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By Heinz Schenk


Ruthless Stars gallop to first MSL title

Johannesburg's well-balanced franchise skillfully exploit the brittle Cape Town Blitz's batting as South African cricket savour a promising first T20 tournament.

The Jozi Stars illustrated vividly that a well-balanced line-up remains one of the more reliable winning recipes in T20s as they claimed the inaugural Mzansi Super League title at Newlands on Sunday.

Enoch Nkwe’s troops emphatically disposed of the Cape Town Blitz by eight wickets.

While they were arguably given an early foothold by Blitz skipper Farhaan Behardien in bowling first on a slow surface, the Stars bowlers nonetheless took full advantage.

The road to victory was paved at the end of the second over already when Quinton de Kock skied Beuran Hendricks (2/21) to midwicket.

Not only was that a massive wicket, it essentially took down the last pillar of the Blitz’s batting.

The Capetonians had been paving over the cracks with the absence of fellow opener Janneman Malan, who has been laid low by a virus the whole week.

De Kock and Malan have scored approximately half of the Blitz’s runs in this whole campaign, showcasing how badly the home side have relied on them.

Once the Proteas wicketkeeper was gone, there was little other resistance.

Kyle Verreyenne (23) and Behardien (23) had threatened to add some respectability to the batting effort before Stars captain Dane Vilas cleverly brought back the immaculate Kagiso Rabada (1/16) to end the stand.

By the time they had slumped to 91/7, it was purely an exercise of survival.

The magnificent Dale Steyn (1/20) gave the Blitz some hope, castling Ryan Rickelton with a lovely delivery that just nipped away slightly.

But the undemanding target of 114 meant Reeza Hendricks (33) and Rassie van der Dussen could first consolidate and then flourish as the hosts lost heart.

Van der Dussen was skillful in compiling his unbeaten 59 off 54.

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