Match Report

Sunrisers Eastern Cape Claim Thrilling Victory Over MI Cape Town

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape are up and running in the SA20 League after beating MI Cape Town by four runs in a thriller at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

John Goliath
John Goliath

Last Updated: 2024-01-16

Dillip Mohanty

Sunrisers Eastern Cape open SA20 account with thrilling MI Cape Town win

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape are up and running in the SA20 League after beating MI Cape Town by four runs in a thriller at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

The defending champions have had a tough start to the new edition of the tournament, with their first match rained out without a ball being bowled, before losing to the Durban Super Giants in their other home match.

But, on a windy night in South Africa’s Mother City, they finally got a tick in the wins column after this match went down to the wire.

It was a high-scoring affair that eventually came down to the final delivery after the Sunrisers had posted an imposing 202/2 thanks to a magnificent century by opening batsman Jordan Hermann.

MI Cape Town needed five runs off the last ball, but fast bowler Ottniel Baartman, after being hit for a six off the first ball of the 20th over, kept his nerve with a brilliant leg-stump yorker to see his team over the line.

MI Cape Town have now won one match and lost two in the tournament so far.

Hermann scored the fifth century in the short history of the tournament, but didn't get carried away when about the achievement at the post-match press conference.

Not even talk of a possible Indian Premier League (IPL) contract could bring out a bit if emotion. In fact, he heaped a lot of praise on his team for pulling the game out of the fire.

"Of the other four guys who scored centuries, I’m probably the odd one out. It was very special, but I’m just happy we ended up on the winning side, otherwise it was pointless," Hermann said.

"I’m more focussed on what it means for the team. The guys bowled so well at the death. I’m proud of the way we executed tonight. I don’t really want to focus on personal milestones.

"I’m just trying to stay in the moment and put in another performance for the team. That is the most important thing is to help the team win, what happens after that (a possible IPL contract) is up to fate."

Hermann and the other players on both side must have been very happy with the Newlands surface following the amount of criticism it suffered following the New Year's Test between South Africa's Proteas and India, which lasted just over a day and a half - the shortest Test in the history of the game.

Sunrisiers’ new opening pair doing the business

The Sunrisers made change at the top of the order with England T20 star Dawid Malan coming for compatriot Adam Rossington, who opened the batting in the first two matches, of which one was rained out.

And the change seemed to do the trick as the Sunrisers got off to a flyer in the power play. The young Hermann was the aggressor, as he and Malan hit nine runs off the first over bowled by Proteas superstar Kagiso Rabada.

They also hit 15 off the fourth over which was bowled by Liam Livingston, as the left handers took a liking to the spinner’s bowling.

The pair hit 53 in the powerplay, but they weren’t done yet. It was definitely their plan to take on the dangerous George Linde, the local left-arm spinner in the MI Cape Town line-up.

The two lefties enjoyed the ball turning into their pads and peppered leg side boundary despite the strong wind.

The two produced a stand of 138, before Malan (53 runs off 37 balls) got out to an innocuous delivery by MI Cape Town captain Kieron Pollard. The ball came out at 100km/h, which Malan mistimed straight back to the big West Indian all-rounder.

Hermann gave Malan a lot of credit for keeping him calm at the crease in front of a rather noisy Cape Town crowd that got right behind their team.

"There is a reason why he (Malan) was the number one T20 batsman in the world. He kept me so calm to stay in the moment. He took a lot of pressure off me by being calm and composed on the other side," Hermann said.

"It’s quite tough playing in front of that sort of crowd, you can get lost to be honest, knowing how big the occasion is.

"I tried to learn from previous experiences. The crowd can eat you up if you don’t stay in the moment. To focus on the team and not yourself makes it a lot easier."

Hermann the Sunrisers’ star

The Sunrisers lost Aiden Markram shortly after Malan, which saw the innings stall a bit, partly also because Hermann was starved of the strike for a while.

But Herman’s knock of 106 of 62 balls (8x4, 6x6) was one of the great T20 innings by a young player seen at Newlands. He could hardly walk as he scampered back for two to go to his century and also the highest individual score for the Sunrisers in the history of this competition.


MI Cape Town openers start with a bang … again

MI Cape Town would have backed themselves to do the business and chase down the score after going past the 200-mark in each of their first two matches.

Ryan Rickelton and Rassie van der Dussen was again quickly out of the blocks, with both players regularly hitting the ball out of the park with ease.

Rickelton went to his third consecutive 50 in this season’s competition, the first player to do so in the short history of the SA20 League.

The power play has been a massive positive for MI Cape Town coach Robin Peterson, who favours an aggressive brand of cricket.

"I thought we started well in the powerplay. It was an area in our batting that we struggled with last season," Peterson said after the match.

"This was the third game in a row where we dominated. Normally as a tournament progresses, the bowling gets better, tonight we were probably not at our best as a unit."

Baartman strikes to get Sunrisers back in the game

But Rickelton couldn’t capitalise on his start, as he did in the previous matches against the Durban Super Giants and Joburg Super Kings.

He was the first MI Cape Town player to fall victim to the wind, holding out to Markram in the deep after smoking a Baartman shortball baseball style.

Proteas all-rounder Marco Jansen then peppered new MI Cape Town batter Dewald Brevis with a few short balls, and managed to get the young gun with a short ball, caught at fine-leg.

The home side then lost Van der Dussen (41 off 28 balls) and Liam Livingstone (2) in quick succession. The Sunrisers believed again.

Pollard, Curran knocks not enough ...

Senior pros Sam Curran and Pollard came together in the crisis and slowly started to rebuild the innings before teeing off again.

Englishman Curran was promoted in the batting line-up, which is something we could see more of as the season progresses.

"I think Sam is always used as floater and in different situations. He has been batting well this year and is a dynamic left-hander," said Peterson.

"We thought sending Sam in gives us an opportunity of tackling the left-arm spin of Liam Dawson and to win the game for us, which he almost did because he has a good head on his shoulders and he makes good decisions."

Pollard mistimed a few shots over the boundary for six, while Curran provided the class with touch and his power game. The two shared a 50 partnership, but Pollard got out at the wrong time.

The big West Indian mistimed another big hit, but this time straight down the throat of Marco Jansen.

MI Cape Town required 15 off the last over after Curran hit a big six off the last ball of the 19th over.

New signing Conor Esterhuizen gave them more hope with a six off Baartman’s first ball. However, the big fast bowler managed to close out the over without conceding another boundary to give his team the win.


John Goliath
John GoliathSenior Sports Writer and Editor

John Goliath is a copywriter and editor with 20 years' experience in the sports media industry. John, a Tottenham Hotspur tragic, studied journalism in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and has worked for two of the biggest media houses in South Africa.