Sunrisers successfully defend SA20 title with dominant display in final
Several sundowners were no doubt on the menu after the Sunrisers Eastern Cape successfully defended their SA20 title at Newlands on Saturday night.
The final outcome was a 89-run hammering as the Durban Super Giants, perhaps suffering the effects of a severe travel schedule in the last week, looked out of sorts, against a side whose intensity in the field is downright scary.
The Sunrisers, with two batters registering half-centuries, scored a very good 204/3, but the way in which they started the defence thereof, it would have been easy to think the target for the Super Giants was half of that total.
It was very similar to last Tuesday first Qualifier match between the two at the same venue, as the fury with which all of the Sunrisers fielded backed up some magnificent bowling by Dan Worrall and Marco Jansen.
Halfway through the power play, the Super Giants had already lost three wickets including that of Quinton de Kock, who by his high standards had a poor tournament.
There was some respite with Wiaan Mulder, who in contrast to De Kock, had an excellent tournament, who made 38 off 22 balls but with no support from the other batters and more brilliance in the field, the match quickly went the way of the Sunrisers.
Mulder was superbly caught by Jansen on the long-on boundary, a chance that only someone of his height could have taken. That was the first of two wickets in an over for Ottneil Baartman, with the dismissal of Heinrich Klaasen, trapped lbw first ball, virtually sealing the deal.
Baartman (18 wickets), Jansen (20) and Worrall (17) finished as the top three wicket-takers in the tournament, underlining another area of strength which sets the Sunriser side apart from the rest of the teams.
It was a perfectly paced innings from the Sunrisers, who through Jordan Hermann and Tom Abell’s second wicket partnership of 90 runs, provided the foundation from which the middle order power of Aiden Markram and Tristan Stubbs could launch.
Markram’s decision to bat was based less on conditions at the ground and more the psychological effect of putting runs on the board. The Super Giants, gave the Sunrisers an easy start with the left-arm spin of JJ Smuts, an over which went for nine runs.
The Super Giants will rue a couple of chances that went Abell’s way in the power play; the first saw him dropped at mid-on by Naveen ul-Haq, a difficult chance, but having gotten both hands to the ball, the lanky Afghanistan seamer should have grasped the chance.
The second opportunity was one that had a touch of controversy, with Keshav Maharaj telling the on-field umpire Steve Harris that he was unsure of a catch, which was sent to the TV official, who determined that slow-mo evidence wasn’t enough to give Maharaj the catch.
The Super Giants were already celebrating as they saw the replays on the big screen, with Maharaj claiming the ball had jammed his fingers into the turf.
Abell, made sure he took advantage of those opportunities, making his third half-century of the competition, an innings with plenty of innovative stroke play, that included overhead flicks for sixes, and a reverse flick for four against the spin.
Hermann was happy to play second fiddle, although his 42 still came at strike of 161.
Maharaj briefly got his team back into the contest dismissing Abell for 55 and Hermann in the 11th over. However Markram and Stubbs gave themselves a couple of overs, before unleashing several muscular blows at the back of the innings.
The pair scored 59 runs in the last four overs — part of 98-run partnership, off only 55 balls — with Stubbs hitting 56 off 30 deliveries, with four fours and three sixes, while Markram, like Hermann, scored 42 off 26 balls.
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