A superbly paced half-century from Aiden Blizzard was the highlight of the Hobart Hurricanes’ six-wicket win over Cape Cobras in the sixth match of the Oppo CLT20 2014. The platform for the chase of 185 was set by opener Ben Dunk’s half-century, before Blizzard timed the acceleration perfectly to take his team home in 19 overs. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M6 - CAPE COBRAS V HOBART HURRICANES)
Facing an asking rate of 9.25 runs per over, the Hurricanes got off to a flying start with opener Dunk living up to his reputation of being a very dangerous batsman. The left-hander got the run-chase going with a square-driven boundary off the first ball. He was relentless in his quest for quick runs and was on the look-out for boundaries. He singled out left-arm spinner Robin Peterson for some special treatment, picking four boundaries in the fourth over of the chase.
By the time the openers were separated in the fifth over - when Tim Paine was dismissed for 7 – the Hurricanes had 51 on the board.
With a platform in place and the required run-rate kept in check, Dunk and Blizzard consolidated over the next few overs, adding 40 runs in 34 balls, before the former was dismissed. Dunk (54 from 35 balls) attempted to hit Engelbrecht over the top, but didn’t get enough elevation and holed out to the man patrolling the long-off boundary.
That dismissal gave Cape Cobras a chance to claw their way back into the match and they did so briefly, picking up the wickets of Shoaib Malik and Travis Birt cheaply. The team from South Africa were favourites to seal this one at this point, before one over cost them the match.
Blizzard, who had scored 46 from 38 balls, chose the 18th over – bowled by Vernon Philander – to cut loose. He deposited the first delivery of the over into the stands at long-on and attempted a similar stroke the following delivery. This time, the man on the fence clung on to the ball, only for the umpire to learn with aid from the TV Umpire that the bowler had over-stepped while delivering the ball, handing the batsman a lifeline. The freehit was duly sent into orbit and the fourth delivery of the over raced away to the point delivery. The Hurricanes, who needed 44 from 18 balls prior to the over, were faced with a manageable 20 from 12 balls at the end of the 24-run over.
Blizzard, who was in the zone by then, slammed two sixes in the 19th over to take his team home. He remained unbeaten on 78 (scoring 32 runs in the last ten balls he faced) and had the company of Jonathan Wells (17 from 10 balls) on the walk back after the mission had been accomplished.
Engelbrecht, who was the seventh of eight bowlers utilized by Cape Cobras on the night, was the most successful bowler, picking up three wickets. The Cobras had to rework their bowling plans when specialist spinner Dane Piedt injured his shoulder in his second over and couldn’t complete his quota of four overs.
Earlier in the evening, riding on all-round contributions in their lineup, Cape Cobras, who opted to bat first, finished their 20 overs with a commanding total of 184 for 6. Hashim Amla set the tone with two crisp boundaries and Omphile Ramela took over after his dismissal, hitting Doug Bollinger for two sixes and a boundary before he too departed in the fourth over.
The dangerous Richard Levi, who had hardly had a hit until then, joined in the run-scoring act in the fifth over when he picked up boundaries off consecutive Xavier Doherty deliveries. In the following over, Levi got stuck into Ben Hilfenhaus, hitting him for three boundaries as Cape Cobras raced to 62 for 2 when the field restrictions were relaxed.
Levi continued to make merry and added to his tally before he miscued a slower delivery from Joe Mennie and holed out to the man at midwicket; he made 42 from 30 balls in a knock studded with six boundaries and a six.
Dane Vilas, Justin Ontong and Sybrand Engelbrecht kept the scoreboard ticking as 42 runs added in the period between overs 11 and 16. Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander gave the innings some much needed thrust in the end, adding 52 runs in the final four overs. While Peterson improvised with some nifty footwork to score 25 from 14 balls, Philander, batting at number eight, punished the loose deliveries to remain unbeaten on 32, made from 14 balls.
Xavier Doherty was the pick of the Hobart Hurricanes bowlers; the left-arm spinner conceded only 29 runs in his four overs. Ben Hilfenhaus and Ben Laughlin picked up two wickets each, while Bollinger and Mennie chipped in with a wicket apiece.
Hobart Hurricanes win by 6 wickets
Brief Scores: Cape Cobras 184-6 in 20.0 Overs (Richard Levi 42, Dane Vilas 25, Robin Peterson 25*, Vernon Philander 32, Ben Hilfenhaus 2-49, Ben Laughlin 2-31) lost to Hobart Hurricanes 186-4 in 19.0 Overs (Ben Dunk 54, Aiden Blizzard 78*, Sybrand Engelbrecht 3-20)
Man of the Match: Aiden Blizzard, for his unbeaten 78 (48 balls).
Paine: "It was terrific batting. I thought we should have kept them to 160. We bowled poorly at the start and the finish, but the bowlers will recover. Hopefully we'll get a bit of momentum going in this tournament."
Ontong: "I felt for 80%, we had the game. You can't afford no balls in T20 cricket. A couple of mishaps in the field, but I thought we put up a good show today and I'm proud of the boys. It's very disappointing to come out on the losing side again. A wonderful effort from Hobart, and you can't stop Blizzard when he's in that sort of form."