The Mzansi Super League finally got underway in Cape Town last night.
Cape Town Blitz hosted Tshwane Spartans at Newlands, and the atmosphere was electric by all accounts. It was a great evening, great fun and a great atmosphere. The Cape Town crowd never disappoints with filling out a ground, and last night was no exception, there was a good turnout on a windy and cloudy Cape Town evening.
There was also the small matter of one, AB de Villiers making a return to the cricket field for the first time since announcing his shock retirement earlier this year. Captaining the Tshwane Spartans, AB won the toss and put CT Blitz in to bat.
Cape Town Blitz, missing their Protea stars, like Dale Steyn went in with a young side. CT Blitz were in a spot of bother at 64-3 in the 9th over before Pakistani wildcard Mohammad Nawaz came to the crease, and together with young, 21-year old Kyle Verreynne, they pair rescued the CT Blitz’s innings with some terrific shots, and some great running between the wickets.
A concern that was raised earlier in the match was how these players, who haven’t played together before, would communicate, but with Verreynne and Nawaz, despite not having played together before, ran incredibly well together.
Mohammad Nawaz brought up the first half-century of the MSL 2018 edition, and it was his maiden T20 fifty off only 33 deliveries. It was a fantastic innings with some great, positive batting. Kyle Verreynne then scored his maiden T20 fifty, as he and Nawaz had put on a 100 run stand.
Cape Town Blitz put on a very impressive 180-4 in their 20 overs, and then all eyes turned to de Villiers.
The Spartans never got their innings going, with early wickets falling, but once AB came out to bat, the momentum started to shift. He continued on from the same form from the practice match the other night as he brought out one incredible shot after the other. Switch hit, reverse sweep, you name it, AB was in seriously good touch. He went on to score 59 off 30 deliveries before Ferisco Adams changed the course of the match with two deliveries.
First, AB holed out on the boundary when the required run rate was climbing, and then the next delivery, removed Rilee Rossouw, clean bowled for 15.
The Spartans then proceeded to collapse at the back end of their innings, going from 116-4 when AB was dismissed, to 131 all out. All of their big-hitting, power players could do nothing but swing and miss, as Anrich Nortje bowled with incredible pace and skill.
Cape Town Blitz won the opening game of the MSL 2018 by 49 runs. It was an impressive, all performance from a young side, who batted, fielded and bowled better than the Spartans.
The MSL is officially underway. For this tournament to be a true success though, it needs superstars to perform, AB showed the way in the first match, we need the likes of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo to follow suit.