Boland Park produced a typical run fest as the Tshwane Spartans beat the Paarl Rocks by eight wickets in a festive atmosphere on Sunday.
In fantastic conditions, the hosts looked to have posted a steep target of 185/6.
That didn’t always look on the cards until Englishman James Vince, who has just come off a productive tour of New Zealand with his country, continued his outstanding form.
It was a customary elegant innings, featuring proper cricket shots and little undue risk.
His unbeaten 86 off 53, however, was eclipsed by Dean Elgar, who hit a career-best, unbeaten 88 off 60 to lead the visitors home.
He at least had Theunis de Bruyn to help him add 104 for the first wicket and revelled in a match-winning stand with skipper Heinrich Klaasen, whose own 31 off 13 proved decisive.
Batsman of the game
Elgar will continue to insist that he shouldn’t be pigeonholed as Test player and he backed up those words with deeds again. His effort was a masterclass in cultured, calculated strokeplay. The Proteas red-ball opener never tried to match the fireworks of some of the other big hitters on display, rather playing to his strengths and using an iffy start to his knock as a confidence-builder and not as something to render him demotivated.
Bowler of the game
Morne Morkel said he relished being back in South Africa for a homecoming of sorts and he used his vast experience to excel on a surface that gave the bowlers very little. He extracted bounce, took the key wicket of Faf du Plessis and only conceded 24 runs in his four-over quota for the Spartans.
When AB de Villiers was dislodged by the left-arm chinamen of Tabraiz Shamsi in the 16th over., the Spartans looked in quite some difficulty. Yet Elgar and Klaasen simply refused to become bogged down. The next over went for 14 and when Elgar hit Shamsi for a six – en route to another over that cost 15 – you could feel the momentum shift.