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by Cricket World & Cricket South Africa Tuesday 17 December 2019
The 39-year-old clobbered the quickest half-century of the campaign in the deciding match of 2019 as the hosts won by eight wickets, fittingly in the Cape Winelands.
Tshwane Spartans 146-5 – (20 Ovs) – (AB de Villiers 51 (37); Tabraiz Shamsi 2-29, Isuru Udana 2-24)
Paarl Rocks 148-2 – (14.2 Ovs) – (Henry Davids 77*, Dwaine Pretorius 43)
Result - Paarl Rocks won by 8 wickets
Chasing a modest target – kept to 148 thanks to outstanding bowling by Tabraiz Shamsi (2/29) and Isuru Udana (2/24) – veteran Davids blew away the bowling with 77 off 44 balls (8 fours, 4 sixes), including a 22-ball 50, as the Rocks won with more than five overs to spare.
“Henry is like a good bottle of red wine; he just gets better the later the tournament goes and with age,” Du Plessis said. “I was very proud of his performance tonight.
“And once again it was a different guy standing up and putting in a good performance, which has been the case pretty much in every game this season. It’s an unbelievable team performance.”
Du Plessis surprised most by opting to bowl first after winning the toss in front of a sell-out crowd. But his bowlers, led by Shamsi and Udana, all fired.
Only AB de Villiers managed to hurt the home side with his 51 off 37 balls (3 fours, 1 six), although that hardly hurt a confident home side, who eventually ran out as deserved winners of MSL 2.0.
“I know our attack pretty well and we’re a very good attack when it comes to taking pace off the ball,” the skipper explained. “I expected it to be a touch slower in the first innings and then hopefully at night the ball just starts skidding on. That’s exactly what happened.”
Davids then led a dominant showing for his side, and, with help coming from Dwaine Pretorius (43 off 20 balls), the home side won with a mighty 34 deliveries to spare.
“To finish the way we did was great. I though the last two games were our best games of the campaign,” Du Plessis added. “That’s what you want to do towards the end.
“There were fantastic team performances right the way through. We’ve lost a lot of so-called ‘name players’ along the way and the fact that all the guys just got together as a team and everyone chipped in on different occasions…it was a remarkable team effort.
“The standard of the MSL was very good and it’s important that we make sure this is a big priority for South African cricket.
“The talent that’s on display, the cricket that’s on display, overseas players and also the South African players. You don’t see that in a lot of tournaments where all your internationals are playing. Guys are bowling at AB de Villiers and it doesn’t get better than that.”
Du Plessis also had a special message to the people of Paarl, the best supported venue in the country during MSL 2.0.
“I have to thank them because they’ve been incredible this season,” he concluded. “They’ve been an amazing crowd all the way through, it’s a bit like a party when you play cricket here.”
Paarl Rocks - Henry Davids, Cameron Delport, Faf du Plessis(c), Dwaine Pretorius, Kyle Verreynne(wk), Sibonelo Makhanya, Isuru Udana, Ferisco Adams, Bjorn Fortuin, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kerwin Mungroo
Tshwane Spartans - Dean Elgar, Tony de Zorzi, AB de Villiers, Heinrich Klaasen(c)(wk), Pite van Biljon, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Corbin Bosch, Morne Morkel, Lutho Sipamla, Imran Manack
Start Time: 15:30
Toss: Paarl Rocks won the toss and decided to field
Venue: Boland Park, Paarl
Officials: Allahudien Paleker, Bongani Jele, Brad White, Stephen Harris, Gerhardus Pienaar
© Cricket World 2019