Christchurch - Both Richard Levi and Lopsy Tsotsobe made spectacular starts to the Proteas’ tour of New Zealand as the South Africans beat the Canterbury Wizards by 20 runs in a warm-up T20 match at the Hagley Oval, Christchurch, on Wednesday.
GALLERY: Proteas v Canterbury Wizards
It was the first international match to be played in Christchurch since the area was devastated by a succession of earth tremours.
Levi, making his debut in Proteas’ colours, smashed 63 off 32 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes to set up the Proteas’ total of 150/6.
Tsotsobe then took his first career hat-trick to have Canterbury reeling at 9/3. He finished his opening spell with figures of 4/9 in three overs to inflict a mortal blow from which the home side could not recover even if there was some courageous hitting from the lower order towards the end to narrow the margin of victory.
Tsotsobe is the eighth South African to take a hat-trick in a T20 match and the first to do so in South African colours. The first South African to do so was Ryan McLaren in the 2007 final of England’s domestic T20 competition.
There are other prominent names on this list including Makhaya Ntini, Charl Langeveldt and Imran Tahir who also performed the feat in county cricket. Ntini did it in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Proteas’ captain AB de Villiers was delighted with the successful start to the tour although he was quick to acknowledge that there is a lot of work to be done before Friday’s opening T20 International against New Zealand.
“This was exactly what we needed. We needed a competitive challenge and all the credit to Canterbury’s batsmen for fighting the way they did towards the end. It’s great for us to start the tour off on a winning note but we know that there is still a lot of work for us to do come Friday for the first International T20 against New Zealand.”
He was particularly delighted with the early form shown by Levi and Tsotsobe.
“Richard is a phenomenal batsman, he is an impact player and it is very exciting for us to have a player of his calibre at the top of the order. Most of the batsmen did have some sort of a feel of the conditions and hopefully the little bit that they experienced will help going into Friday’s match.
“Lopsy has just been outstanding. I don’t know how he does it so consistently, he just keeps taking wickets. It’s encouraging to see his early tour form and hopefully he continues to excel throughout the tour.”
match was played in Christchurch only a week ahead of the first
anniversary of the February 23, 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people in
the South Island city.