Champions League T20
Gibbs blasts Cobras to victory
Chennai - Herschelle Gibbs plundered a sparkling half-century to lead the Cape Cobras to a seven-wicket win over the New South Wales Blues in their Champions League Twenty20 clash at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
Gibbs blasted his way to 55 off 47 deliveries with five fours and two sixes as the Cobras, chasing the Blues’ total of 135 for eight, romped to 136 for three with 16 balls of their innings remaining.
The 37-year-old Gibbs took his time to find his range on a two-paced pitch and he scored just one run off the first 11 balls that he faced.
But he was soon at his exuberant best and he kicked into high gear by slamming a six and two fours off an over from 18-year-old fast bowler Pat Cummins as Gibbs brought up his 19th T20 fifty off 41 deliveries.
Gibbs seemed certain to see his team to victory but with just 24 runs needed to win Gibbs was dismissed in the 15th over when he hoisted a slower ball from Cummins to a leaping Moises Henriques at long-on.
Richard Levi and Gibbs shared in a first-wicket stand of 88 off just 9.3 overs before Levi, who had set the early pace in scoring 43 off just 27 balls with six fours and a six, chanced his arm once too often when he slapped a slower ball from medium-pacer Henriques straight to David Warner at long-on.
Owais Shah (3) departed five runs later when he bashed a full toss from leg-spinner Steven Smith straight down Warner’s throat at long-off before Gibbs’ departure left the Cobras on 112 for three.
But JP Duminy (14 not out) and Justin Ontong (11 not out) knocked off the remaining runs with few difficulties.
Vernon Philander had earlier starred with the ball as the Cobras restricted New South Wales to a gettable score.
Seamer Vernon Philander bowled wicket to wicket and earned his just reward to finish with figures of two for 21 off four overs and he played a vital role as New South Wales stumbled from an ominous-looking 82 for two after 10 overs to score just 53 runs for the loss of six wickets in the last 10 overs of the innings.
Veteran swing bowler Charl Langeveldt chipped in with two for 38 off four overs but his figures could have been far better if he had not had two catches dropped off of his bowling.
Philander and Langeveldt were ably supported by medium-pacer Justin Kemp (3-0-18-1), speedster Dale Steyn (4-0-26-1) and left-arm spinner Robin Peterson (4-0-20-1) as the Cobras recovered well after they had put down three catches inside the first five overs.
The Blues won the toss and elected to bat on a hot and humid day and Warner (20) and Shane Watson (34) gave the Australian outfit a solid start with an opening stand of 41 off 4.5 overs.
However, Warner was dropped by Shah at mid-on off the bowling of Langeveldt when he had scored 11 while Watson received two lives when he was dropped with his score on seven and 19.
The left-handed Warner eventually departed when he was caught at deep midwicket off the bowling of Langeveldt while Watson failed to build on his strokes of luck when he had an ugly swish across the line to a delivery from Peterson and was bowled.
Watson’s dismissal left the Blues on 65 for two which soon became 82 for three when Kemp, with his first ball of the match, had the left-handed Simon Katich (7) superbly caught by a diving JP Duminy at deep extra cover.
Daniel Smith (24) was bowled by Philander and in his next over Philander accounted for Ben Rohrer (8) in similar fashion after the left-handed batsman played a loose shot to a delivery that pegged back his middle and off stumps.
Steven Smith scratched about in scoring 16 off 19 deliveries before being caught by Gibbs at long-on off the bowling of Langeveldt in the penultimate over.
The Blues then lost two wickets in the last over of the innings when Steyn had Steve O’Keefe (1) caught by Shah at point before Henriques (18) was run-out off the last ball trying to run a single with the ball already in keeper Dane Vilas’s hands.