Vernon Philander took a wicket with the first ball of the innings to inspire Canon SWD to a 19-run win over Gauteng in a low-scoring Africa T20 Cup Pool D match at the Mangaung Oval on Saturday.
Even though conditions were extremely favourable for the bowlers SWD’s total of 111/6 looked quite a few runs short of what they needed to make a successful defence.
But in the end it proved to be more than enough as Gauteng crumbled to 92/9 in their 20 overs.
It was Philander who probably inspired SWD to believe they could pull it off when he had Yasser Cook caught by Sybrand Engelbrecht at second slip off the first ball of the innings and thereafter they hardly looked back.
Indeed, at one stage it looked as though they might bowl Gauteng out for 88 or less and thus claim a bonus point.
They are nevertheless back in the race with 4 points from 2 matches, 1 point behind Free State who beat SWD in their opening match last night.
The conditions were a nightmare for the batsmen on both sides. The quicker men gained movement off the seam and also exploited variable bounce while the spinners gained appreciable turn and bounce.
The two SWD spinners, Engelbrecht (2/16) and Siya Simetu (1/14), did a wonderful job in the middle of the innings and there was the unusual situation of Simetu bowling to a slip and Engelbrecht to a leg slip throughout their respective spells.
Engelbrecht made a big contribution to the SWD victory, also making an unbeaten 37 (41 balls, 3 fours) while his team mate, Andrew Puttick (44 off 40 balls, 6 fours and a six), was the top scorer in the match.
Had Puttick not been run out after a partnership of 32 (the biggest of the match) with Engelbrecht, SWD would surely have gained their bonus point.