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Blitz maintain 100% MSL record

The Giants managed 132-6 in the 16 overs they were reduced to, it was the Port Elizabeth franchise’ first loss of the MSL.

Cape Town Blitz fast bowler Dale Steyn celebrates the fall of a wicket. Picture: @MSL_T20/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town Blitz made it three wins from three in the Mzansi Super League (MSL) after beating the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants by 12 runs (DLS method) at Newlands.

They remain the only unbeaten side in the competition. After winning the toss, skipper Farhaan Behardien elected to bat knowing that they had won at Newlands Friday past with the exact formula.

Opener Janneman Malan (20) vindicated his captain as he took a liking to the Giants' bowlers, blazing his way to a man of the match innings of 57 (39 balls), which included 10 fours and a six.

Malan was assisted by Andile Phehlukwayo (28), who was sent in unusually at number three and who struck some lusty blows while Asif Ali (22) also chipped in to haul the Cobras to 175/6 after their 20 overs.

The only Giants bowler who restricted the Blitz was Imran Tahir, who finished with figures of 1/18 in four overs.

The Giants' chase was immediately put on the back foot with Dale Steyn (1-21) bowling a fiery opening spell. He got the wickets of Marco Marais and JJ Smuts and pinged Heino Kuhn on the helmet for good measure.

Bizarrely, with the score at 49/2 in the 9th over, one of the Newlands floodlights failed which resulted in an enforced 15-minute interval. Unfortunately, the number of overs was reduced and suddenly the Giants had a new target of 145, meaning they required 96 runs off 44 balls.

After the break, Kuhn made a valiant effort, hitting seven 4s and a six before he was run out for a brave 55. Soon after Pakistani all-rounder Hussain Talat struck in consecutive balls to almost wrap up the match in the home side's favour.

Eventually, the Giants managed 132-6 in the 16 overs they were given. It was the Port Elizabeth franchise’s first loss of the MSL, while the Blitz continued on their merry way in the competition.

In the day’s other match in Durban, the Heat beat the Tshwane Spartans by 10 runs (DLS method).

VALUE OF MIXING WITH INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS

Malan explained the value of mixing with international players.

“The people around us, [whom] we're playing with and playing against have played a lot of T20s around the world. We can chat with them, not about just cricket but how they think about the game and sometimes its obvious stuff you don’t think about and it just makes sense.”

He says he feels staying in the Cape for the MSL has aided his form.

“I think it brings a lot of calmness… the coach knows my game and knows how I play so, it made the process quicker not going through the game with a new coach. So, it does help.”

Malan says he was inspired by other youngsters putting up their hand in the MSL.

“Maybe, coming into the tournament as a young guy, you don’t feel like one of the guys to perform but, after Ryan’s knock, it did give me confidence to see that one of us can make an impact on the game.”

Tahir shared what motivates him to perform for so many teams.

“I just get excited wherever I go because wherever you go is a new challenge. I’m lucky that everywhere I go people want me back and I just get excited to see that.”

Tahir was asked how long he will play international cricket for.

“I’d love to play over 10 years, but then I’d be lying to you. It’s just that, I’m ready to focus on the world cup and then I’ll see it from there. It’s just one of those big things [in life] to play for your country and actually participating in the world cup.”

Tahir says the Proteas were excited about the tournament whilst in Australia.

“We are very positive moving forward and we spoke about the league and talking to the players we’ve seen tonight, they were all very happy to be a part of it.”