JJ Smuts had high praise for his teammates after captaining Eastern Province to victory in the Africa T20 Cup.
Smutts put in a Man-of-the-Match performance, scoring 42 runs and taking two wickets for 22 runs as his side claimed a 31-run victory to lift the trophy, but he commended his teammates for their all-round performances.
‘I am happy (personal performance) but we came here as a team,’ Smuts said. ‘We had many match-winning performances throughout the team and played well as a team.
‘We have had this ‘no fear’ campaign throughout the Africa T20 Cup and I’m glad we played that way right up to and including the final. It’s great to see it finished off that way as well.’
Although Smuts finished as the tournament’s second highest run-scorer with 196 runs at average of 49.00, which included the tournament’s only century in the opening game of Pool D last weekend against Gauteng at Boland Park, the EP title march was certainly not a one-man crusade.
The bowling unit were consistent throughout the tournament and continued the consistency through to the final. Led by pace bowlers Sisanda Magala (12 wickets at an average of 8.91) and Solo Nqweni (11 wickets at average of 6.27), the pair finished as the leading wicket-takers of the tournament.
The skipper could not hide his pleasure at what Magala, Nqweni and the rest of the EP bowling unit achieved.
‘I think this wicket slowed down the longer the match went on, but our bowling has gone from strength to strength. The guys have really executed their plans perfectly. We really executed well, they have been unbelievable’ Smuts said.
Eastern Province are the second winners of the Africa T20 Cup after Northerns won the title at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein last year and Smuts will look to continue his good form into this years’ domestic season for the Warriors.
JJ Smuts features in the latest issue of SA Cricket mag. Read the Q&A we had with him here.