Match Report

Sunrisers Eastern Cape Overcome Rain, Durban Super Giants To Reach SA20 Final

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape have qualified for the final of the SA20 League after they smashed the Durban Super Giants by 51runs in a rain-affected fixture at Newlands.

John Goliath
John Goliath

Last Updated: 2024-02-06

Dillip Mohanty

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape have qualified for the final of the SA20 League after they smashed the Durban Super Giants by 51runs in a rain-affected fixture at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The defending champions Sunrisers must have panicked at the halfway stage when they could only manage 157/8 on a wicket that seemed to get better for batting after a rain shower that lasted just under two hours.

The Eastern Cape side played quite conservatively at the start of their innings, the wicket initially difficult to hit the big shots. The teams went off the field with the Sunrisers' score on 61/1 after 8.2 overs.

It's been their style to assess conditions first up, keep wickets in hand and then explode in the death overs. But when they got back with the slightly improved batting conditions, they were on the back foot.

The Sunrisers managed to scrap to 157, with Dawid Malan (63 off 45 balls) getting most of the runs. The normal punishers at the back - captain Aiden Markram, Tristan Stubbs and Patrick Kruger all got starts, but perished in the pursuit of quick runs.

Junior Dala (2/35) and Keshav Maharaj (2/30) were the Super Giants’ best bowlers on the night.

The Sunrisers, however, came out fighting with the ball, with the impressive Ottniel Baartman (4/10) and Marco Jansen (4/16) using the extra pace and swing to rip the heart out of the Super Giants' batting line-up.

The Super Giants were struggling at 13/3 when Markram took one of the all-time great catches to get rid of Jon Jon Smuts off Baartman's bowling, the Proteas white-ball captain leaping goalkeeper-style to take a one-handed stunner.

From then on the wickets tumbled regularly, with only Wiaan Mulder (38 from 34) and Heinrich Klaasen (23 from 15 balls) putting up a fight. The Super Giants were eventually bowled out for 106 halfway through the final over of the match.

The Sunrisers will now wait and see who they will play in the final at Newlands on Saturday, with the Joburg Super Kings playing the Paarl Royals in the "Eliminator" at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The winner of that match will play the Durban Super Giants for a place in the final at the Wanderers on Thursday.

Rain chances dynamic of the game

The pitch definitely was spiced up by the rain shower, but Malan played one of his best knocks of the tournament for the Sunrisers to keep it together.

His innings set up the likes of Stubbs to have a go, but it didn’t quite work out for the Eastern Cape side. Coach Adrian Birrell though they were a bit short at the break, but knew there was something in the deck.

“It wasn’t an easy game. There was a lot going on with the conditions. It was two different games in our innings. Before the rain it played a certain way, and after the rain it changed,” Birrel said.

“What our team does well is assess conditions, and I thought we did very well just to be one down at the rain break. After that we got in a great position to finish well, but we only managed 39 runs at the back end.

“We thought it was maybe just below par, but we backed our bowlers.”

Sunrisers cause chaos upfront to restrict the Super Giants

The Super Giants have one of the most fearsome batting line-ups in the competition, but they were undone by the equally potent Sunrisers bowling unit.

Dan Worral and Jansen set the tone up front by swinging the ball and hitting great areas, before Baatman’s double wicket maiden - getting the important scalps of Matthew Breetzke and Smuts - blew the game wide open.

“It (the pitch) quickened up and we felt with the new ball we could get early wickets. Our bowling has been phenomenal throughout the whole campaign and they were on it tonight,” said Birrel.

“Seam up balls and Test lengths at the start to get the ball to swing. If it could do that, we thought we would be in the game. And it worked out in the end."

Baartman has been Sunrisers’ go-to man

Baartman sits on top of the wicket-takers’ standings after yet another clinical performance with the ball.

His 16 wickets has come at just over seven runs to the over, which is remarkable for a player that bowls with the new ball and at the death.

He is certainly one of the players that have put their hand up to be included in the Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies later this year.

“He has been fantastic, up there with the leading wicket takers. He has put his name up for higher honours,” Birrel said.

“He bowls in good areas all the time and it is very competitive. But tonight it wasn’t just about him. Dan Worral got 0/11 in four overs and stopped them from scoring and Marco Jansen got four wickets.

“Our spinners also bowled really well against Heinrich Klaasen.”

Super Giants have to take the long road to get to the final

The Super Giants now have to pick themselves up for a playoff match in Johannesburg on Thursday against either the Joburg Super Kings or the Paarl Royals, who are in action on Wednesday night.

The traveling has taken its toll on the players as we come towards the end of the tournament. The Super Giants can’t be looking forward to another trip to the Highveld, but Dala is confident they can regain their awesome form which has carried them through most of the tournament.

“We have tired bodies … yes the travel is part of these tournaments is tough, and we knew that this is something that could happen. It’s just about getting to Joburg mentally fresh,” Dala said.

“We have to back our skills and try to get over the disappointment of tonight. Come Thursday, hopefully we are firing.”

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.