Diamond Eagles came up with a thoroughly professional display and began its campaign in the Super Eight with a five-wicket win over Somerset Sabres in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 championship at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday.
After the bowlers, led by paceman and Man-of-the-Match Cornelius de Villiers, did a splendid job in restricting Somerset to 132 for eight in 20 overs, Eagles coasted to a well-deserved win.
Wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk (47, 41b, 4x4, 1x6) seemed to have read the pitch better than others as he came up with the right blend of caution and aggression to play a key role in Eagles’ victory.
The shot of the evening was when he swung leg-spinner Max Waller effortlessly into the stands over mid-wicket. Perhaps, it was symbolic of the way Somerset struggled to stay in the match.
Waller did have his moment of joy when he lured Eagles’ captain Boeta Dippenaar to hit straight to long-off to make the score 77 for three in 11.1 overs. But, unfortunately for the English county, such moments were few.
Earlier, Wesley Durston (57, 32b, 10x4) batted with great freedom after Somerset, electing to bat, was rocked by de Villiers. He trapped opener Craig Kieswetter and Arul Suppiah leg-before, with his huge inswing in his first over.
Then, he got rid of Zander de Bruyn cheaply to leave Somerset struggling at 18 for three in fourth over. de Villiers bowled with great accuracy and swing, to finish with a four-wicket haul.
Slow bowler Thandi Tshabalala too chipped in with the prized wicket of captain Justin Langer who stepped out for an off-drive only to miss the line and get bowled.
Somerset was in the doldrums before a 77-run partnership between Durston and James Hildreth (31, 40b, 2x4) for the sixth-wicket gave some respectability to the total.
Somerset Sabres: C. Kieswetter lbw b de Villiers 8, J. Langer b Tshabalala 12, A. Suppiah lbw b de Villiers 0, Z. de Bryuyn c A. McLaren b de Villiers 2, J. Hildreth c Rossouw b Coetzee 31, P. Trego c & b Kruger 6, W. Durston c R. McLaren b de Villiers 57, B. Phillips c A. McLaren b Coetzee 0, A. Thomas (not out) 1, M. Waller (not out) 0; Extras: (lb-10, nb-2, w-3) 15. Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 132.
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-11, 3-18, 4-40, 5-52, 6-129, 7-131, 8-131.
Diamond Eagles bowling: Coetzee 4-0-24-2, de Villiers 4-2-17-4, Schalkwyk 1-0-9-0, R. McLaren 4-0-31-0, Tshabalala 3-0-14-1, Kruger 3-0-18-1, Bailey 1-0-9-0.
Diamond Eagles: M. VanWyk c Kieswetter b Alfonso 47, R. Rossouw c Alfonso b Willoughby 13, A. McLaren c Durston b Willoughby 13, B. Dippenaar c Durston b Waller 18, R. Bailey c Waller b Alfonso 29, R. McLaren (not out) 4, A. Kruger (not out) 0; Extras: (lb-8, w-1) 9. Total: (for five wkts. in 18.4 overs): 133.
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-46, 3-77, 4-126, 5-132.
Somerset Sabres bowling: Alfonso 3.4-0-20-2, Willoughby 4-0-29-2, Phillips 4-0-22-0, Waller 4-0-28-1, Trego 3-0-26-0.