The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants continued to showcase their power and precision by, to put it bluntly, massacring the Jozi Stars by nine wickets at the Wanderers on Saturday.
This latest defeat makes it four out of four for the increasingly toothless defending champions, who now look highly unlikely to defend the title they won last year.
There had been much fanfare over the Giants’ balanced, attacking and experienced squad going into this year’s tournament and coach Eric Simons is seemingly making them gel well.
The Stars were blown away by their varied attack, slumping to a fairly depressing 108 in 18.5 overs.
Only skipper Temba Bavuma showed any type of resistance, plugging away for a 31-ball 27, but there was literally nothing else to highlight in a pitiful batting effort.
It was nice to see the wily Imran Tahir bamboozling the lower order with fine figures of 3/23 though it was the seamers that landed the first punches.
In reply, the Giants galloped to their target in just 9.1 overs as a disheartened home team seemed to give up.
English dynamo Jason Roy showed a glimpse of his class to hit four fours and two sixes in his 31 off just 12 deliveries, before Aussie stalwart Ben Dunk and captain Jon-Jon Smuts (23 off 14) finished the job, ensuring the Eastern Cape franchise’s net run rate would skyrocket.
The Stars’ woes were compounded by 19-year-old quick Gerald Coetzee crying off with a hamstring injury after only bowling two legitimate deliveries.
Given his workload to date at the Knights this season, it’s probably the type of unfortunate affliction that was bound to happen.
Hopefully he’ll come back stronger.
Batsman of the game
It’s been a few lean years for Dunk, the 32-year-old left-hander who a couple of seasons ago lit up the Big Bash to get himself into the national team. Looking comfortable in this season’s MSL, he made a superb, unbeaten 50 off 30 balls, combining his sublime on-side play with some real power. If he and Roy can find their mojo together, this opening combo could become unstoppable.
Bowler of the game
Junior Dala might still divide opinion, but this skiddy seamer certainly does know how to grab attention. His spell of 3/19 was a compelling effort. Whacked for a six by Chris Gayle early in his spell, he followed it up with a gutsy, cracking yorker to dislodge the West Indian legend. He kept applying pressure and was rewarded with two late wickets.
There probably wasn’t one given how the Giants dominated from the outset, but Dala’s magnificent delivery to Gayle did seem to take the wind out of the Stars’ already ragged sails.