Match Report

SA20: Pretoria Capitals win thriller against Sunrisers Eastern Cape

The Pretoria Capitals’ kept their SA20 League playoff hopes alive with a dramatic 3-run victory over the Sunrisers Eastern Cape at SuperSport Park.

John Goliath
John Goliath

Last Updated: 2024-01-25

Dillip Mohanty

The Pretoria Capitals kept their SA20 League playoff hopes alive with a dramatic 3-run victory over the Sunrisers Eastern Cape at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday evening.

The match turned out to be a last-ball thriller after the Capitals had looked dead and buried at the innings break following yet another batting collapse.

But a brilliant performance with the ball earned them four vital points for a win to propel them off the bottom of the SA20 standings.

The Capitals were bowled out for 125 runs halfway through the 19th over, not even a week after they were also blown away by the Sunrisers at St George’s Park when they were rolled over for just 52 runs.

However, their bowlers were absolutely fantastic from the start during the Eastern Cape side's reply, as they had the visitors on the ropes at 32/4 in the eighth over. The Sunrisers' first four batsmen all went out for single figure scores.

Seamers Daryn Dupavillon (2/21) and Eathan Bosch (1/11) went well upfront, and they were brilliantly supported by Wayne Parnell (3/33) England leg-spinner Adil Rashid (3/30) in the middle overs.

The Sunrisers, though, fought back with Tristan Stubbs (35 off 30 balls) and Patrick Kruger (22 off 21 balls) sharing a valuable partnership that looked to take the game deep.

But the rollercoaster ride would continue after both Sunrisers batsmen got out by trying to play the big shots.

The Sunrisers looked well out of the match when they required 20 runs off 10 balls with just two wickets in hand. But Liam Dawson (29 not out off 16 balls) hit a few lusty blows to give his team a chance.

However, Dupavillon landed two brilliant yorkers with the last two balls of the innings to give the Capitals a massive win in the context of their season.

"The guys knew we had to put on a fight. With us being at the bottom of the log, we knew we had nothing to lose," said Bosch, who was awarded the player of the match.

"We had a really nice start and in the middle Rashid and Parnell took some crucial wickets for us. That was clinical in a game like this where you are defending a low total.

"It’s not often that you go the distance (defending such a score). We showed the character that is within the group."

Bosch hopes that the win will jumpstart their season so that they can push for a playoff spot in their final four games of the campaign.

"The win shows that there is a lot of belief in the group," said the fast bowler.

"SuperSport Park is known for a lot of runs and to defend that score really shows that we are up for this and we really want to fight for a playoff spot."

The Sunrisers remain third on the standings on 15 points, three points behind the second-place Durban Super Giants and seven points behind the leaders Paarl Royals.

Captain Aiden Markram was bitterly disappointed after the match, especially after their batting effort couldn't match their superb bowling display.

However, he says the defeat isn't the end of the world, as they are still playing very good cricket.

"I wouldn’t say this is a blow for us ahead of the knockout stages. We have been playing some good cricket, bowled and fielded really well for 20 overs and then ultimately lost it with the bat," said Markram.

"I thought we have done really well as a batting unit so far in the competition. No need for us to panic, there is still lot’s of belief in the camp."

Capitals flop again in the power play

For the third match in a row the Capitals lost four wickets and completely bombed in the power play.

Their batting has been a big problem this season, losing wickets in clusters at the top of the innings. They were even rolled for 52 in their previous match against the very same Sunrisers.

Phil Salt and Will Jacks were their catalysts at the top of the order in the first season of the tournament, but both haven’t quite fired in the last couple of matches.

Proteas all-rounder Marco Jansen got rid of both openers in the second over after Salt (20 off 9 balls) initially got off to a flyer.

From there it was a bit of a procession to and from the dressing room, which included the needless run-outs of Rilee Rossouw (13) and Colin Ingram (4).

Bosch, however, says the dressing room isn't too concerned about their bad starts with the bat and believes that their "perfect performance" is right around the corner.

"It’s pretty much just been the last two games that we haven't batted well," said Bosch.

"If you take away those two run-outs it’s obviously a bit different. You have a bit more power going into the last couple of overs.

"I don’t think it’s anything that’s really bothering us at the moment. But we will obviously discuss it and hopefully get better game by game.

"We are still looking for the perfect game. On the batting side we are still trying to strive for a lot more."

Capitals recover but Sunrisers finish what they started …

Shane Dadswell (24 off 26 balls) and Jimmy Neesham (27 off 26) got together with the score on 52/5 at the end of the powerplay.

The two big hitters then played a lot more conservatively than they normally do and went about rebuilding the innings. The two shared a 52-run stand off 46 balls to bring some respectability to the scoreline.

However, both succumbed to spin after trying to accelerate the scoring rate. The rest of the lower order didn’t really contribute, with only Parnell (13) able to get into double figures.

Dupavillon and Bosch make the new ball talk for the Capitals

It was basically do-or-die for the Capitals after a poor run in the tournament. They simply had to start well with the ball after their failings with the bat were exposed once again.

Bosch struck first when he bowled wicket-keeper batsman Adam Rossinton (4) with a brilliant slower ball. But it was Dupavillon who got the big wickets of Dawid Malan (6) and Aiden Markram (3) which turned the game on its head.

Suddenly, it didn’t look like the walk in the park a lot of people expected, especially with the Capitals’ score way below par at this fast-scoring cricket ground.

"At 30/4, no matter what you’re chasing, you come under pressure. From our point of view, we didn’t look to keep our intent up and fell into the trap of thinking we can bat normally and then get over the line," said Markram.

"But you must still play positive and with proper intent, from there you can probably live with your mistakes. The middle order really tried, but us as a top order left them a bit too much to do."

While Stubbs was there, the Sunrisers were always in the game

Stubbs and Kruger put on a 40-run stand, trying to do a rebuilding job after the top order failed to shine. Scoring wasn’t easy, though, especially against Rashid and off-spinner Jacks (0/23 off four overs).

While both had to try and up the scoring, they would be disappointed about how they got out.

Kruger took an ugly swipe across the line and ended up being caught by Salt behind the stumps off the bowling of Parnell, who also got the wicket of the dangerous Jansen (0).

Rashid then got the key wicket of Stubbs, who hit a well-flighted delivery straight down mid-on’s throat after flat-batting the leg-spinner for six straight over his head the previous delivery.

Drama at the end as Dawson clears the rope

Parnell conceded 17 runs in the penultimate over, striking two sixes after Simon Harmer had squeezed a four down to third-man before losing his wicket.

However, with 11 needed off the final over, the wrong man was on strike at the start of Dupavillon’s over, with number 11 Dan Worral facing up.

After a few dot balls, Dawson finally got the strike and smashed a six over extra cover to put the Sunrisers in sight of victory with two balls to go. But Dupavillon would have the last laugh with two brilliant deliveries to win the game for the Capitals.

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.