‘Duh, YET ANOTHER T20 league. How is it gonna be any different from the 354 other leagues?’
‘Mzansi Super League repackaged with IPL names? Bring it on’
Yep, while there was a lot of buzz in lead-up to the first match of the SA20, there was plenty of skepticism too. Fair, you know: over the years, we’ve seen plenty of these ‘ambitious T20 projects’ absolutely bomb and go into the gutter.
It’s been only 9 days, but, whisper quietly, SA20 actually looks like it is the REAL DEAL!
The competition didn’t quite start in the explosive fashion that the IPL did (where is B-Mac when you need him?) but BLOODY HELL, these first 9 days could truly have not turned out any better.
The vibes have been impeccable, the cricket has been exceptional and the atmosphere has truly been ELECTRIC! So much so that from AB to KP, everyone’s been raving about how they’ve never seen cricket stadiums in South Africa THIS ALIVE in a long, long time!
Beautiful, isn’t it? Long may it continue!
On that note, let’s get to the round-up without wasting any more characters!
What does the table look like?Suuuuuuper tight! Pretoria Capitals have a healthy lead at the top of the table but look below them: a solitary point separates #2 and #6. You love to see it!
Essentially, outside the Capitals, every single side has been outstanding in patches but inconsistent overall.
Following the curtain-raiser, in which MI Cape Town thrashed the Paarl Royals, every single soul thought that MI would run away with the tournament but that hasn’t been the case, at all. They, if anything, have been the most inconsistent side, with their form reading W L W L L.
All in all, the first phase of the tournament has beautifully set-up the rest of the competition.
Highlights from the first week
Brevis and Jofra Archer, the MI boys, light up the first day!
If you tuned into the first game of the SA20 just for two reasons — to watch Brevis bat and Archer bowl — you weren’t the only one. Sure, the likes of Buttler, Miller and Sam Curran all featured in the contest too but none of them had you excited with curiosity like Brevis and Archer.
And I’ll tell you what, the two Mumbai Indians boys DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
While Archer, playing his first professional game in 18 months, bowled like he’d never missed a day of cricket, picking up a three-fer, Brevis made himself the poster-boy of the competition with a delicious 70* that featured five glorious sixes. Brevis broke the internet with his knock: everyone raved about him for the next 48 hours!
Donavon Ferreira announces himself on the big stage too!
Everyone who wondered why Rajasthan Royals splashed INR 50L on an unknown entity in Donavon Ferreira got their answer in match number two of the competition.
Ferreira walked into the SA20 with a reputation of being an explosive lower-order hitter and he justified the hype in his very first appearance. Walking in at 27/4 at the end of the powerplay, Ferreira smashed an unbeaten 82* off just 40 balls to take Joburg Super Kings to 190/6.
There was zero fear in Ferreira’s approach and his knock featured some TRULY RI-DI-CU-LOUS STRIKES!
Morgs turns back the clock!Eoin Morgan has spent a good part of the last year commentating more than playing, but against the Super Giants in Durban, he truly turned back the clock.
Morgan’s team (Paarl Royals) were in a hopeless situation chasing 217, but just when everyone thought the game was done for good, the 36-year-old single-handedly injected life into the chase by smoking 64 off just 37 balls. Morgan’s knock featured five towering sixes.
The Royals ultimately fell short, but Morgan ensured that the spectators got their money’s worth.
Will Jacks makes the SA20 his own!
Imagine being the third-highest run-getter in the competition, boasting the highest strike rate, posting the highest individual score AND taking the catch of the tournament (and arguably the year).
Yeah, this is the kind of start Will Jacks has had to the SA20. He’s been a cheat code and the primary reason why Pretoria Capitals find themselves sitting comfortably at the top of the table.
RCB have quite a player in their hands, eh?
Marco Jansen evolves to the next level — with the bat
That Marco Jansen is taking the SA20 by storm should surprise no one. But hello? WITH THE BAT? Come on!
Jansen has faced 66 balls in the competition so far and he’s belted 118 runs of em! He’s hit more sixes (11) than ANY OTHER PLAYER in the league.
On Wednesday he single-handedly dragged Sunrisers Eastern Cape to victory by smashing 66 off 27 and in that knock, HE TOOK RASHID KHAN FOR 28 RUNS IN A SINGLE OVER.
That’s right, Jansen went 6 4 6 6 0 6 against THE RASHID KHAN!
If indeed Jansen has evolved with the bat in hand, it’s over for the rest of the world!
Joburg Kings CAN’T STOP COLLAPSING!Lowest total of SA20 - 81, Jo'burg Kings
Most wickets lost in the powerplay - 13, Jo'burg Kings
Most wickets lost in the competition - 41, Jo'burg Kings (14 more than any other side)
Some significant collapses (already) so far this season: 27/4 vs DSG, 36/7 vs PR, 41/4 vs MI, 26/7 vs PC
Yep, there’s been a collapse pandemic in the Jo'burg camp. No wonder they find themselves bottom of the table!
Top performers with the batWhile Klaasen, Jacks and Salt have been stand-outs, Buttler 117/39/121 (runs/avg/SR), Miller 79/26/138 and Markram 113/28/131 have all blown hot-and-cold and have struggled to dominate. Jason Roy 61/15/97 and Van der Dussen 56/19/100 have been proper duds.
Even Brevis has struggled big-time post the curtain-raiser, his last two scores reading 6 (8) and 15 (28).
Top performers with the ballSitting on the top of the wicket-takers chart are two relatively unknown figures, but both individuals received attention ahead of the competition. Evan Jones, curiously enough, went viral for his six-hitting but it’s with the ball that he’s shone. Baartman was one of Aakash’s players to watch out for. Another youngster who was on the list, Eathan Bosch, has been outstanding for the Capitals, taking 5 wickets at an ER of 7.15.
The two big disappointments with the ball, really, have been Rashid Khan (4 wickets at ER 8.15) and Sam Curran (3 wickets at ER 9.31).
Among the South Africans, while Nortje (8 wickets at ER 5.81) and Rabada (5 wickets at ER 6.00) have been exceptional, Shamsi (2 wickets at ER 9.37) has been below-par. Marco Jansen (3 wickets at ER 7.73) has not been at his very best with the ball, but he’s more than made up for it with the bat.
A name you won't see in the graphic above is Kyle Mayers, because he's only bowled 5 overs. But Mayers has astonishing figures — 17 runs in 5 overs @ ER 3.40 — and he also just happened to bowl the uncontested ball of the tournament.