A brilliant spell of seam bowling by new Proteas star, Nandre Burger, helped World Sports Betting Western Province claim a thrilling two-run win on the opening night of action in the 2023/24 CSA T20 Challenge.

The fast bowler conceded a miserly 13 runs in his fine four-over exhibition as the Cape side overcame Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Hollyboodbets Kingsmead Stadium in Durban. Other strong performances with the ball by Kyle Simmonds and another new South Africa face, Mihlali Mpongwana, played a key hand in the final outcome.

The former claimed two for 18 in four overs and the latter, who also made the national squad this season though he has yet to play, took two for 22 to restrict the hosts to 146/7 chasing 149 on the east coast.

In fact, both all-rounders played a key hand in helping their side to a first-innings score of 148/8 after they won the toss and batted.

Mpongwana hit 22 and Simmonds notched up 24, with the pair two of only three players to cross the 20-mark along with top-scorer Jonathan Bird (40) – their side eventually escaping with a narrow win.

Elsewhere on the opening night, there was an impressive win for defending champions, the Momentum Multiply Titans, after they beat Auto Investment North West Dragons with relative comfort by 13 runs in Centurion.

Batting first after losing the toss, the home side recorded 169 for seven with Proteas T20 captain Aiden Markram (40) top-scoring, followed by Rivaldo Moonsamy (35) and Dewald Brevis (29).

Migael Pretorius was the best of the bowlers for the away side with three for 18.

Seasoned South Africa spinner Tabraiz Shamsi then replicated those figures for the Titans, with support from Junior Dala (3/30), to keep the Dragons at bay on 158/8 to give the Centurion-based side a solid opening win. Yet another rookie Proteas, Raynard Van Tonder, was the top-scorer for NW as he struck 48 off 33 in a losing cause.

Up the road in Johannesburg, meanwhile, recently crowned CSA 4-Day Series champions, DP World Lions, a confident top-order showing inspired by Ryan Rickelton’s dashing 75 (39 balls, 6 fours, 5 sixes) gave the home side a big 43-run win over Gbets Rocks at DP World Wanderers Stadium.

Batting first, the hosts posted 223/5 thanks also to Reeza Hendricks (28), Temba Bavuma (26), Rassie van der Dussen (42*) and Wiaan Mulder (22*).

Janneman Malan (61 off 41 balls, 4 fours, 3 sixes) was the best batter for the Paarl-based team, but the night belonged to one of the country’s brightest new names, Kwena Maphaka, after he claimed three for 22 to ensure the Rocks were restricted to 180/7.

The 17-year-old was one of the stars of the recent ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 held in South Africa where he ended as the top wicket-taker.

In the night’s final game, Dafabet Warriors beat AET Tuskers by 37 runs in Gqeberha where Marco Jansen and Siya Simetu were the stars of the show.

The pair shared seven wickets between them with South Africa all-rounder Jansen claiming four for 19 and spinner Simetu taking three for 25 to blow away the KwaZulu-Natal side for 88 in 16.4 overs.

This was in pursuit of 125 all out at Dafabet St George’s Park, which the home side got to thanks mainly to top three Matthew Breetzke (25), Jiveshan Pillay (29) and Jordan Hermann (21).

Smangaliso Nhlebela (3/17) and Alindile Mhletywa (3/19) were key in the Tuskers’ bowling display, but their efforts were ultimately not enough.

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