In the end it was several lusty blows from opening batsman Victor Matfield that set the tone for the Springbok’s run chase as they got up to win by five wickets and claim bragging rights at the end of the T20 encounter.
Matfield proved that he’s as adept at connecting leather to willow as he is with commanding the lineout in front of sold out stadiums and tormented the Protea bowling attack with a knock of 62 off 32 balls.
The Bok lock combined in an opening stand of 52 with Tiaan Liebenberg before his partner departed. Liebenberg was unhappy with the call from referee turned umpire Craig Joubert who was called into making a decision when Farhaan Behardien trapped the batsman leg-before for 24 in the sixth over.
Both sides provided a festive crowd with reasons to cheer, especially Willem Alberts towards the latter part of the encounter who even drew high-fives from two pitch invaders after consecutive sixes in the 19th over.
The match, which was played to commemorate a year since the death of iconic leader Nelson Mandela, provided several highlights on an entertaining evening in front of a festive crowd.
After winning the toss, Protea skipper Hashim Amla bullied the Bok bowling attack to blast his way to 51 off 30 balls before retiring unbeaten to help the national cricket side to 181/9 in their 20 overs.
The Springboks produced some memorable moments in the field, particularly Willie Le Roux who not only found himself on a hattrick but also ended up taking a superb one-handed diving catch to get rid of Kagiso Rabada and ended up taking three wickets along with Damian De Allende.