The Paarl Royals began their SA20 campaign with a 27-run victory against the Pretoria Capitals at Boland Park on Friday.
The Winelands venue was in a festive mood on a glorious summer’s day in Paarl with the Royals faithful packing in on the grass banks .
The executive suites were also filled with royalty with former Springbok captains Jean de Villiers and Morne du Plessis along with Olympic gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk in attendance.
They certainly left in good spirits after Royals captain David Miller held his team’s innings together with 41 off 33 balls before Man of the Match Andile Phehlukwayo provided the finishing touches with a breezy 28* off 14 balls to lift the Royals to 160-7.
Miller was forced to restrain his natural attacking game after the Royals lost three wickets in the space of 15 balls.
Jason Roy had looked promising during the early stages of the powerplay with the Englishman smashing three fours and six in his 16-ball 23 before he dragged a full pitch delivery on to his stumps.
Jos Buttler and Wihan Lubbe fell shortly afterwards as the Royals slumped to 56-3.
The Royals needed a partnership to rebuild their innings with Miller and Mitchell van Buuren (28 off 21 balls) putting on 61 runs for the fourth wicket to get the hosts back on track.
The Capitals kept chipping away, though, with wickets during the middle period through Daryn Dupavillon (2-29) and Corbin Bosch (2-35) before Phehlukwayo regained the momentum for the home side.
Corbin Bosch 👏
A brilliant yorker to get rid of Miller before he can cause some serious damage 💪
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) January 12, 2024
Chasing at Boland Park has been notoriously difficult over the years, and so it proved for the Capitals as they could only manage 133-7 in reply.
The visitors were initially ahead of the curve, posting 54-2 in the powerplay – eight runs ahead of the Royals at that stage.
Royals seamers Lungi Ngidi and Obed McCoy were, however, enjoying the early evening conditions, picking up both Will Jacks (five) and Theunis de Bruyn (five) in the process.
Ngidi was indeed unfortunate to concede two consecutive sixes to Phil Salt with the English international edging both maximums over third man.
Rilee Rossouw (29 off 18 balls) threatened briefly to take the game away from the Royals, but when he and Salt fell in quick succession to Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi, the Capitals lost their way entirely.
Stand-in Capitals captain Jimmy Neesham struck a few boundaries in the final over of the innings, but it was a little too late as he too succumbed to Phehlukwayo (2-29).
These two sides will go head-to-head again on Sunday in Centurion.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Sportzpics