David Miller’s maiden Mzansi Super League (MSL) half-century helped the Durban Heat continue their resurgence with a record Kingsmead run chase to slay Nelson Mandela Bay Giants by six wickets on Saturday.
The left-handed struck two sixes and three fours in his score of exactly 50 from 39 balls to help his side chase down a record MSL score at the venue as the hosts won with seven balls to spare.
There was also a standout bowling display form Keshav Maharaj – the Proteas spinner claiming a fine three for 15 in four overs to restrict the visitors to 173 for six that was built around captain Jon-Jon Smuts (54 off 37 balls, 6 fours, 1 six).
But that was not enough as the Heat claimed a second successive win to leapfrog the Cape Town Blitz into fourth place.
The men from the Eastern Cape, meanwhile, fell to a second loss of the campaign and one that still leaves them in a three-day tie at the summit, but with the Paarl Rocks and Tshwane Spartans alongside them on 19 points.
The Giants, who were the competition pace-setters early on, made a promising start to the clash as they raced to 66 for none in the powerplay overs thanks to some crisp hitting by foreign pair Ben Dunk (34 off 18 balls) and Jason Roy (36 off 26 balls).
But the dismissal of both the Australian and the Englishman respectively by Maharaj, who also subsequently took out Heino Kuhn for a four-ball duck, suddenly halted the visitors as they slipped to 75 for three.
It was then left to Smuts to rebuild.
And the skipper did it brilliantly, first adding 48 with Dutch debutant Ryan ten Doeschate (17) for the fourth wicket, before another 42 was produced with Marco Marais (25 not out).
That ensured the Giants ended with a solid enough total.
However, a strong start by the Heat, who overcame the early loss of Wesley Marshall (3), through Alex Hales and Wihan Lubbe (31 off 11 balls) ensured that a sizable chunk of the target came in the first six overs. At the end of the powerplay overs it was 64 for two, including one over in which Lubbe pummelled Junior Dala (1/46) for 28.
Those early runs proved to be key as it allowed Miller and Vilas more time to settle.
They came together when the England opener finally fell just after the 100 was raised in the 11th over.
Together they added 44 for their team, bringing the equation down to 25 off 23 balls when Chris Morris (1/26) trapped the captain leg before wicket for 19.
However, Ravi Bopara (18 off 8 balls) and Miller saw their team home – with the highest total in an MSL game at Kingsmead.