Port Elizabeth - The Chevrolet Warriors began the defence of their MTN40 cricket title with a dramatic four-wicket Pool A victory over the Nashua Titans at St George's Park on Sunday.
After appearing to be cruising to their victory target of 213 with relative ease, the Warriors found themselves pegged back by the spin duo of Roelof van der Merwe and Faf du Plessis.
They eventually needed seven off the last over bowled by Du Plessis and debutant Kelly Smuts ended the nervous wait for the home crowd by clubbing a four over mid-wicket on the fourth delivery of the over to seal the victory.
Smuts ended unbeaten on 22.
Captain Davy Jacobs carried on where he left off in the Champions League to blast 58 from 41 balls at the top of the innings.
He battled initially, but once he struck the first of his four sixes, he timed the ball to perfection and clubbed four fours as well.
His quick-fire partnership of 80 with Arno Jacobs (26) for the second wicket got the Warriors off to a flyer and allowed Ashwell Prince (45) and Justin Kreusch (36) to chip away at the target.
Prince and Kreusch paced the chase clinically and posted 79 for the fourth wicket.
But when Prince was dismissed in the 37th over with a rank long-hop from part-time spinner Henry Davids, the Warriors needed 24 runs to win from the remaining 18 balls.
But Kelly Smuts displayed calmness beyond his tender age of 20 to guide the Warriors home.
Earlier, Jacques Rudolph steered the Titans to 212/7 with a classy 85.
It was Rudolph's 15th half-century in this format of the game and the lefthander was unlucky not to have reached his fourth ton when he got out leg-before-wicket to the left-arm spin of Jon-Jon Smuts. He hit six four in his 95-ball stay at the crease.
Former Cobras batsman Henry Davids contributed 18 in the middle before lower order batsmen Roelof van der Merwe (36 ) and David Wiese (39 not out) gave the innings momentum with some power hitting at the death.
Wiese was particularly aggressive in smashing his runs off only 26 balls including four fours and two sixes.
The pair shared an unbeaten stand of 69 runs off only 42 balls to help the Titans to their competitive total. It was also the biggest partnership of the innings.
Left-arm spinner Nicky Boje was the best of the Warriors bowlers claiming one for 36 in his eight overs.