Three teams, two matches, one last SA20 playoffs spot. It all comes down to the final double-header on Saturday to decide who will join Durban’s Super Giants, Sunrisers Eastern Cape and Paarl Royals in the final week.
At Newlands (1:30pm), MI Cape Town will host the Pretoria Capitals. Lose and their campaign comes to an end. Win, and an anxious evening awaits, watching proceedings at the Wanderers (5:30pm) where the Joburg Super Kings will look to turn the form table upside down against Durban’s Super Giants to sneak their way into the coveted fourth place.
MICT captain Kieron Pollard is under no illusion what needs to happen – repeat Thursday’s dominant performance over the Capitals but with the finishing touch they couldn’t manage after having them 42-6 at Centurion.
“Getting the win [on Thursday] pleases me and obviously the way that we batted. I’m not happy with the method of the win even if we got there in the end because we let the other two teams back into the competition when we could’ve killed one off [Capitals] and then go into a home game looking to qualify.
“There’s not much to say … we got the win after we were in a position to lose four on the trot and now it’s about recuperating and travelling for a quick turnaround and a couple of us are struggling in the dressing room [with illness, including Pollard himself] so we’ll see what happens.”
Capitals captain Wayne Parnell knew full well how important their fightback in the second half of their innings could prove to be. Crucially, they head into Saturday’s match just three points behind MICT (and JSK) rather than the four it looked like being at the end of the powerplay – so an outright win would take them back above MICT.
“Credit goes to Kyle [Verreynne, who scored an unbeaten century] – he’s looked really good since coming into the team. We actually joked in the warm-ups … I tapped him on the shoulder and told him ‘get me a hundred today’ so I’m really chuffed for him and obviously to prevent them from getting the bonus point leaves everything to play for [at Newlands]. Hopefully, Kyle gets runs there as well.”
As it happens, the Capitals were able to do what the Joburg Super Kings couldn’t on Wednesday; recover from a poor start with the bat to prevent the opposition – the Sunrisers Eastern Cape in their case – from getting a bonus point.
“I honestly feel like a game like today is almost like a blooper … you have to try and bury it as quick as possible,” said JSK captain Faf du Plessis after they were skittled for 78 all out on their own pitch. The Sunrisers comfortably knocked off the required runs.
“We have to look ahead, we have one game against a strong Durban’s Super Giants team that is playing amazing cricket but we also know that if we do our thing and play to our potential then we’re a very dangerous team, but we’ve been very inconsistent with that the whole season – especially from a batting point of view.
“I feel like today you just needed someone to hang around … that’s probably the learning we take out of today. Obviously because the next game is here [at the Wanderers], we have to try make sure we don’t do that again.”
DSG captain Keshav Maharaj is adamant that they will be up for Saturday evening’s match – despite already knowing their playoffs fate as the current log leaders.
“The strive for excellence is always there, but I think for us it’s about sticking true to our processes which, we’ve been doing really well, and assessing conditions and adapting accordingly,” he said. “We just want to keep building on that and hopefully we can go all the way in this competition.”
The simplest equation for Du Plessis’ men is for the Pretoria Capitals to win at Newlands (moving them to 14 or 15 points and leaving MICT stranded on 13), and then an outright win for them will take them clear on 17 points and secure a return to Wanderers next Thursday for the eliminator playoff against a Paarl Royals team who’ve lost three on the trot. If MICT win, bonus points, net run rates and matches against each other all come into the mix …
An intriguing day of incredible cricket awaits.
MI Cape Town squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Tom Banton, Chris Benjamin, Dewald Brevis, Sam Curran, Connor Esterhuizen, Beuran Hendricks, Duan Jansen, Thomas Kaber, George Linde, Liam Livingstone, Delano Potgieter, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Grant Roelofsen, Olly Stone, Nuwan Thushara, Rassie van der Dussen, Nealan van Heerden.
Pretoria Capitals squad: Wayne Parnell (c), Colin Ackermann, Matthew Boast, Corbin Bosch, Eathan Bosch, Shane Dadswell, Theunis de Bruyn, Daryn Dupavillon, Colin Ingram, Will Jacks, Senuran Muthusamy, Migael Pretorius, Adil Rashid, Rilee Rossouw, Phil Salt, Jacques Snyman, Tiaan van Vuuren, Kyle Verreynne, Hardus Viljoen.
Joburg Super Kings squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Moeen Ali, Doug Bracewell, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Sam Cook, Leus du Plooy, Donovan Ferreira, Dayyaan Galiem, Reeza Hendricks, Ronan Herrmann, Wayne Madsen, Sibonelo Makhanya, Aaron Phangiso, Kyle Simmonds, Imran Tahir, David Wiese, Lizaad Williams.
Durban’s Super Giants squad: Keshav Maharaj (c), Noor Ahmad, Matthew Breetzke, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Tony de Zorzi, Heinrich Klaasen, Kyle Mayers, Wiaan Mulder, Naveen-ul-Haq Murid, Bryce Parsons, Keemo Paul, Dwaine Pretorius, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jon-Jon Smuts, Jason Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Prenelan Subrayen, Reece Topley.
Photo: Arjun Singh/Sportzpics