Even though Pretoria Capitals defeated Paarl Royals by 59 runs in the last league game of the inaugural season at SuperSport Park in Centurion, Paarl Royals managed to make it into the SA20 semifinals. The hosts, who were given the opportunity to bat, scored 226/5 from their allotted 20 overs, forcing Paarl to scramble for the final semifinal spot.
However, because they were chasing, the Royals had a target within a target to meet in order to maintain a run rate higher than the Durban Super Giants. Early on in the pursuit, it became clear that the Royals were after 163, which was the key number. With Jason Roy, Paul Stirling, and Mitchell Van Buuren back in the hut, even that proved to be challenging as they dropped to 38/3 in the PowerPlay. Buttler held up at one end with minimal assistance from Eoin Morgan (24 off 12), but their chances of moving on seemed slim once the former England captain and then Paarl’s captain David Miller went. Buttler’s experience shone through as he overcame a shaky start to shoulder the responsibility of keeping Paarl over the NRR line with 62 still needed off 38 balls. He dropped Andile Phehlukwayo and Adil Rashid in quick succession, but he still crushed two sixes and a four in Colin Ingram’s 18-run over to keep the Royals in the playoff picture.
When Anrich Nortje struck in the 18th over for four runs, the Royals appeared to fall farther behind and the visitors needed 24 off of 12 to advance. However, Buttler started the penultimate over of James Neesham with six and two fours, reducing the equation to a more manageable 12 off 9. Even though he was out off the next ball for a 45-ball 70, Bjoin Fortuin still managed to push his team over the finish line by hitting a critical boundary later in the over.
Have a look at the scorecard of the match between Pretoria Capitals and Paarl Royals.
The Capitals ransacked the Paarl bowlers for 226 runs earlier in the game, putting a positive spin on their defeat to the Durban Super Giants. Kusal Mendis, their opening batsman from Sri Lanka, led the batting charge as he scored 80 runs off just 41 balls, including four sixes and eight fours. Mendis and Phil Salt added 69 runs together in just 5.2 overs, and they continued to bat into the 17th over, where Ingram and Neesham gave the innings a successful conclusion. Together, the two had a strike rate of nearly 200 and scored 63 runs off just 32 balls. The first semifinal in Johannesburg will feature the same two teams once more. In the other semifinal, Sunrisers Eastern Cape will play Joburg Super Kings in Centurion.