The SA20 season heads back to Gqeberha for the second part of the double header in the competition on Saturday evening for the clash between the Sunrisers Eastern Cape and the Johannesburg Super Kings.
The Eastern Cape head the chasing pack behind the Pretoria Capitals heading into the second half of the regular season while the Super Kings prop up the table and need to put a few wins together if they are going to be involved in the semi-finals.
Sunrisers Eastern Cape
The Sunrisers Eastern Cape looked like they might be a little out of their depth at the beginning of the competition when they lost their opening two matches. It soon became apparent that they might have lost to the best team in the competition in those games though. Since then they have struck up three successive victories and are the only team other than the Pretoria Capitals to come out of the opening half of the campaign with a winning record.
They have done the double over the MI Cape Town outfit and seen off the Paarl Royals and you sense they won’t be bad results when we look back on the campaign. I think they’ll admit they stole the second of those wins but teams take incredible belief from winning from unlikely situations. There was nothing unlikely about the win over Paarl last time out. They dominated that one with the ball and then cruised home with the bat. Just quietly Sunrisers are announcing themselves as contenders.
Johannesburg Super Kings
The Johannesburg Super Kings are a weird bunch this season. They have two wins and three defeats on their card this term and one of the wins was the only defeat suffered by the Pretoria Capitals. That showed the quality they have when they perform like they can, but all too often in this tournament so far they have failed to deliver on their potential and now they might need to win their last five matches to go through because their net run rate is terrible.
That is all down to their batting performances. In the three matches they have lost they have put up scored of 81, 105/9 and 122 and with the best will in the world you are not going to win many, if any, matches at franchise levels with scores like that. Their bowling hasn’t been too bad although it remains to be seen how they go now Aaron Phangiso has been reported for a suspect action. He can still play but all eyes are going to be on him now.
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Aiden Markram might be the most important player in the tournament so far. Usually you would think that would be for his batting and to be fair to him only five matters have more runs than him this season. His bowling has been most useful though. Only four players have more wickets than him so he is big for this team.
The Johannesburg Super Kings need someone in their top order to stand up on a regular basis. Faf du Plessis blasted out of the blocks against the Pretoria Capitals last time out but he couldn’t convert his swift 50 into anything significant. As someone who is in form he needs to go big here.
I like the look of the Sunrisers Eastern Cape here. They had the potential to be dark horses right at the start of the competition and that is how it is playing out. They have a coach who won the T20 Blast in England last season and some players who were part of that team but they have a good balance to their side and more importantly are in good form which can count for a lot in these franchise competitions.
There is no getting away from the struggles that the Johannesburg Super Kings are having with the bat right now and another problem might present itself now with the Aaron Phangiso situation. Although St George’s Park is usually a good batting ground that probably doesn’t help the Super Kings given their struggles with the bat. They are not a huge amount better with the ball though and look ripe for the Eastern Cape to beat them. I’m a little surprised we can get 5/6 on the home side here but it is a price I’m happy to take.
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