Match Report

SA20: Sunrisers Finish Top After Thrilling Win Over Paarl Royals

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape said goodbye to their jovial home supporters with a five-wicket win over the Paarl Royals in their final SA20 League match before the playoffs.

John Goliath
John Goliath

Last Updated: 2024-02-04

John Goliath

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape said goodbye to their jovial home supporters with a five-wicket win over the Paarl Royals in their final SA20 League match before the playoffs.

The win propelled the Sunrisers to the top of the SA20 standings at the end of the league phase. They finished one point ahead of the Durban Super Giants, who lost their final match against the Joburg Super Kings on Saturday.

The Sunrisers and the Super Giants will play each other in the "Qualifier" on Tuesday at Newlands in Cape Town, with the winner going straight through to the final. The loser, however, will get one more chance to qualify.

The loser will take on the winner of the "Eliminator", which will be played at the third-placed Royals and the Super Kings, who sneaked into the fourth and play playoff position.

The Sunrisers were always in control in their match against the Royals, despite losing the toss. The home side managed to curb the Royals 159/7, with Ottniel Baartman (2/33) again shining with the ball in the death overs.

The Royals again flattered to deceive with the bat, as they again managed starts without making significant contributions. Josh Buttler (38 off 22 balls) and Dane Vilas (34 off 25 balls) couldn't kick on after looking comfortable at the crease.

One of the hallmarks of the Sunrisers batting has been their ability to assess conditions and timing their innings perfectly.

Captain Aiden Markram (37 off 27 balls) and Temba Bavuma (33 off 30 balls) shared a crucial partnership, before Patrick Kruger (26) played a seven-ball cameo to see them over the line.

Time to switch to playoff mode for Sunrisers, Royals …

The Sunrisers lost only two matches in this season's competition, and go into their match against the Super Giants on the back of four successive wins.

They have one less day to prepare for the “Qualifier” than the Super Giants, which is why Kruger feels they won’t veer away too much from what has worked for them thus far this season.

“Nothing is going to change for us, we are going to travel there and rest. I don’t think we are going to do much,” said Kruger.

“We are just going to back our abilities and go into that game well-rested and fresh.”

The Royals, on the other hand, have lost their last four matches after a very good start to the tournament. They go into their match against the Super Kings struggling with runs and also containing batting units at the back end of their innings with the ball.

However, they believe that they can get out of their slump with the extra excitement that knockout cricket brings.

“It’s never ideal going into the back end of the tournament with four loses, but those games mean nothing now,” said Royals coach Shane Bond.

“We know we have enough match winners. If we turn up and execute what we did tonight and be a bit better, I think we are going to be competitive.

“The previous games we have gone away from what we wanted to do and got beaten. I think today was a really good reset for us. The challenge now is to keep our composure and play to our potential.”

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.