwaine Pretorius also played a key hand with both ball and bat by first claiming one for 12 and then striking 37 off 26 balls to help the hosts hunt down a below-par 130 target with 23 balls to spare.
Vince top-scored during the chase with 43 off 28 balls and Mosehle blazed 31 off 21 balls after their side had lost four early wickets.
But the pair capitalised on some sloppy fielding by the disappointing Stars to win comfortably, although there may be a tinge of disappointment from the Rocks after they missed out on a bonus point they could have secured by closing out the game a ball earlier.
Nonetheless, they climbed up a position up to third spot, with 11 points from four games, four points fewer than the leaders.
For the 2018 winners from Johannesburg it was a fifth-straight loss in MSL 2.0. They remain pointless and their prospects of winning the title again appear to be over.
They should have done much better than posting 129 for three in the Cape in their latest outing, especially after openers Ryan Rickelton (30) and Reeza Hendricks (40) provided them with a strong opening platform of 64 for the first wicket that came inside 10 overs.
This after they won the toss and opted to bat, with the second half of their innings the big disappointment.
Superstar Chris Gayle, batting at three in this game, managed just one, while Rassie van der Dussen (30 off 29 balls) and Dan Christian (23 off 19 balls) – both unbeaten – failed to add much impetus on what looked a slow wicket.
Pretorius was the best of the bowlers with an excellent two overs, with spinners Tabraiz Shamsi (1/20) and Bjorn Fortuin (1/21) equally tight.
The sluggish Jozi innings was followed by an equally sloppy start by the Rocks.
Cameron Delport (2) was sent packing by Aaron Phangiso (1/21) in the second over and Henry Davids (2) followed in the next sent down by Kagiso Rabada (2/24).
Faf du Plessis (5) was also taken out in the powerplay – Duanne Olivier (3/39) accounting for the captain – leaving the Rocks on 38 for three at one stage.
Pretorius upped the tempo before he too fell to the same bowler as the home side then sunk to 59 for four.
But that was when Mosehle and Englishman Vince came together as they tore into the bowling by adding 57 in six overs, surviving a few spurned chances along the way.
Both fell before the end, the latter attempting to end the game in style when two were needed from two balls to gain the bonus point.
However, that extra was not to be as Isuru Udana then ended the game with a six, which came a ball too late, but Paarl still won comfortably to join the big boys up top.