Jozi Stars 131 for 9 (Vilas 43, Harmer 25, Rashid 3-19, Abbott 2-17) beat Durban Heat 128 all out (Erwee 62, Rabada 3-29, Harmer 2-20) by one wicket
Needing 12 runs to win off two deliveries, Jozi Stars’ No. 9 batsman Nono Pongolo smashed consecutive sixes off Durban Heat’s Marchant de Lange to pull off a miraculous one-wicket win in the Mzansi Super League. It was Stars’ fourth win in a row, as they leapfrogged to second place on the points table.
Pongolo first hammered a waist-high full toss for a six over backward square in the penultimate ball of the 20th over, but the umpire called it a no-ball for height. With the equation drastically changed – from 12 off two balls to only five off two – Pongolo clattered the next delivery, a free hit, over fine leg to script a remarkable come-from-behind win that left the Durban crowd shocked.
Heat, already out of contention for a play-off spot, produced a tight effort with the ball to put Stars on the back foot early. Defending 128, Heat’s maverick legspinner Rashid Khan bowled 15 dot balls in a four-over spell to keep a rein on Stars’ top order. Reeza Hendricks, who smacked fifty-plus scores in his last four outings, followed his opening partner Chris Gayle into the pavillion early this time around. The middle order joined them soon, with Stars’ score reading 58 for 6.
However, Stars captain Dane Vilas held up one end, rotating the strike with the lower order to take his team close to the 129 target. When Vilas fell for 43 with eight deliveries to go, Stars still needed 15 runs with two wickets in hand. When de Lange bowled Kagiso Rabada in the 20th over’s second delivery, it seemed like Heat would finally snap their five-game losing streak, but Pongolo ensured the hosts remained winless for a sixth-straight game.
Bottom-placed Heat, though, displayed much character despite the result. After Rabada’s 3 for 29 had bowled them out for 128 in the first innings, their bowlers rallied around Rashid’s spell to make scoring difficult for Stars. Kyle Abbott took 2 for 17 while Keshav Maharaj went for only 4.50 per over. De Lange, however, was the team’s weak link on the day, conceding 22 off his first two overs and 16 off his third. That allowed Stars to break free, especially in the game’s all-important final over.
Heat would also be disappointed with their eventual total of 128. Sarel Erwee’s 39-ball 62 helped them proceed at over 10 per over in the Powerplay, but a batting collapse, including eight single-digit scores, painted a familiar picture of their season. From 95 for 4 in the 14th over, they were bowled out 33 runs later in the 19th, having completely lost their way with the bat.