Photo Credit: SA20 League
With the amount of cricket that gets played in the modern era, and the mushrooming of T20 Leagues around the world causing players to pull on a different jersey almost every other month, there is the risk of it all losing its value.
Particularly overseas players that are traded all around the global circuit often don’t have the same affiliation and deep-rooted affection for their adopted teams as they may have for their home unions, provinces and counties.
But down at the Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the Betway SA20, the inaugural champions have developed a team culture that has everyone, including the internationals, forging together with a common goal.
It certainly is a unique phenomenon in this era of franchise cricket, and ultimately proving to be the difference in many close encounters.
The Sunrisers have edged out MI Cape Town in successive matches by the slender margin of four runs, holding their nerve both at Newlands and St George’s Park.
An even greater testament to their team culture was their ability to bounce back from being on the other side of the coin in another thriller against the Pretoria Capitals just a few nights ago at Centurion.
“We are a very tight group. We get along and play for each other,” said English all-rounder Liam Dawson after the victory over MI Cape Town.
“We don’t do too much talking as a group. We just remind each other of the things we’re doing well at the minute.
“If we look at the competition thus far, we’ve done really well as a group. The game in Pretoria, we had a little bit of a blip, but the way we responded was exceptional.
“There is a lot of fight in the changeroom. It’s not just the 11 that go out to play, but the whole squad and the support staff.”
Dawson has been a valuable addition to the Sunrisers’ squad, where he has had to fill the massive void left by Roelof van der Merwe’s departure at the end of last season.
He has shown that he is equally adept at making contributions with both bat and ball, with his removal of a well-set Sam Curran during Saturday’s run-chase coming at a vital stage of the match.
The 33-year-old is definitely enjoying his time in the Eastern Cape, as his celebration showed when he ran off in the direction of the famous St George’s Park brass band.
“I said to one of the boys, that’s probably … if not the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in front of. It was phenomenal. It was exceptional,” Dawson said.
“When I came here, everyone talked about how good the crowd was, and to experience that, it was one the best atmosphere’s I’ve ever played in front of.”