Isuru Udana defends 11 in nervy final over to secure Paarl Rocks' double

Isuru Udana celebrates a wicket Getty Images

Paarl Rocks 163 for 8 (Davids 46, Magala 2-35) beat Cape Town Blitz 161 for 9 (Nawaz 41, Fortuin 2-20) by two runs

The Paarl Rocks recorded a second win over their neighbours, the Cape Town Blitz, this season to move to second spot on the points table. Unlike the earlier encounter between the two teams this season, when the Rocks rolled the Blitz over for 84 runs, this fixture was much more competitive and hung in the balance until the final ball. The Blitz needed 12 off the final over and four off the last ball but fell two runs short. Despite the match being played at the Blitz's home ground, Newlands, the most famous fan was supporting the opposition. South Africa's national rugby captain, Siya Kolisi, was in the stands cheering on his friend, Rocks' captain Faf du Plessis.

Riaz's catch

Du Plessis was starting to look dangerous after scoring 21 runs off the first 17 balls he faced before he charged down the track to hit Gregory Mahlokwana over the top. Wahab Riaz was patrolling the boundary there and launched himself to his right, stuck out one hand and completed a stunning catch to end du Plessis' knock and start to pull the Rocks back.

Damage control

The Rocks lost Henry Davids halfway through their innings, but on 78 for 3, with James Vince at the crease, they would still have been eyeing a score over 180. Dwaine Pretorius' 16-ball 29 threatened to take them close but when he was dismissed, the Blitz put the squeeze on. They took five for 33 in 28 balls with some of the best fast bowlers in action. Sisanda Magala had Pretorius caught behind, Dale Steyn lured Isuru Udana into a pull and the top edge found its way into Quinton de Kock's hands, then Steyn yorked Vince, Magala had Sibonelo Makhanya caught at point attempting a cut and Riaz hit off stump as Mangaliso Mosehle missed a heave. The Blitz attack has been spoken about as the best in the tournament and in that burst, they showed why by limiting the Rocks to 163.

Philander the allrounder

A less spoken-about member of the Blitz attack is Vernon Philander, who proved his worth with the bat. He scored 33 runs off 25 balls and featured in a sixth-wicket partnership of 52 runs with Mohammad Nawaz to keep Blitz's chase on track. The highlight of Philander's innings were the two sixes he took off Tabraiz Shamsi, straight back over the bowler's head. Philander tried the same off Pretorius but was unsuccessful.

Last-over drama

Udana was the man tasked with defending 11 runs in the final over, and he made a good start when Nawaz holed out to long-off off the first ball. Udana could have a second wicket with his next delivery when Magala skied a chance but the Sri Lankan dropped the return catch and that's when the nerves started. A leg bye off the third ball meant the Blitz needed 10 off three, but Udana gave them a fourth with a wide. His legitimate fourth delivery was a dot ball so the Blitz's requirement was 10 runs off two balls and then Magala got an outside edge to third man that went for four. Six runs were needed off the final ball and Udana delivered another wide. That made the equation four off one but Magala could only manage to drive the ball along the ground and run one before he was run-out to give the Rocks a thrilling win.

Blitz 2nd innings Partnerships

1st34Q de KockJN Malan
2nd12MJ AckermanJN Malan
3rd1LS LivingstoneJN Malan
4th21LS LivingstoneAsif Ali
5th1VD PhilanderAsif Ali
6th52VD PhilanderMohammad Nawaz (3)
7th13Wahab RiazMohammad Nawaz (3)
8th18Mohammad Nawaz (3)SSB Magala
9th9SSB MagalaG Mahlokwana