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Sunrisers lift maiden SA20 title with resounding win over table-toppers

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Last updated on 12 Feb 2023 | 05:02 PM
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Sunrisers lift maiden SA20 title with resounding win over table-toppers

Adam Rossington's quickfire fifty after van der Merwe's four-for staged a comfortable win for Sunrisers Eastern Cape

A clinical bowling performance, powered by Roelof van der Merwe’s 4/31, and Adam Rossington’s breathtaking 57 off 30 balls has made the Sunrisers Eastern Cape maiden SA20 champions. In a low-scoring final on Sunday (February 12) in Johannesburg, the Sunrisers raced to a 4-wicket win, chasing down Pretoria’s 135 with 22 balls remaining. 

Rossington’s quickfire fifty was the difference between both sides. Modest totals can be tricky to chase especially on slow tracks as Johannesburg’s New Wanderers Stadium has produced all season. However, Rossington broke the back of the chase in the powerplay itself, scoring 52 off 20 balls at the six-over mark. In the sixth over itself, he hammered Migael Pretorius for 26 runs (6 4 0 6 6 4). 

Thanks to his blitzkrieg, Sunrisers were already 76/1 at the end of the powerplay. On a pitch that aided spinners, Sunrisers were already halfway through their target before Pretoria could bring in their ace leg-spinner, Adil Rashid. 

Sunrisers’ progression was halted as soon as the spinners came in the attack when the field spread out. Post powerplay, the Sunrisers scored 61/5 in 10.2 overs with the spinners picking 29/2 in six overs between them (Rashid and Colin Ingram). Meanwhile, Pretorius and Eathan Bosch conceded 63 runs in four overs between them in the powerplay and Pretoria could never recover from that. 

“With the small totals, we have to break the back up front, and Rossington is the right guy to do that,” skipper Aiden Markram highlighted Rossington’s contribution post match. 

Earlier, with the bat, no Pretoria batter got going once the pitch slowed down. In eight overs between them, van der Merwe and  Markram picked 5/48. Pretoria lost wickets in quick succession, losing both their openers at the score of 33, then their third and fourth wicket at 64 and 66 respectively. 

They still gave themselves a chance to get closer to 150 but skittled from 127/6 to 127/9 which crippled their final score. Kusal Mendis was their highest scorer - 21 off 19 balls. Hence, Pretoria lost out on the battle of spin, as we mentioned as a threat to their chances in our preview for this fixture

“If we had 155-160, it would have been a better game. In the end it looks close, but with 135 if someone has a great hit in the powerplay, it is difficult to put it back. In hindsight, probably would have bowled Nortje and Rashid earlier, but we needed 20 runs more,” said Pretoria’s skipper Wayne Parnell assessing the defeat in the final. 

Van der Merwe was adjudged as Player of the Match for his 4/31. Markram won the Player of the Tournament award for his all-round contributions throughout the season. Alongside scoring 366 runs, including a hundred in the semi-final, he pouched 11 wickets at an economy 6.2. Even in this final, he scored a crucial 26 off 19 after picking 1/17 with the ball. 

In other awards, Jos Buttler was the Batter of the Tournament, scoring the most runs in the tournament - 391 runs. Van der Merwe, joint highest wicket taker in the tournament (20 wickets) but at a lower economy than that of Anrich Nortje (5.6 against Nortje's 6.2) was awarded the Bowler of the Tournament. Pretoria’s Eathan Bosch was picked as the Rising Young Star of the season. 

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