The Gestetner Diamond Eagles survived a lurching collapse with the bat to beat the Eastern Cape Warriors by 61 runs in their Standard Bank Pro20 match at Goodyear Park in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
Despite losing eight wickets for 53 runs and giving part-time bowler Arno Jacobs the best ever figures in Pro20 cricket, the Eagles then defended 174 for eight as they kept the Warriors batsmen under severe pressure.
The well-travelled Murray Goodwin was the only Warriors batsman to hit the ball with any meaning, with four fours in his 32 off 24 balls, but he also enjoyed some outlandish luck. Eagles wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk seemed to have caught him first ball off Ryan McLaren, but told the umpires he may have spilt the ball while tumbling over, which proved the case once the third umpire had a look.
Van Wyk spilt another chance off McLaren when Goodwin had 10, while Cliffie Deacon bowled him with a no-ball on five and the Eagles fluffed a run out chance.
Jacobs was the only other batsmen to get runs on a fruitful evening for him, scoring 32, but it came off 36 balls.
The Eagles strangled the Warriors via their spinners, with Nicky Boje (4-0-25-1) and Thandi Tshabalala (4-0-15-1) once again outstanding as they gained notable turn. Even Jacques Rudolph enjoyed a three-over stint and finished with a somewhat astonishing three for 16.
Slow bowler Jacobs blew the Eagles away with the first five-wicket haul in Pro20 cricket, limiting them to 174 for eight, but still managed to end up on the well-beaten side.
Jacobs, who brought himself on as the sixth and final bowler, successfully undermined the Eagles innings after an opening stand of 121 off 83 balls between Van Wyk and Rudolph.
Jacobs, better known as a dashing left-hand batsman, bowled stealthy off-spin and returned the shock figures of five for 26.
The Warriors captain was helped considerably by fellow off-spinner Johan Botha, who bowled like a man who should be World Cup-bound as he took two for 22 in his four overs.
The Eagles' freakish collapse after Van Wyk and Rudolph had picked up runs at will and when a thundershower swept across the field after 8.2 overs, they already had 75 on the board.
Rudolph sent 10 fours and a six towards the crowd as he scored 66 off 45 balls and Van Wyk scored 50 off 39 deliveries.
But once Van Wyk was trapped leg-before by Jacobs as he missed a wild slog-sweep, the Eagles innings went off the rails.