One of the premises of T20 cricket is the team which dominates the six-over powerplay at the start of the innings usually goes on to win the match, and that certainly proved to be the case on Thursday night at St George’s Park as the Pretoria Capitals totally bossed Sunrisers Eastern Cape to win by 23 runs.
Having lost the toss and been sent in to bat, Pretoria scored 57 runs in the six-over powerplay up front, despite losing three wickets. This was mostly thanks to opener Phil Salt, who mastered a tricky St George’s Park pitch exceptionally well.
Playing for the first time in Gqeberha, Salt is normally an absolute dasher at the top of the order, but he adapted brilliantly to a sticky pitch which offered the bowlers movement, and, being a lesser-known figure for South African fans, he certainly stamped his mark with a superb innings of 77 not out off 47 balls. The Englishman had the defensive ability to keep the good balls out, but was ruthless in putting away the several poor deliveries he received.
With the Sunrisers also being messy in the field, the home team conceded 193/6, a thoroughly unsatisfactory effort.
A Pretoria Capitals pace bowling attack of Anrich Nortje, Eathan Bosch and Wayne Parnell then totally dominated the powerplay in the Eastern Cape innings, the Sunrisers struggling to 28/2 in the first six overs.
Many enjoyed Nortje
While Sunrisers were the home team, many of the packed St George’s Park crowd undoubtedly enjoyed watching Nortje, an Eastern Province player, come roaring in. He claimed 2/18 in four thrilling, outstanding overs, which include a maiden and the wicket of new Gqeberha hero Tristan Stubbs, who had looked dangerous in scoring 23 off 11 balls, before the best South African bowler at the moment bowled him.
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Not many people will know Bosch, son of the late Proteas fast bowler Tertius and brother of Corbin, but he looked comfortable with the new ball and mixing things up well as he conceded just 27 runs in his four overs.
Parnell, an Eastern Cape product, bowled superbly with the new ball, his first three overs costing just 20 runs and he picked up the wicket of opener Sarel Erwee (1).
The experienced Parnell, leading the Capitals in his 246th T20 match, also provided a late boost to the Pretoria innings as he belted three sixes in the final over, bowled by Ottneil Baartman, to finish with 29 not out off only nine balls.
Salt had to weather the regular loss of wickets, adding to the quality of his innings, and Pretoria were 80/5 in the 10th over when Jimmy Neesham came in. Another hugely experienced campaigner, the New Zealander scored 37 off 28 balls, adding 77 for the sixth wicket with Salt.
For Eastern Cape, the home-grown Jon-Jon Smuts did his best with 66 off 51 balls, but the opener lacked support, and it was only a late burst from Tom Abell (40* off 24) and James Fuller (27* off 12) which brought some respectability.
Pretoria Capitals just missed out on getting the bonus point, but they would have raised many eyebrows with their opening performance.
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