Chennai: Herschelle Gibbs plundered a sparkling half-century to lead Cape Cobras to a seven-wicket win over the New South Wales in their Champions League Twenty20 clash at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
Gibbs scored a brilliant 55 off 47 deliveries with five fours and two sixes as the Cobras chased down the Blues' total of 135 with 16 balls of their innings remaining.
Gibbs took his time to find his range on a two-paced pitch and he scored just one run off the first 11 balls that he faced. But hs soon was at his best as he changed the gear of the play by slamming a six and two fours off an over from fast bowler Pat Cummins as Gibbs brought up his 19th T20 fifty off 41 deliveries.
Gibbs seemed certain to see his team to victory but with just 24 runs needed to win Gibbs was dismissed in the 15th over when he hoisted a slower ball from Cummins to a leaping Moises Henriques at long-on.
Richard Levi and Gibbs shared in a first-wicket stand of 88 off just 9.3 overs before Levi, who had set the early pace in scoring 43 off just 27 balls chanced his arm once too often when he slapped a slower ball from Henriques straight to David Warner at long-on.
Owais Shah (3) departed five runs laterbefore Gibbs' departure left the Cobras on 112 for three. But JP Duminy (14 not out) and Justin Ontong (11 not out) knocked off the remaining runs with few difficulties.
Earlier Shane Watson and David Warner gave NSW a rollicking start, racing off to 41 for the first wicket in just under five overs. 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.