Port Elizabeth - Sisanda Magala, Jon-Jon Smuts and man of the match Heino Kuhn starred as the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants closed to within a point of Mzansi Super League leaders the Cape Town Blitz with a dominant bonus-point win over the Paarl Rocks in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The hosts won by 48 runs after bowling out the visitors for 120 in 19.3 overs as they tried to hunt down a victory target of 169.
Kuhn lead the way with his fluent innings of 54 (36 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes), before Magala and Smuts snared three wickets each to destroy the visitors and hand the home side the full quota of five points.
That saw them jump to 19 points, only one behind the leading Blitz with four rounds of the round-robin stage remaining. It was a key result for the Giants and one that now leaves them well placed to challenge the Capetonians, who had been running away from everyone over the initial part of the competition.
The Giants won the toss and elected to bat first at St George’s Park with Smuts (21), Marco Marais (20) and Ben Duckett (16) helping their side to a strong start after they progressed to 70 for two in the eighth over.
After the departure of the skipper, Kuhn picked up the baton and shared in a 70-run fourth wicket stand with Christiaan Jonker (23), before Chris Morris (15 not out) helped them end on 168 for nine in their 20 overs.
Dane Paterson was the pick of the bowlers with two for 26, with the Standard Bank Proteas fast bowler also inflicting two run-outs in the final over.
But his side were then let down by their batting, losing wickets almost at will in the opening 10 overs.
Only one man stood tall and that was Proteas opener Aiden Markram, who struck exactly 50 off 39 balls (5 fours, 1 six).
The rest of the top order crumbled, mainly at the hands of Smuts after his three for 17, with Morris also chipping in with two for 25.
Henry Davids, captain Faf du Plessis and Patrick Kruger all made seven, with six coming from Vaughn van Jaarsveld.
But the next best score after Markram was 18 by David Wiese as Magala (3/17) ripped through the tail.
It ensured the Giants a big win and left the visitors with two wins from five so far.