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The Chevrolet Warriors set the stage ablaze at Port Elizabeth with a spectacular display of cricket as they beat the Victoria Bushrangers by 28 runs inÂ Champions League T20 action. An all action half-century fromÂ Warriors' skipper Davey Jacobs ensured that the home side made full use of batting first, before Rusty Theron and Makhaya Ntini led the way with the ball to restrict the Aussie team to just 130 in their reply.
The Warriors won the toss and decided to stick to their usual game plan by electing to bat.Â Match six got off to a flier courtesy some big hitting by Jacobs. He got going from over number one as Australian T20 specialist Dirk Nannes conceded 17 runs giving the Warriors the best start imaginable. The skipper lead from the front and carried on the onslaught, walloping the bowlers for 9 boundaries and a six in his rapid fire innings. Jacobs paced his assault to perfection, blasting his way through the power play overs and then hitting the gaps and running hard between the wickets after the first six overs.
The Bushrangers were looking in a spot of bother with the score at 81 for no loss in the tenth over, however they managed to claw their way back into the game when Jacobs fell for 59 (39b) getting runout following a mix up with Ashwell Prince. The run rate began to slow down as the innings was falling apart at the seams with the Warriors losing a wicket in each over from the 10th to the 13th over. It was once again left to veteran keeper Mark Boucher to rescue the innings, and he would a willing partner in Johan Botha as the pair added 40 runs for the 5th wicket. Both batsmen fell within the spave of a couple of overs, but the Warriors did manage to put up a challenging total of 158. Andrew McDonald was the best bowler on show for the Bushrangers with figures of 2-22 in four overs, Nannes too recovered after the early onslaught to put up some very respectable figures on the board.
Victoria at the half way mark would have been pretty pleased with the way they were able to pull the Warriors innings back and chasing any target under 160 in T20 cricket is usually quite acceptable. The Warriors though had other plans and certainly did not allow Victoria any room for comfort. The bowling attack of the Warriors was right on the money from ball one and experienced ranger Makhaya Ntini was the first to strike a blow in the 3rd over with the wicket of Rob Quiney. Jacobs looked like he was running the whole show and could do nothing wrong. After an inspirational batting display, Jacobs took two absolutely stunning catches to get rid of Brad Hodge and Aaron Finch. Both catches were remarkable as he took them while he was airborne and it really exemplified the line "catches win you matches."
With exactly 100 runs to get in 11 overs, the BushrangersÂ were still hanging in there thanks to a partnership between Andrew McDonald and David Hussey. What really did seal the deal for the home side was the loss of David Hussey (29) and Andrew McDonald on consecutive deliveries. Justin Kreusch dug in a perfect yorker to Hussey and hit the base of the timber to send the woodwork flying and on the first ball of the next over, Andrew McDonald failed to clear the fielder in the deep giving Theron the first of his three wickets.
The other batsmen tumbled like a pack of cards with each of the six bowlers used finding themselves among the wickets. Juan "Rusty" Theron was the pick of the bowlers for Warriors as he took 3-22 in his four overs causing heavy damage to the batting line up of the Bushrangers as the men in blue lost five wickets for just eleven runs. The last wicket pair of Harwood and Nannes picked up some valuable late runs to ensure that their side did not suffer what could easily have been a heavier defeat.
The Warriors picked up their second win of the tournament and have a toe hold on a semi-final berth. They can convert that into a confirmed spot when they do battle with the Central Stags from New Zealand on Saturday. The Bushrangers are also meeting the Stags next, a few days earlier at Centurion on Wednesday, and that match between the Trans Tasman rivals already has a must win look to it for both sides, who have lost one each in the tournament thus far
Warriors: D. Jacobs, A.Prince, C.Ingram, M.Boucher, J.Kreusch, J.Botha, C.Thyssen, N.Boje, J.Theron, M.Ntini, L.Tsotsobe
Bushrangers: R.Quiney, B.Hodge, A.Finch, D.Hussey, A.McDonald, M.Wade, G.Maxwell, J.Hastings, C.McKay, S.Harwood, D.Nannes
Mini Scorecard :
Chevrolet Warriors 158/6 (20 overs, 7.9 runs per over)
Jacobs - 59 ( 39 ) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A. McDonald - 2/22
Boucher - 31 ( 28 ) Â Â Â Â Â Â D. Nannes - 1/25
Victoria Bushrangers 130/9 (20 overs, 6.5 runs per over)
Hussey - 29 ( 27 ) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â J. Theron - 3/22
A. Finch - 25 ( 20 ) Â Â Â Â Â Â M. Ntini - 2/33
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