SA20 League: Iconic moments of the group stage

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Photo Credit: SA20 League

With world-class stars, fantastic venues filled with passionate fans and top-notch entertainment maintaining an excellent vibe it’s no wonder that Betway SA20 Season 2 has delivered incredible cricket thus far.

Iconic moments and incredible performances happened throughout the group stage, fuelled by teams fighting to get into the playoffs and players targeting the various individual awards.

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Here we wrap 10 of the best moments and performances so far, with more sure to follow in the knockout stage:

KLAASIE GOES SWINGING TO BEAT THE RAIN

Heinrich Klaasen started 2024 just as he went through the whole of 2023, by producing a sizzling performance for Durban’s Super Giants in their Betway SA20 Season 2 opener at Kingsmead against MI Cape Town.

Klaasen’s 85 off 35 balls (containing 4×4 and 8 maximums) allowed DSG to open their campaign with an 11-run Duckworth-Lewis victory after a late downpour brought an early close to proceedings.

RASSIE AND RICKS GO BIG

Records have tumbled throughout Season 2 so far, and Rassie van der Dussen and Ryan Rickelton got the ball rolling (or flying, rather). Against Joburg Super Kings, the MI Cape Town opening pair smashed the ball all over ‘The Bullring’. By the end of their assault, they had brought up the League’s first-ever 200-run partnership during which ‘RVD’ brought up the season’s first century while ‘Ricks’ fell ever so short on 98.

NGIDI MAKES USE OF HOME COMFORTS

The nature of Betway SA20 is that many local players are playing for teams ‘away from home’ but when they return in-season the motivation to succeed is high. So, when Paarl Royals met Pretoria Capitals at Centurion, Lungi Ngidi was a man possessed.

Two days earlier, Ngidi used his slower balls and variations at Boland Park but at Centurion he cranked up the pace to claim two wickets in the first over of the Capitals’ run chase – Phil Salt and Theunis de Bruyn. Ngidi then returned at the death to claim a further two wickets to finish with figures of 4-39 and help the men in pink to a Season 2 double over the Capitals.

TOPLEY AT THE DEATH

Durban’s Super Giants’ left-arm quick Reece Topley has been backed by English legend Stuart Broad to finish Betway SA20 Season 2 as the top wicket taker and he showed just why that is a possibility with expert death bowling against Joburg Super Kings in Match 7.

With the men in yellow threatening a late charge, Topley snaffled ever-dangerous Moeen Ali before finishing the piece with the wickets of Lizaad Williams and David Wiese – his 3-19 sealing a 37-run victory for DSG.

HERMANN SHOWS NERVES OF STEEL

Sunrisers Eastern Cape’s batting roster has some world class performers among it. Whether it’s Dawid Malan, a former number-one ranked T20I batter, Proteas T20I captain Aiden Markram or Tristan Stubbs (SA20’s record buy), there’s quality to call on.

However, when the Orange Army needed a cool head to measure their chase against MI Cape Town at Newlands, Jordan Hermann reconfirmed that he is a batter for the future.

The 22-year-old delivered a magisterial innings of 106 not off 62 balls (8×4, 6×6), joining the growing list of SA20 centurions and powering the Sunrisers to a thrilling four-run victory over MI Cape Town.

BAARTMAN HOLDS HIS NERVE

It is an oft-forgotten fact that the first two players signed to Sunrisers Eastern Cape at the inception of Betway SA20 was Aiden Markram, who became captain, and Ottniel Baartman.

The 30-year-old seamer showed his value in Match 8 against MI Cape Town. Just as the home team looked on course for victory at Newlands, Baartman had Ryan Rickelton caught at long-on to give the visitors hope. Soon after Dewald Brevis fell into a hooking trap, before Baartman skittled Liam Livingstone.

His final act of the night arguably impressed the most; as Baartman nailed down yorker after yorker in the final over to secure the Orange Army a narrow four-run victory – their first of Season 2.

FERREIRA GOES LONG TO SET THE BAR HIGH

When Heinrich Klaasen hit a 105m six at the coast at Kingsmead, Joburg Super Kings batters seemed to take it more personally than Liam Dawson and the Sunrisers Eastern Cape. The very next day, in the Highveld Derby against Pretoria Capitals Moeen Ali flicked a six all of 103m but it was his batting partner, Donovan Ferreira, who truly lit up Wanderers.

On the way to carrying JSK past Capitals’ score of 167-9, Ferreira smashed the fastest 50 in SA20 history (at the time) – off just 18 balls. His blistering innings included three sixes, the second of which sailed an incredible 106m to put him top of the Zoho Longest Sixes standings…

BUTTLER PROVES CLASS IS PERMANENT

Paarl Royals’ Jos Buttler was the top-scorer in Betway SA20 Season 1, before a lean patch followed with England through the rest of the 2023. However, a return to the tranquil winelands has reinvigorated ‘The Boss’ – best illustrated when Joburg Super Kings came to Boland Park for Match 9.

Buttler drove, paddled and walloped his way to an unbeaten 70, to secure a bonus point victory over Faf du Plessis’ men and become only the second player to 500 SA20 runs.

JACKS OF ALL TRADES

Season 1 proved that Englishman Will Jacks knew how to smash a six (and make fans richer at the same time), but this campaign the Pretoria Capitals star has truly shown his all-round value.

No more so was this evident than in Match 10, against high-flying Durban’s Super Giants at his favoured Centurion. Jacks clobbered his way to his first SA20 century (off just 41 balls) which included his fifth Betway Catch R2 Million winner. Then, his crafty off-spinners brought him figures of 2-18 which ultimately left the DSG 17 runs short of victory. As if that wasn’t enough, the 25-year-old added a catch to his match’s work too.

NOOR AHMAD TAKES FIRST FIVE-FOR

Few will forget the Sunday afternoon when Durban’s Super Giants’ Noor Ahmad announced himself on the SA20 centre stage – Paarl Royals certainly won’t. In just 3.2 overs, the Afghanistan wrist-spinner claimed 5/11 to help skittle the men in pink for just 83 in response to DSG’s mammoth 208/7.

Noor was on a hat-trick on two occasions as he sent Royals captain David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo back to the pavilion with successive deliveries before repeating the act against Obed McCoy and Tabraiz Shamsi. Bjorn Fortuin was also part of his five victims.

VERREYNNE SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Following a relative glut of three hundreds in the first week of Season 2, the bowlers seemed to hold their own for the next two weeks… until Kyle Verreynne produced the best rearguard performance of the campaign for Pretoria Capitals in Match 26.

Coming to the wicket at first drop in the crucial home fixture against MI Cape Town, Verreynne lost five partners in quick succession to leave Capitals reeling at 42-6 – and their playoffs hopes in tatters. Cue a counter-attack from the 26-year-old wicketkeeper-batter which yielded seven fours and League high nine sixes. Not only did Verreynne, bring up the fourth century of the campaign, but he reset SA20’s high score at 116* and denied MICT a bonus point they look destined for to keep the three-team Race to the Playoffs going until the final weekend of the group stage.

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