When you, as a responsible (sorta) cricket board, do not want to force the players of your country to forfeit consecutive bilaterals, you’ve got to make some decisions that you’re not necessarily a fan of. Ideally, Cricket South Africa (CSA) would have loved to finish the inaugural SA20 season in one go, but a minor inconvenience in the form of a three-match ODI series between South Africa and England has forced them to halt the league for 8 days.
So here we are, in the midst of an unprecedented franchise-league break. SA20 is already truly one of a kind, isn’t it?
Jokes aside, we’ve got nine matches that need to be recapped. And yep, we’ve also got to preview the final leg of the competition, which will start on February 2nd. Let’s get to business, shall we?
What does the table look like?
In our previous recap, the points table looked like this: Pretoria, Paarl, MICT, DSG, Sun Risers and JSK.
Back then, Pretoria Capitals were breakaway leaders with 13 points and only one point separated the rest.
Well, the Capitals are still breakaway leaders but the teams that were placed fifth and sixth respectively after 13 games, JSK and Sunrisers, are both in the Top 4. JSK, in fact, have a game in hand and will go second if they win that. Talk about a turnaround.
Only side reallyyyyyy fell off in the second week and that was Durban’s Super Giants, who after winning two of their first three games, lost 4 in a row. L L L L. They need a miracle to make it through to the semis.
Every other side is well and truly in contention though, so we’ve got a hell of a last week lined up.
What (interesting things) happened in the previous week?
Du Plessis scripts history with maiden SA20 ton
It had to be. It just had to be. Will Jacks came agonizingly close but fittingly, it was Faf du Plessis who ended up scoring the first-ever ton in SA20 history.
In the very final game before the mid-season break, du Plessis transformed into ‘peak Faf’ in front of the JSK faithful as he smashed an unbeaten 113* off just 58 balls.
Captain. Leader. Legend.
̶Se̶v̶e̶n̶t̶h̶ Sixth heaven for Roelof van der Merwe
Not just du Plessis, Roelof van Der Merwe also scripted his name in the history books by becoming the first ever cricketer to take a five-fer in the SA20. In a remarkable spell, the left-arm spinner ran through the DSG batters, picking 6/20 off his 4 overs, as Sunrisers bundled the Super Giants out for a meager 86.
So, after going wicketless in the first game, van der Merwe has 14 (!!!!) in his last 5 matches. He’s taken them while conceding at an economy of, wait for it, 4.73. FOUR POINT SEVEN THREE.
And yep, just like Faf, he is 38. Yeah, start calling T20 an old man’s game already.
Durban’s Super G̶i̶a̶n̶t̶s̶ Gigantic Nightmare
It is bad enough getting bowled out in the 80s once in any season. But DSG got bundled out in the 80s twice in two matches, CONSECUTIVELY!
They outdid JSK’s horror showing against Paarl Royals to get bowled out for 80 vs Pretoria, the lowest-ever total in SA20 history.
Rashid recovers from an uncharacteristically average first week
After uncharacteristically scalping just 4 wickets at an ER of 8.15 in the first week of the competition, Rashid bounced back emphatically in week two, picking 4 wickets at an ER of 4.00. Against the Capitals, he registered his personal best bowling figures of the competition yet, taking 3/16.
It was also the game in which Rashid brought up a significant milestone in his career, as he breached the 500-wicket mark in the shortest format. He became only the second ever, and the youngest (by some distance) to get to the landmark.
Will Jacks signs off in style Will Jacks lit up the first week of the tournament, and he signed off in style by smashing 56 (25) against DSG and 62 (27) against MI Cape Town. He had a rare failure with the bat against Paarl Royals (4) but even there he ensured to contribute with the ball by picking 2/7, taking the huge wicket of Jos Buttler.
He ‘signed off in style’ because Jacks will be taking no more part in the SA20. He’ll be going straight to New Zealand, where he’ll be linking up with the Test squad.
What a tournament for the 24-year-old. 270 runs in 7 matches at a SR of 201.49, the best among all batters. 19 sixes in total, six more than any other batter in the competition.
An out-of-the-world hit from Stubbs — literally
Even if Tristan Stubbs does nothing significant in the second leg of the SA20, it’s okay. He’s already cemented his place in the highlight reels for this tournament THROUGH THIS HIT!
No more Phangiso for Super Kings!
Jo’burg Super Kings’ wildcard pick Aaron Phangiso sizzled in week one, picking 10 wickets in 6 games at an ER of 7.05, but du Plessis & Co. will not have the left-arm spinner’s services for the second leg of the competition since he’s been banned from bowling due to an illegal bowling action.
Good thing Super Kings and their owners are accustomed to bouncing back from suspensions, eh?
Top performers with the bat
Duds with the bat
> Donovan Ferreira might have just ended up using all his luck and quota of runs in the very first game. His scores since the 82* vs DSG — 6, 7, 3, 17, 4 and 4.
> Rilee Rossouw has perhaps been the biggest disappointment. At the halfway stage, he’s amassed 56 runs in 7 innings at an average of 9.33, breaching the 20-run mark just once.
> Quinton de Kock has been very hit and miss too. Two fifty-plus scores in the first three matches, but he’s since posted scores of 0, 13, 0 and 6.
Top performers with the ball
Duds with the ball
> With 3 wickets in 7 matches at an ER of 9.42, Sam Curran has been the single biggest dud with the ball in hand. Unlike Rashid Khan, Curran did not bounce back in week two.
> Right up there with Curran as the dud of the tournament (so far) with the ball is Jason Holder, who in 7 games has taken 2 wickets at an ER of 10.64. Holder went wicketless in each of his last 4 innings.
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