There were a lot of things that caught the imagination in the 2013/14 edition of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, including the Beuran Hendricks’ six-for, Richard Levi’s century and the Dolphins emerging as worthy champions.
Here is a list of the 10 lessons that we learned:
The Cobras aren’t invincible: After finishing on top of the log in all three domestic tournaments, the Dolphins traveled to Cape Town and beat the Cape franchise in front of a full house at Newlands.
South African has cricket has bright future: Young guns David Miller and Quinton de Kock topped the run-scorers’ chart with 383 and 379 runs, respectively. It was especially pleasing to see Miller getting stuck in for his local franchise after performing so well in the IPL.
Beuran Hendricks is a match winner: The left-arm opening bowler took 28 wickets at 10.28, including the incredible best bowling figures of 6-29 against the Knights at Newlands.
Mercenaries pulled their weight: Mystery spinners Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine were worth their price-tags. Narine took 10 wickets at 13.70 with a miserly economy rate of 5.95, while Ajmal snared 15 scalps at 9.26 and an economy rate of 6.13.
Lance Klusener is a quality coach: The former Proteas all-rounder instilled confidence in a Dolphins side that embraced a new attacking approach. They finished second on the log before holding their nerve to win a tight final at Newlands.
Momentum is key: After being the country’s dominant T20 outfit the previous season, the Lions slumped to a last place finish. They got off to a poor start and were never able to recover, ending their 10-match campaign with a solitary win.
Any team can win on a given day: The Lions only win of the tournament came against the eventual champions. It just goes to show that no side can be written off in the 20-over format.
T20 centuries are rare commodities: Richard Levi scored the only hundred of the entire competition. His 61-ball 113 came at the expense of the Knights in Bloemfontein.
A few centimetres can make all the difference: Justin Kemp faced the final ball of the tournament, needing to clear the ropes in order to force a super over. He connected cleanly, but the ball landed just inside the boundary, bouncing once before clattering into the boards. Those few centimetres were the difference between the two sides and handed the Dolphins the trophy.
Bowlers win T20 matches: The format is structured in the batsmen’s favour and crowds come out in their droves to watch the ball fly to all parts. It’s the bowlers, however, that make the difference between winning and losing. This is illustrated by the two finalists accounting for 6 of the top 10 bowlers of the tournament and all of the top three positions.
By: Gareth Stevens