Spartans down NMB Giants to keep playoff hopes alive

By on December 9, 2018

Gihahn Cloete’s half-century kept the Tshwane Spartans hopes of clinching a playoff spot alive in the Mzansi Super League with a convincing 28-run win over the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at St George’s Park on Saturday evening.

Cloete struck a solid 65 from 59 balls (5×4, 2×6) which laid the foundation for the Spartans’ 165/4 in their allotted 20 overs.  The Standard Proteas T20 left-hander received solid support from Dean Elgar (32 from 21 balls), AB de Villiers (33 from 26 balls) and England captain Eoin Morgan (20 not out from 10 balls).

The Giants’ run-chase started in the worst possible fashion when Morgan’s England teammate, Jason Roy, was dismissed in the first over by Andrew Birch. The home team’s situation became even worse in the following over when Birch had Rudi Second caught by De Villiers to leave the Giants reeling at 8/2.

Giants captain Jon-Jon Smuts (26 of 17 balls) and Ben Duckett attempted a mini-recovery with a 42-run partnership for the third wicket before Smuts was caught-and-bowled by Lutho Sipamla for 26.

That precipitated a collapse that saw the Giants lose their next five wickets for 42 runs, including the run out of Duckett for 47 off 33 balls after a mix-up with Sisanda Magala.

The latter, though, produced an important cameo of 31 of 20 balls (2×4, 2×6) that ultimately denied the Spartans an all-important bonus point, which could be crucial in the eventual outcome of the league table.

Shaun von Berg was the leading wicket-taker for the Spartans with figures of 3/19.

The Spartans now have 16 points from eight matches and are in fourth place with the Giants one place ahead with 21 points. The Giants, though, have played one match more.