Composed Elgar leads Spartans to derby MSL win over Stars

Often pigeonholed by many as a Test player, Dean Elgar showed his versatility with an array of shots and composure to get the Spartans over the line on a tricky surface.

South African batsman Dean Elgar celebrates scoring a century. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas batsman Dean Elgar's well constructed 79 runs off 52 deliveries ensured a four-wicket win for the Tshwane Stars over the Jozi Stars in their Gauteng Mzansi Super League derby at SuperSport Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Often pigeonholed by many as a Test player, Elgar showed his versatility with an array of shots and composure to get the Spartans over the line on a tricky surface.

Asked to bat first by the Spartans, the Jozi Stars made a great start to their innings, racing to 53 runs in the six-over power play, with Proteas batsmen Reeza Hendricks and young left-handed Lions opener Ryan Rickleton scoring freely off the pace bowling of Lutho Sipamla and Corbin Bosch.

Hendricks was particularly aggressive while Rickleton was happy to drop anchor at the other end. The latter was the first to go, caught by wicketkeeper Gihahn Cloete off a bat-pad deflection for 14 off 19 balls. Rassie van der Dussen was the next man to go for a run a ball 18 but Hendricks was keeping the innings together as he passed the 50 run mark from 40 deliveries.

Sri Lankan spinner Jeevan Mendis provided the breakthrough dismissing Hendricks for a well played 55 in his return spell that put the brakes on the Jozi Stars innings, but a blistering partnership of 70 in 40 balls between captain Dane and Pite van Biljon gave the innings a much-needed boost on a relatively slow wicket to eventually finish on 186/5.

The Spartans got off to a rocky start losing opener Gihahn Cloete to a rip snorter of a yorker from the number one ranked Test bowler Kagiso Rabada for 5. Offspinner Simon Harmer then got into the thick of things removing Corbin Bosch who was elevated up the order and Theunis de Bruyn in consecutive deliveries.

But the experience of Elgar and AB de Villers shone through with a partnership 68 off 38 that essentially took the game away from the Jozi Stars. De Villiers was eventually out for a threatening 39 off 21 deliveries but Elgar remained solid at the other, finishing unbeaten on 79.

The Spartans next face the log-leading Cape Town Blitz at home on Saturday.