Match Report

SA20: Durban Super Giants qualify for playoffs after Paarl Royals demolition

Heinrich Klaasen smashed the the fastest half-century in the SA20 League history and Noor Ahmad took a rare five-wicket haul as the Durban Super Giants demolished Paarl Royals.

John Goliath
John Goliath

Last Updated: 2024-01-28

Dillip Mohanty

Heinrich Klaasen smashed the the fastest half-century in the SA20 League history and Noor Ahmad took a rare five-wicket haul as the Durban Super Giants demolished Paarl Royals at Kingsmead in Durban on Sunday.

The Super Giants collected their third bonus point win a row with their 125-run over the Royals. It was also their second successive win over the Paarl side after following their 36-run victory in South Africa's Winelands on Friday night.

The Super Giants have become the first team to qualify for the playoffs, and look odds on to finish in the top two, which is an easier path to the final. They are now on 28 points from their eight matches, six points ahead of the Royals, who have gone off the boil in their last two matches against the Durban side.

The Super Giants posted a massive 208/7 following magnificent half-century by Matthew Breetzke (78 off 43 balls), which set the platform for Klaasen (50 off 17 balls) to come in and pump the Royals' bowlers to all parts of Kingsmead.

The pitch wasn't exactly a 200-run wicket, as it took a lot of turn. And Afghanistan left-arm wrist spinner Ahmed (5/11) caused havoc in the conditions, destroying the Royals' middle and lower order.

His figures was the second best in SA20 history, with only former Sunrisers Eastern Cape spinner Roelof van der Merwe's effort of 6/20 in the first edition of the tournament beating his spell.

Ahmed was also well-supported by Super Giants captain Keshav Maharaj, who finished with figures of 2/23 in his four overs.

The Super Giants are now going into the playoffs with a lot of confidence, with the whole team making big contributions.

They are top of of the log for a reason, and are going to take some stopping when we get to the business end of the competition. They have been clinical with bat and bowl and don't make many mistakes.

"At the start of the competition we told ourselves that we are probably the best team and we need to believe that and play like that," Breetzke said after the match.

"We are happy to be doing that, but it’s still early days and we need to keep performing."

It's clear to see that everyone has a specific role in the Super Giants' set-up. The fact that they are comfortable for a world-class player such as Klaasen to face only a handful of balls at the end of the innings is testament to that.

Most people believe that your best batsman should face the most balls, but nobody can play like Klaasen at the death. And it's worked for the Durban side over the last couple of matches.

"Lance Klusener (coach) is very clear about what he wants from us and everyone knows their roles pretty clearly. We all know what we need to do and that has probably been the biggest factor for us," Breetzke added.

For the Paarl Royals it's back to to the drawing board after two massive defeats against the Super Giants home and away. 

All is not lost as far as the top two places is concerned, because they have a couple of days off before finishing the round-robin stage with two matches against the third-place Sunrisers, who are three points behind the Paarl side, but have played one game less.

Essentially, their fate is still in their own hands.

"We just had a bad day to be honest with you. I don’t think we brought the quality that we should have," said Paarl Royals bowling coach Mandla Mashimbyi.

"I thought Durban was amazing, Klaasen, how he batted and they bowled. We can pick holes if we want, but they were just better.

"But we are still very much in it. We started well in the competition, but for now it’s just to freshen up, re-focus and get back to our best in the last two games."

Royals on top after the power play after big wickets

The Royals got off to the perfect start when fast bowler Lungi Ngidi got the wicket of Super Giants opener Tony de Zorzi in the second over of the match.

Proteas T20 wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, who got himself back into form with a 83 on Friday against the same opposition, was next to go when he misqueued a sweep shot straight back to Paarl spinner Bjorn Fortuin.

The big-hitting Jon Jon Smuts was next to go in the power play, and the Royals looked poised to restrict the Durban side to a below par total.

But the Super Giants, with Breetzke at the forefront, had other plans.

Brilliant Breetzke brings Super Giants back in the contest

Breetzke has made many starts in the tournament, but hasn’t quite gone on to make a significant score. But on Sunday he looked very comfortable, despite the pitch turning and the ball stopping when the bowlers bowled slower deliveries.

A feature of his innings was his ability to hit straight down the ground and many of his six sixes flew in the proverbial “V”, straight over the bowlers’ heads.

Breetzke was the fluent player in his important partnership 102-run partnership with Marcus Stoinis (38 from 35), who struggled to get the ball away for much of the innings.

Breetzke says his plan was to keep it simple to allow himself to play his natural game.

"To be honest, it wasn’t an easy wicket. When Stoinis and I were out there, it was sticking a bit on a hard length. But we got away with it and played a few shots that gave us the momentum to kick on," said Breetzke.

"The start of the competition I got a lot of starts. So I just took it ball by ball and kept it simple. Sometimes I premeditate a bit, but today was just watching the ball and reacting."

Classy Klaasen takes the match away with freakish knock …

Oh my goodness! The Royals must be absolutely sick of watching Heinrich Klaasen bat. After his 30 off 9 balls in their match at Boland Park in Paarl on Friday night, the Proteas superstar once again put them to the sword.

Klaasen made the pitch look like a proper batting track, as he struck the fastest 50 in SA20 history. His 16-ball half century was brought up with a massive hit off the second last ball of the innings before he was dismissed off the last ball.

A mammoth 68 runs came in the last four overs of the innings, as Klaasen smashed Joburg Super Kings batsman Donovan Ferreira’s previous record of 18 balls with 2x4s and 6x6s to get their intimidating total.

"There were about five overs that went over 20 runs. That gave them the momentum that they needed to post such a big score," said Mashimbyi. 

"That is probably what hurt us. If those overs went for 15 or less … to chase 170 and 208 is very different."


Royals lose their biggest guns early in the power play

Chasing 210 on this wicket was always going to be a tall order, but it became almost impossible when the Royals lost their star openers Jos Buttler (6) and Jason Roy (14).

Wihan Lubbe and the dangerous David Miller also list their wickets early, with only Mitchell van Buuren (36 not out) putting up some resistance, especially when Ahmed came on to bowl.

Noor Ahmed rips the heart out of Royals’ batting line-up

Ahmed was almost unplayable, and the Royals batsmen couldn’t handle his mystery spin.

Ahmed and Maharaj bowled their team to the bonus-point victory and, more likely, a place at the top of the standings at the end of the tournament.

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.