Aiden Markram took two wickets and hit a half-century as the Sunrisers Eastern Cape beat MI Cape Town by four wickets at St George’s Park on Monday.
It had been tough going for the Sunrisers leading up to this clash with MI Cape Town as they were the only team yet to win a game in this year’s competition.
But that all changed on another balmy night in Gqeberha. And on this occasion, the thousands that were dancing to the tunes of St George’s Park band all night went home full of smiles.
Markram bagged 2-8 with the ball to restrict MI Cape Town to 158-8 before striking 50 off 35 balls that powered the Sunrisers to a maiden triumph.
The skipper needed help from Proteas Test opener Sarel Erwee (41 off 35 balls) initially as the pair shared a 92-run partnership for the third wicket before leaving it to Tristan Stubbs to close out the innings.
Stubbs has not quite hit the ground running thus far, but the most expensive player purchased at the SA20 auction was determined to take his team over the line on Monday.
He fell short in his objective with the powerful right-hander dismissed in the last over, but he had by then inflicted significant damage already with 30 off just 18 balls.
Stubbs, along with Markram and Jordon Cox, formed part of Odean Smith’s three scalps as the West Indian all-rounder threatened to derail the Sunrisers’ chase.
But the Sunrisers were not going to be denied, especially after their superb bowling performance.
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Sisanda Magala took on the responsibility of leading the attack and performed the role with aplomb to finish with 2-22. Fellow seamer Ottniel Baartman played his part too with 3-45.
MI Cape Town could not build any momentum during their innings due to the regular loss of wickets upfront until Rassie van der Dussen (29) and George Linde (63 off 28 balls) turned the tide with a solid partnership.
The switch in momentum – one of many on the night – transferred to the Sunrisers’ chase with Sam Curran (2-37) removing both openers Adam Rossington (nought) and JJ Smuts (eight) in his opening spell.
Markram, though, was determined not to let the slide continue and mixed aggression with caution to resurrect the ultimately successful chase.
The Sunrisers now travel down to Cape Town for a rematch with MI Cape Town at Newlands on Wednesday.