The Proteas exacted sweet revenge on the Springboks as they beat their rugby counterparts by 16 runs in the Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup on Thursday. TOM SIZELAND reports.
After losing the previous encounter by six wickets two years ago, the Proteas were in no mood to give any freebies away to their larger opponents, and sure enough it was a devastating conclusion as they blasted their way to 252-9 from their allotted overs. When Aaron Phangiso tries to bowl you a bouncer then you know there is no love lost, and that set the tone despite a late burst that saw the Boks get to 234-7.
Boosted by the addition of former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith to their side, the Pat Lambie-led Springboks were asked to have a bowl first in what was the third edition of the event. Mangaliso Mosehle, turning out in national colours for the first time, would be the first man to depart as he was run out, but Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis bullied the Bok attack with a vast array of big shots.
Perhaps it was what the Boks did when Du Plessis strode out to the crease that caused such a reaction, as they all proceeded to whip out some lollypops upon his arrival, clearly not too concerned about the ball-tampering charges against him for shining the ball with a mint in his mouth during the second Test against Australia last month. Wicketkeeper and former Bok captain Jean de Villiers even offered one to Du Plessis, to which the Proteas skipper accepted.
Du Plessis fell for 25 but Amla carried on and smacked five sixes and eight fours during his 97. The Boks literally had no answer to stop the onslaught, as former Boks and Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg even tried to bowl left-handed at one point to throw him off.
Things could have been different had Trevor Nyakane not been signing autographs on the boundary when there was a catching opportunity. The bubbly prop did offer a helping hand to Stephan Dippenaar however, as Nyakane was forced to field in his socks after the sevens star was slipping when he was bowling and had to use his shoes.
Carnage then followed from Dwaine Pretorius who needed little time to race to 47, helping his side to 252-9. Perhaps it didn't help that Rohan Janse van Rensburg went for 39 runs from his two overs. He should probably stick to dominating at inside centre for the Lions. (The Golden Lions, not the Highveld Lions). It's worth noting that this would have been the fifth-highest T20 total of all time, but not really. Butch James was the pick of the bowlers with 3-25.
Playing in front of 7 110 of the Newlands faithful, the Boks then strode out to bat and Pat Lambie and Liebenberg got off to an encouraging start, slapping the ball to all parts of the park. Lambie departed for eight, but Liebenberg looked as comfortable as any Proteas opener there has ever been, building up a promising stand with 'Die ander Faf' De Klerk. The scrumhalf was up for the challenge with an enterprising 32, while Liebenberg provided a handy 25.
With the required run rate escalating at an alarming rate, it was Imran Tahir who took the game away from the Boks altogether, walking away with merciless figures of 2-3. The result would have read much worse for the Springboks were it not for the efforts of Damian de Allende and Butch James, who blasted 60 and 44 respectively. There was simply too much to do for the Boks, however, even with Wayne Parnell and Kyle Abbott bowling spin.
After a disappointing 2016 that saw them lose eight matches, there was no reprieve on the cricket field for Allister Coetzee's men, falling 16 runs short.
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images