27 Jan Fine margins key as double header Saturday heats up race to the playoffs
The incredible Betway SA20 to light up Gqeberha and Centurion
Saturday, 27 January 2024: The race to the Betway SA20 Season 2 Playoffs continues at pace on Saturday with a double header of fixtures.
In the earlier clash, 3rd-placed Sunrisers Eastern Cape host 4th-placed MI Cape Town at 13h30 at St George’s Park. Later in the afternoon, the current bottom two teams, Pretoria Capitals and Joburg Super Kings meet in a Highveld Derby neither team can afford to lose. This match will start at 17h30.
On Thursday, Sunrisers Eastern Cape came up three runs short of a modest 126-run chase against Pretoria Capitals; but, despite the result, their captain Aiden Markram is remaining calm.
“We’ve been playing some good cricket, bowled and fielded well for 20 overs but ultimately with the bat we weren’t at our best. It’s 20 overs of us needing to reflect as a batting unit and putting in another good performance.”
The St George’s Park based team have had a relatively settled top six, including T20 legend Dawid Malan, ever-talented Markram himself and the emerging stars of Jordan Hermann and Tristan Stubbs. They’ve also had to go without South Africa’s Test captain, Temba Bavuma, who’s still recovering from a hamstring injury.
“I thought we’ve batted really well as a unit so far in the competition so there’s no need for us to panic. There’s lots of belief in the camp and we go again on Saturday so it’s a quick turnaround but by no means is there any panic in the camp.”
Markram, last season’s Betway Player of the Season, has yet to fire this season but says there’s still freshness – especially with the playoffs approaching fast.
“It happens quite often nowadays in cricket but physically it takes a toll on the body eventually. So, it’s important to get those recovery things right and being meticulous with that when you play back-to-back games; but the boys are pretty used to it from a mental point of view and we’ll be sharp as we always are. Hopefully that can be enough for us on Saturday.”
For MI Cape Town, their hopes of a playoff berth – and possible home final – became precarious this week following their loss to Durban’s Super Giants and results elsewhere.
Their captain, Kieron Pollard has called on their middle-to-lower order to contribute more.
“They’ve been painful losses but obviously I don’t want to use pitches as an excuse – that’s not a reason. We need to be better, particularly our middle-to-lower order – myself included. I can’t put it down to pitches because at the end of the day both teams play on them and 157 [DSG’s total] in any given match we should be on the winning side.
When it was put to Pollard that the success of Ryan Rickelton and Rassie van der Dussen at the beginning of the season left those batting behind them ‘undercooked’, he rebuffed that.
“You can look back at all sorts and you know the best cricketer we have breaking records is ‘hindsight’. That would be another excuse. For us as professional cricketers we have a job to do – there’s roles and responsibility for everyone in the dressing room to do and the openers have been doing their job and we can’t fault them for batting well.
“They’ve been giving us good starts, so we have look ourselves in the mirror – the middle to lower order – and we have to come up with the answers as to how we’re going to go forward. We need to take stock and come out fighting because this is the back-end of the competition and where the business starts.”
MI Cape Town’s indifferent form has kept the playoffs alive for Pretoria Capitals (who are on eight points, one behind MICT in 5th place) and Joburg Super Kings who prop up the log on six points.
Capitals’ win against Sunrisers Eastern Cape on Thursday kept their hopes alive of pulling of a late season charge to the playoffs, but their captain, Wayne Parnell, knows that they still have to be switched on for every match to come now.
“We’re obviously playing two of the teams who are close to us, and DSG as well, but we’ll be doing the old cliché of taking it one game at a time. We have to regroup for Saturday and try figure out what is the best combination to take on JSK.
Parnell also noted that they would need an update on the fitness of Jimmy Neesham. The vastly experienced New Zealander pulled up with a hamstring injury during his batting stint – a crucial 27 when considering how the low-scorer against Sunrisers unfolded.
Joburg Super Kings, meanwhile, arrive at Centurion on the back of a tight loss against Paarl Royals – with their captain Faf du Plessis pinpointing their fielding as something they’ll need to improve on come Saturday evening. Another loss would place JSK two results behind in the playoffs race.
“We’re close [to getting on a run of form]… but you need to do the small things well like not giving up runs in the field. You have to fight every inch to make sure in a close game that you’re competitive in all departments. [Against Paarl Royals] those small things were one or two half-chances that we dropped and also a few soft overthrows and twos and threes – if you count those all together then it’s over 20 runs.”
FULL SQUADS FOR ST GEORGE’S PARK
Sunrisers Eastern Cape: Aiden Markram (captain), Tom Abell, Ottniel Baartman, Temba Bavuma, Liam Dawson, Sarel Erwee, Aya Gqamane, Simon Harmer, Jordan Hermann, Marco Jansen, Patrick Kruger, Dawid Malan, Farid Malik, Adam Rossington, Caleb Seleka, Andile Simelane, Tristan Stubbs, Beyers Swanepoel, Daniel Worrall.
MI Cape Town: Kieron Pollard (captain), Tom Banton, Chris Benjamin, Dewald Brevis, Sam Curran, Connor Esterhuizen, Beuran Hendricks, Duan Jansen, Thomas Kaber, George Linde, Liam Livingstone, Delano Potgieter, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Grant Roelofsen, Olly Stone, Nuwan Thushara, Rassie van der Dussen, Nealan van Heerden.
MATCH OFFICIALS FOR ST GEORGE’S PARK
Match referee: Barry Lambson
Standing umpires: Dennis Smith and Thomas Mokorosi
TV umpire: Brad White
Reserve umpire: Phillip Vosloo
FULL SQUADS FOR CENTURION
Pretoria Capitals: Wayne Parnell (captain), Matthew Boast, Corbin Bosch, Eathan Bosch, Shane Dadswell, Theunis de Bruyn, Daryn Dupavillon, Colin Ingram, Will Jacks, Senuran Muthusamy, Jimmy Neesham, Migael Pretorius, Adil Rashid, Rilee Rossouw, Phil Salt, Paul Stirling, Tiaan van Vuuren, Kyle Verreynne, Hardus Viljoen.
Joburg Super Kings: Faf du Plessis (captain), Moeen Ali, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Sam Cook, Leus du Plooy, Donovan Ferreira, Dayyaan Galiem, Reeza Hendricks, Ronan Herrmann, Zahir Khan, Wayne Madsen, Sibonelo Makhanya, Aaron Phangiso, Romario Shepherd, Kyle Simmonds, Imran Tahir, David Wiese, Lizaad Williams.
MATCH OFFICIALS FOR CENTURION
Match referee: Gerrie Pienaar
Standing umpires: Babalo Gcuma and Arno Jacobs
TV umpire: Lauren Agenbag
Reserve umpire: Mazizi Gampu
Video from the post-match press conference featuring Shane Bond (PR) and Heinrich Klaasen (DSG) is available for download in the below link.
Rights free images from the Betway SA20 are available below.
Media Contacts at stadiums
For more information, please follow #SA20 on all social media platforms.
For Betway SA20 media queries contact:
+2783 452 6330
+2784 204 3689