Match Tied (Royal Challengers Bangalore win one-over eliminator)
Paarl Rocks stormed to MSL title after handing an eight-wicket-drubbing to Spartans in front of a jam-packed-partisan crowd at Boland Park that revelled in the festive grand-finale of South Africa's much-loved Mzansi Super League (MSL).
Pressure, what pressure said Henry Davids who was the architect behind the emphatic win. He blazed 77 runs from a mere 44 balls and annihilated Tshwane Spartans bowling attack that featured South Africa's former international stars including the likes of Morne Morkel and David Wiese.
After deciding to bowl first - which prove to be a spot-on decision from Rocks - the du Plessis spearheaded side's spin wizard Tabraiz Shamsi and Sri Lanka's canny pacer Isuru Udana bowled spectacularly and bagged two for 29 and two for 24 that helped reduce Spartans to a manageable total.
Kervin Myngroo (1/21) and Udana's accurate bowling display followed by Bjorn Fortuin (0/23) and Shamsi's stellar spin-show just didn't allow Spartans to tee off at any stage of their innings.
Earlier, AB de Villiers steadied the sinking ship by a valiant half-century but he kept losing his partners who couldn't convert the starts into something substantial and in the end, Spartans only managed 147 on the board which come to think of it can't be ascribed as a below-par total considering the fact that it was the final and often moderate totals put the chasing sides in a pickle but not Paarl Rocks as they didn't leave any stone unturned and unleashed a clinical display that they saved for the decider.
Dean Elgar chipped in with run-a-ball 22 while Heinrich Klaasen contributed 21 off 19 and Pite van Biljon 19 from 20 balls—but they didn't score quick enough and that hurt them later on.
Dwaine Pretorius, who earned a maiden South Africa call up for the Test series against England today, rejoiced the news with a match-turning 43 off 21 balls that took the wind out of Spartans' sails and they were playing the catch-up game even after he got dismissed.
Davids thumped the fastest fifty of this year's MSL edition and the timing couldn't have been better as he steered his side to a memorable victory.
In pursuit of a paltry 148-run target, the seasoned campaigner started the proceedings in a dominant fashion and remained unbeaten, clubbed four sixes and swatted eight fours that included a 22 ball half-century. He was supported by Pretorius who amassed 43 off 20 balls as the hosts gyrated to epic title win with 34 deliveries still in the tank.
The only bright spot from the visitors was de Villiers rearguard action with the bat as he piled up 51 runs off 37 balls and that spirited knock only delayed the inevitable because Rocks were rocking at a different level tonight.
Faf du Plessis, South Africa skipper, showed his tactical acumen superbly and led his side wisely throughout their MSL campaign despite being plagued by injuries midway into the tournament.
Davids was clearly the standout performer as he first knitted partnership with Cameron Delport and then forged another one with Pretorius—a fifty-run stand in a mere 5.3 overs that put Paarl on the driving seat.
The celebrations are underway and the entire team was seen dancing right after the winning shot and there too none other than - the life of the party - Shamsi was leading the victory dance.