Albie Morkel scored a brilliant unbeaten 57 as Durban Heat came back from the dead to beat Tshwane Spartans by 2 wickets at Centurion on Wednesday. With Paarl Rocks having won with a bonus point earlier in the day, the Spartans v Heat clash in Centurion had nothing but pride on the line, and Morkel’s fiery innings ensured that the Heat finished the tournament on a winning note.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Tshwane Spartans opening pair of Gihahn Cloete and Andrea Agathangelou got their team off to a terrific start as they added 40 runs in the first five overs. Spin however halted the Spartans’ progress, with Aganthangelou bowled by Rashid Khan and Keshav Maharaj accounting for Cloete and Sikandar Raza soon after.
AB De Villiers had a reprieve on 22, when Kyle Abbott bowled him off a no ball with the Spartans total on 81 after 12 overs. That seemed to throw the Heat out of gear, as de Villiers went from 22 off 21 to 93 off 52 and propelled the Spartans to 188 with some breath taking shots. The last ball of the innings was another example of the Heat’s poor fielding, with Khaya Zondo dropping a straight forward chance on the deep cover boundary.
Rashid Khan and Keshav Maharaj claimed 2 wickets each and were easily the best bowlers on the evening.
Chasing a target of 189 runs, Durban Heat started badly as they lost Morne Van Wyk early for 6, caught by Cloete off Rory Kleinveldt for 6 runs.
Hashim Amla fell for a duck, well caught by Kleinveldt at slip, and Khaya Zondo and David Miller didn’t trouble the scorers too much either as the Heat slumped to 21/4.
Sarel Erwee and Heinrich Klassen produced some big hits before they departed, and the Heat looked dead and buried at 98/6 in the 13th over.
Albie Morkel and Keshav Maharaj somewhat resurrected the innings with some good batting and added 41 runs for the seventh wicket. It forced De Villiers to bring on Lutho Sipamla, who has been one of the standouts for the Spartans in this tournament, and the youngster responded by picking up Maharaj and Rashid Khan in the same over.
Kleinveldt had been having a good day with the ball and the field, but his final over was a terrible one, and brought Heat back into the contest. With 41 needed of 18 balls, Morkel, who knows Centurion very well from his time with the Titans, took 24 runs off the Kleinveldt over, leaving Heat with 16 to get in the last two.
The equation became relatively easier with five needed from the last over, but Eldred Hawken bowled superbly by giving away just three runs in the first four balls. However, like Abbott in the first innings, Hawken bowled a no ball, just when it appeared he had given the Spartans the edge after getting Abbott caught at cover.
From the free hit, Abbott and Morkel scampered through for the single required as the Heat emerged unlikely winners.
For the Spartans, Sipamla was their best bowler on the evening, with 3/37 in 4 overs.
For his exploits with the bat, Albie Morkel was declared the Man of the Match.