As Sunrisers Eastern Cape defeated Joburg Super Kings in the high-scoring second semifinal of the inaugural SA20, Aiden Markram scored his first T20 century. Reeza Hendricks responded with a 54-ball 96, but Captain Markram’s 100 off only 58 deliveries helped the Sunrisers to 213/5, a total that was too high for the Joburg Super Kings to reach. Now, Markram’s team will compete with the league-leading Pretoria Capitals for the title of the competition’s inaugural champion.
After playing one another in back-to-back games to start the season, it will be quite the finish. The Sunrisers suffered big losses in both of those games before reviving their campaign with three straight victories. This theme of recovery carried over to their semifinal match, in which they started poorly by falling to 10/2 in the first over after losing the toss. Markram and Jordan Hermann wasn’t going to be willing participants in Lizaad Williams’ plan to make the Super Kings tighten the screws.
Markram displayed impeccable timing in his first scoring attempt, a boundary over extra coverage off Williams. In the subsequent over from Nandre Burger, he followed that up with a couple of fours, and Sunrisers immediately launched a steady counteroffensive. The Sunrisers reached 72/2 after 10 overs, which was the ideal starting point for increasing the scoring rate. Sunrisers scored 33 runs in the 11th and 12th overs thanks to sixes from Markram and Hermann off Burger and two fours from Romario Shepherd. When Hermann was run out for 48 while attempting to pinch an extra run off Williams’ throwing arm in the next over, the relationship came to an end. Markram, however, was already set by that point and kicked into high gear after reaching his half-century off 40 balls.
Lets take a look at the efforts put by Sunrisers Eastern Cape to put them into the final by beating Joburg Super Kings.
Williams was cut down for a four, and Burger was then hacked over the sweeper cover for a six. In Shepherd’s 18th over, where Markram ripped off two sixes and a four, further mayhem ensued. Another six, this time a slower ball from Williams lofted over extra cover, brought up the century. The Sunrisers had passed 180 after only 17 balls, a score that no other team had attempted to chase during this season. The Super Kings, though, could have thought they were still in the game before Gerald Coetzee’s demoralizing 27-run last over, which included extras and two sixes from Jordan Cox, took the wind out of their sails. When the in-form JSK captain Faf du Plessis fell to the first ball while attempting to pull Sisanda Magala, it spilled over into the early stages of the chase. In the following over, Marco Jansen gave Leus du Plooy a duck, sending JSK tottering. Hendricks attempted to revive the pursuit by hitting four fours off of Magala’s subsequent shot, but the Super Kings only had 42 in the PowerPlay, which was insufficient while pursuing a total in excess of 200.
Roelof van der Merwe and Markram snuck in five overs of spin for 34 runs and a wicket, turning the situation for the worst and left the Super Kings needing an almost impossible 116 from 42 balls. Hendricks maintained finding the boundaries even as the target was eluding him while Donavan Ferreira hit an 8-ball 20. The Super Kings finished with 199, wondering at the conclusion of 40 overs what might have been if they had bowled a tighter 20th over. Forty-four were needed off the final two overs, and even though Shepherd smashed 38 off just 14 balls, the Super Kings needed forty-four.