Durban — “What a vibe!” That was the overwhelming feeling at a heaving Kingsmead on a sultry evening in Durban.
It hardly mattered that Durban’s Super Giants fell 16 runs short in a thrilling run-chase because everybody left the ground with a smile on their faces.
Kingsmead has not seen scenes like this for many a year. The grass banks were pumping. Castle Corner — or Super Giants corner as it's known in the SA20 — was rousing and there was even a one-handed catch by a fan that gives him the chance to win a share of R1 million.
Even 76-year-old Mike Proctor was caught beaming over a format of a game that he might once have thought was plain silly.
But on the basis of the first two matches SA20 is bringing everyone back to South African cricket grounds and thus far the people are loving it.
And they were certainly treated to some royale entertainment with Faf du Plessis’ Joburg Super Kings recovering from a precarious 27/4 to post an imposing 190/6.
The innings was transformed by Donovan Ferreira, who fully justified his R5.5 million auction price, with a match-winning 82 off just 40 balls (8x4, 5x6).
Ferreira still has a full-time job outside of cricket, but if he continues to strike the ball in such a clean manner as he did here at Kingsmead, he may have to put in some extended leave.
Ferreira had good support from West Indian Romario Shepherd (40 off 19 balls, 2x4, 4x6) as the Super Giants lost their way at the back end. Du Plessis had earlier tried to hold it all together with 39 at the top.
The Super Giants’ chase was always going to be heavily dependent on their skipper Quinton de Kock and the Proteas white-ball opener delivered in fine style.
De Kock was in sublime form, striking the ball cleanly from the outset, as he and West Indian Kyle Mayers launched the chase in spectacular fashion with a 98-run partnership in 11 overs.
Mayers may have played the supporting role with 39 off 29 balls, but he certainly won over the heart of the Durban faithful with a massive six that sailed over the stands and into West Street.
De Kock maintained the momentum after Mayers’ dismissal as he moved to 78 off 52 balls, but unfortunately Heinrich Klaasen (20 off 21 balls), Wiaan Mulder (10 off 9 balls) and Dwaine Pretorius (14 off six balls) could not provide the impetus the Super Giants required to get over the line.
Ferreria capped a fine night with a superb bowling performance of 1/28 off his four overs by conceding just seven runs per over.
It was a night Ferreira will certainly remember in his embryonic professional career, but it was also evening that Durban cricket fans fell in love with the game again.
Joburg Super Kings: 190/6 (Donovan Ferreira 82*, Romario Shepherd 40, Prenelan Subrayen 2/26, Keshav Maharaj 1/23)
Durban Super Giants: 174/5 (Quinton de Kock 78, Kyle Mayers 39, Alzarri Joseph 2/30, Donovan Ferreira 1/28)
Joburg Super Kings won by 16 runs