Champions League T20
Warriors off to perfect start
Bangalore - The Chevrolet Warriors got their Nokia Champions League T20 campaign off to the perfect start when they beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 3 wickets in their opening Group B match on Friday.
By any standards it was a famous victory. To beat Bangalore on their home turf was a huge achievement and it must have been extremely heartening for new national coach Gary Kirsten to see several of his Proteas showing outstanding form without having had any match practice of note.
Ashwell Prince was named Nokia Man of the Match for his innings of 74 off 55 balls – he also received the Toshiba award for the biggest six of the match (84 metres) – and it was his partnership with captain Johan Botha (42 off 24 balls) that put the Warriors in a position to win.
By contrast the big batting stars of Bangalore – Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – all got starts but failed to go on to substantial scores.
The Warriors, after losing their way early in the innings, fought back strongly and scored 109 runs in their last 10 overs in pursuit of a challenging target of 173. When Nicky Boje hit a six off the last ball of the 19th over, the Warriors went into the last over needing just 7 runs off 6 balls. Botha then failed to score off the first two balls and was dismissed off the third but then Boje took a single before Wayne Parnell hit a four and a two off the last two balls to get his side home to a thrilling victory.
Parnell’s form was a major plus looking ahead at the international season. He is looking fitter and stronger than he has at any time since his long-term injury in 2010. He came on to bowl at first change and achieved the almost impossible in starting with three dot balls to danger man Chris Gayle before having him caught off his fourth ball – a slow bouncer. He only went for 12 runs in his first two overs in the batting power play.
Parnell achieved a top speed of 143km/h which shows that the Proteas do have back-up fast bowling for Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Lonwabo Tsotsobe was timed at 139km/h which is also good quality pace.
Rusty Theron was savaged by Gayle in his first over but came back superbly to finish with 4/29 in three overs, three of those wickets falling in the 19th over.
The Warriors play their second match against the South Australia Redbacks on Sunday (12.30pm CAT).
The other South African franchise, the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, play their first match in Group A against the New South Wales Blues on Saturday (12.30pm CAT).