Cape Town, December 5: Reeza Hendricks continued his purple patch by plundering 79 off 48 balls to set the Jozi Stars on their way to an upset 50-run bonus-point victory over Mzansi Super League leaders the Cape Town Blitz at PPC Newlands.
The competition's top run-getter entered the clash in Cape Town with back-to-back centuries in his previous two games and his performance, which included six sixes and five fours, helped the visitors amass 196 for four after winning the toss and batting.
The reply by the log leaders held no muscle as they were restricted to 146 all out - Australian all-rounder Daniel Christian the pick of the bowlers with four for 22.
It completed a comfortable win for the Stars and one that saw them leapfrog the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants into second place on the table, five points behind the Blitz.
All the hype heading into the game was regarding the highly-anticipated return of Chris Gayle for the Stars, but the West Indian superstar only managed a low-key six off nine balls on his return to the MSL T20 after missing the past five games due to other commitments.
It was then down to Hendricks as he continued where he left off in the last game to be named Man of the Match for the third game in a row. He shared in a 120-run MSL record stand with Rassie van der Dussen (42) for the second wicket, a partnership that began slowly before launching in the latter stages.
Christian (22), Pite van Biljon (22 not out) and Dane Vilas (11 not out) then pummelled some late runs as a thrilling 67 came from the final five overs.
That left the home side needing 197 for victory, but they struggled to find their gears. Centurion from the previous game Quinton de Kock ground his way to nine off 15 balls, while Janneman Malan hardly looked his fluent self during his innings-high score of 43 off 37 balls, particularly as the pressure began to build on the scoreboard.
He batted right through until the 16th over when the score was still a moderate 111, while at the other end key wickets like that of Dawid Malan (14) and Farhaan Behardien (14) had fallen.
Christian claimed two in two balls to end any outside hope of the Blitz, with Duanne Olivier doing the same when he was brought into the attack. The fast bowler ended with three for 38 and Nono Pongolo two for 17 as their side seized a comfortable win.