Centurion — Aiden Markram delivered the perfect captain’s innings to power his team into the Betway SA20 final where they will meet the Pretoria Capitals at the Wanderers on Saturday.
Markram playing at Centurion — a ground he knows exceptionally well — struck a brilliant 100 off 58 balls that propelled the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to 213/5. It was an exceptional innings due to Markram walking to the crease when the Sunrisers were in real trouble at 10/2.
The Joburg Super Kings had made the perfect start to the second semi-final with Lizaad Williams (4/41) removing Temba Bavuma for a golden duck and Adam Rossington.
However, Markram and young Jordan Hermann rebuilt the Sunrisers’ innings with a 99-run partnership for the third wicket that shifted the momentum.
Even when Hermann was run out for 48 (36 balls), the Sunrisers continued to put the Super Kings under pressure through cameos from Tristan Stubbs (20 off 11 balls) and Jordon Cox (18 off six balls).
But it was the captain Markram that royally entertained through a mixture of brute force and delicate placement to put his team in the driving seat at the interval.
The Sunrisers’ position was entrenched even further with Sisanda Magala’s first ball of the Super Kings innings. The JSK captain Faf du Plessis has been integral to his team’s campaign thus far, but the skipper departed for his second golden duck in successive innings.
Du Plessis’ demise set back the Super Kings back severely, especially as they had sprung a surprise by opening the batting with regular tailender Gerald Coetzee.
The Super Kings were plunged deeper into the quagmire when the equally prolific Leus du Plooy was caught for a duck by Bavuma off Marco Jansen.
But the Super Kings had not come this far in the competition without showing grit and determination.
Reeza Hendricks, who was dropped down to No 4 in the batting order, kept the Super Kings’ flame burning until the very end with a superb 96 off just 54 balls (11x4, 4x6).
Hendricks could ultimately not do it all on his own, and despite cameos from Romario Shepherd (38*) and Donovan Ferreira (20), the Sunrisers held their nerve to book their place in Saturday’s final against the Capitals.