Former South Africa opener Herschelle Gibbs blazed his way to a 47-ball 55 as Cape Cobras cantered to a seven-wicket win over New South Wales in their Champions League Twenty20 match in Chennai on Saturday.
Chasing a modest 136 for victory, Gibbs along with fellow opener Richard Levi gave their team a flying start, raising 88 runs for the first wicket in mere 57 deliveries, and the match was as good as over by the time the latter got out.
In the end, JP Duminy was unconquered on 14 off 16 balls, while Justin Ontong made an unbeaten 11 off 14, as the Cobras romped home with 16 balls to spare.
While Gibbs' knock was laced with five boundaries and two sixes, Levi, who was as aggressive as his famed partner till the time he was at the crease, struck 43 off 27 balls with the help of six fours and a six.
Such was the onslaught of Gibbs and Levi that the South African outfit raised their fifty in the sixth over. The run-rate jumped thereafter as they went past the 100-run mark in just 70 deliveries with Gibbs leading the charge.
With Gibbs and Levi in such murderous mood, most of the NSW bowlers suffered.
Opening bowler Nathan Hauritz was never brought back into the attack after he went for 25 in his two overs, Steve O'Keefe was slammed for 14 runs in single over while Mitchell Starc conceded 22 in three overs.
Earlier, New South Wales wasted a brisk start from their openers as they were restricted to 135 for eight in their allotted 20 overs.
Batting first after the coin landed in their favour, Shane Watson and David Warner gave NSW a rollicking start, racing off to 41 for the first wicket in just under five overs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
But the Australian outfit lost the grip after the dismissal of their top three batsmen. Some disciplined bowling, especially by Vernon Philander (2-21) and Justin Kemp (1-18), only made life difficult for NSW who had won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2009.
Robin Peterson (1-20) and Dale Steyn (1-26), too, returned with economical figures after the early onslaught. While Watson top-scored for NSW with a 29-ball 34, which included four boundaries and a six, his partner Warner made 20 off 13 balls. The left-hander hit two fours and a six.
After Charl Langeveldt (2-38) and Peterson dismissed Warner and Watson respectively, Daniel Smith kept the scoreboard moving but his dismissal to Philander at a crucial juncture spoilt NSW's plans.
Smith slammed 24 off a mere 16 deliveries and struck two fours and a six. Much was expected of skipper Simon Katich, but he failed to deliver when it mattered, falling prey to Kemp.
Steven Smith and Moises Henriques made 16 and 18 respectively to take NSW to a respectable score.
Langeveldt and Philander finished with two wickets apiece while Peterson, Steyn and Kemp took a wicket each.