The month of September traditionally marks the start of the South African first-class season. This year has been different, though, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning a delay to the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
As part of a Monday series this month, we look back at some of the more memorable performances from the opening round of the four-day season over the years.
The opening weekend of the 2002/03 SuperSport Series campaign saw a 21-year-old Monde Zondeki really announce himself for Border on the local circuit.
The young paceman, who had taken 12 wickets the year before, finally had had his chance to lead the attack from the start of the season and the selectors at the East London-based union would not regret it.
Playing against an experienced KwaZulu-Natal side at Kingsmead in Durban, the fast bowler claimed an impressive haul of seven for 101 to bowl his team to a 76-run win.
Batting first after losing the toss, Border were restricted to just 181 midway through day one as the West Indies quick Nixon McLean nabbed four for 69. Steven Pope was the man that added a measure of respectability to the scoreboard for the Eastern Cape outfit with 58.
Then came Zondeki’s moment. Opening the bowling alongside Andrew Pringle (4/40), the pair needed a little over 30 overs to shoot out the hosts, whose line-up included Doug Watson, Hashim Amla and Errol Stewart, for 102.
The youngster was the pick of the bowlers, claiming a brilliant four for 22 in 10.2 overs, amongst his wickets being Ahmed Amla and Jon Kent.
That difference of 79 runs then proved key as Border managed to put together 286 after batting most of the second day on the east coast with Pope again proving pivotal with a second-innings top-score of 86.
It left KZN needing a hefty 366 to win, and despite 104 from Kent second time around, they succumbed for 289 early in the final day as Zondeki finished with three for 79 in just under 25 overs. Tyron Henderson was the pick of the bowlers with four for 56.
Three months later, Zondeki went on to make his One-Day International (ODI) debut for South Africa and later in the season, his Test debut against England at Leeds followed.