Spartans hold nerve to edge Rocks

Robbie Frylinck (Gallo)
Robbie Frylinck (Gallo)

Cape Town - Robbie Frylinck held his nerve to strike two key boundaries early in the final over as the Tshwane Spartans made heavy weather of a low-scoring run chase to overcome the Paarl Rocks by four wickets and stay alive in pursuit of the Mzansi Super League play-offs in Centurion on Wednesday.

The burley all-rounder took Dane Paterson to the cleaners with a six and four, followed by a match-winning single, to end on 22 not out – those final runs taking the hosts past their 122-run victory target with three deliveries to spare.

But the chase should have been a far easier one after the home side were handed a solid start by Gihahn Cloete (30) and Andrea Agathangelou (23).

At 63 for one, they looked on course for the bonus point they craved, but were then ripped apart by the brilliant Tabraiz Shamsi, who claimed three for 18.

The spinner first took out Cloete via an excellent Paterson catch, before bamboozling AB de Villiers (8) in the same over after sending down a wide in between.

Shamsi then had England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan, playing his first match of the MSLT20, out in his next over leg before wicket for four – the Spartans plummeting to 82 for five.

The scales appeared to be tipped Paarl’s way after that spell, and to the Rocks’ credit they held on until the final over, when Frylinck, as he has done so many time in domestic cricket, cut loose and got the 11 needed for victory in that final over.

Earlier, the hosts themselves produced a strong bowling display to shoot out the visitors in 17.4 overs.

Man of the Match Lutho Sipamla (3/19) and Shaun von Berg (3/27) were key with treble strikes, while Rory Kleinveldt was on the money too with his discipline as he went for only 11 in three overs.

After winning the toss and batting, the visitors were dealt a double blow early on when Aiden Markram edged Sipamla behind for two, followed by the returning Cameron Delport being run out via a direct Morgan hit for one. That left them at 12 for two and they never really recovered from that.

Captain Faf du Plessis top-scored with a swashbuckling 38 of 19 balls, while Dwayne Bravo managed 25 off 14, but everyone else struggled to score as freely.

It proved a costly batting display as the Spartans went on to claim the vital four log points that helped them move to 12 points, one behind the fourth-placed Rocks.

Both remain in the play-off hunt with three matches to play.

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