The second edition of the SA20 enters the second week now. The first six matches saw the team batting first posting 200-plus scorelines on four occasions. That is entertainment at its best. It looks like batsmen have found a way to capitalize on conditions and do the damage easily. Only the Durban Super Giants have managed to win a match chasing – that came against MI Cape Town at their background at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.
As table toppers with two victories in as many games, Super Giants’s next assignment is to face dented Joburg Super Kings on Monday 15 January at home. For the home side, they are riding high and have been a team to watch in the current campaign. It is also a testament to how things can change quickly in sports. Last season, they finished with four wins in ten matches which saw them occupying 5th position and losing out a spot to the semi-finals phase. Now, without making wholesale changes in the squad, they finally got it right in terms of winning. The only valuable inclusion into the squad has to be Jon-Jon Smuts, who was with the champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape last season.
The 35-year-old all-rounder has hit the ground running and has adapted well to the new team. In the last match on Saturday against the former side, he scored 75 runs to take his side to a respected total of 225 after being thrown to bat first. In his incredible knock, he was assisted largely by Nicholas Pooran, who snatched an astonishing 60 runs on the day at St George Oval in Gqerbeha. Then he cleaned the damage with the ball taking two wickets to inspire his side to a deserving win. That experience he is bringing to the side will be crucial as the tournament enters the crunch phases. That is why most people say the class is permanent.
Despite Quinton De Kockb not being at his best, the Super Giants have shown that their batting line-up is long and can win games. De Kock, who was part of the ongoing Big Bash League, is a bit struggling to showcase his skills like he has done in the past. But with his teammates playing incredibly well, it is so hard to notice that. In the first match, Heinrich Klaassen played an unforgettable knock with his side under the immense pressure of chasing a 207 scoreboard against MI Cape Town. But the Proteas batsman nonchalantly scorched 85 runs to take his side over the line. So, judging the first two matches, Super Giants players have shown the character of a winning mentality with each player looking to step up and perform.
For Super Kings, nothing has gone into their side this season. A washed-out affair with Sunrisers followed by a humiliating loss at home by MI. As a semi-finalist in the first edition, they would be wondering what has gone wrong on their side. In a game against MI, were asked to chase a mammoth 243 total at home. The leading run scorer in the ongoing campaign Ryan Rickleton and his partner Rassie Van Der Dussen were having a joyous day recording a 200-plus opening partnership. At one stage, it looked like Super Giants would be chasing a 300 scoreline but the bowlers did an excellent job in the death overs.
The batsmen made a terrible chase losing three wickets inside the first powerplay and the writing was on the wall that a loss was knocking on the doors. Now, they have a tough test facing on-form Super Giants away from home. If last year’s scripts have the same reading, then Super Kings are bound to dominate the opponents. But that is history on his own. For them to come near to winning, the bowlers have to restrict the leaking of runs. What transpired in the last match has to be better this time around. The likes of Imran Tahir and Nandre Burger will have to be at their best at all times.
What To Expect
Durban was hit hard by heavy storms on Saturday night, and it was raining even on Sunday night. So, expect a ball not to get an extra bounce. It would be ideal for the side to bowl first while accessing the pitch conditions. It is expected to be a cloudy day and some light rain at night.