Photo Credit: SA20 League
Jon-Jon Smuts believes his “local knowledge” of the St George’s Park pitch and conditions provided him with the point of difference in the Betway SA20 clash against Durban’s Super Giants on Saturday evening.
Smuts has played virtually his entire professional career in Gqeberha, starting with Eastern Province and then the Warriors in Cricket SA’s domestic competitions. He also formed part of the Sunrisers Eastern Cape’s championship-winning squad last season.
The 35-year-old, however, became the first player to be part of a trade-off with Smuts moving to DSG and Simon Harmer heading to the Sunrisers.
DSG certainly benefited a great deal with Smuts delivering a superb all-round performance, which included 75 off 38 balls and a fine spell of 2/36, to drive the visitors to a 35-run victory.
“Playing at St George’s Park is always special. I know this wicket pretty well. Have spent a lot of time here,” Smuts said.
“When I started playing here it was of course very low and slow. Back then you struggled to get 220 in a 50-overs game. But since the new lights have been put in, I feel the wicket has changed up a lot. It has become a bit of a batting paradise.
“It’s a wicket that can be quite difficult to come in on, but when batters get going, it’s difficult to defend. Local knowledge certainly helped in terms of knowing how to use the wind also a bit better. A lot of the sixes when to the bigger boundary but with the wind it carried. Nice to get runs here and get the team over the line.”
Smuts’ spell of left-arm spin was also hugely influential in the eventual outcome. After a slowish start that saw the Sunrisers top-order pegged back to just 29/2 in the first five overs of the Powerplay, the home team were beginning to build momentum through Tom Abell and captain Aiden Markram.
The pair had added 93 runs in under nine overs to resurrect the chase and Markram was looking particularly ominous.
But that’s when Smuts made a big play yet again by clean bowling an advancing Markram to peg the Sunrisers back once more.
“He’s a big wicket (Markram) – obviously delighted to see the back of him,” Smuts said.
The Super Giants head back home now where they will face Joburg Super Kings at Kingsmead on Monday in a bid to preserve their 100% Season 2 record.