Paarl Royals claim sweet revenge in SA20 Cape derby

Bjorn Fortuin of Paarl Royals sends down a delievry

Paarl Royals ace Bjorn Fortuin (3/15) had promised in the pre-match that this encounter would be different, particularly due to the contrasting conditions at the winelands venue. Picture: Shaun Roy/SportzPics

Published Jan 21, 2024


Revenge is pretty sweet.

That’s how the Paarl Royals will be feeling after despatching neighbours MI Cape Town by 59 runs in the Cape derby in the SA20 at a searing Boland Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Royals had been on the other side of the coin on three previous occasions, most recently as Friday evening at Newlands where MI Cape Town triumphed once more.

But Royals ace Bjorn Fortuin (3/15) had promised in the pre-match that this encounter would be different, particularly due to the contrasting conditions at the winelands venue.

Bravado backed up

And it was Fortuin that backed up his bravado with a devastating new-ball spell that shocked MI Cape Town to its core.

The left-arm spinner had endured a quiet start to the second season of the competition, with the Royals seamers dominating the Power Play in previous matches. But in front of his home crowd with all his family and friends in attendance, Fortuin delivered a performance to remember.

MI Cape Town had yet to lose a wicket in the Power Play during their first four matches with openers Ryan Rickleton and Rassie van der Dussen in imperious form.

But Fortuin struck with just his third delivery when he had Van der Dussen caught behind for a duck.

The 29-year-old then sent the Royals fans, who had come out in their thousands to fill up Boland Park, into raptures when he clean bowled Dewald Brevis with an arm ball the next delivery.

The SA20 Cape derby may be brief in history, but Fortuin etched his name into the growing folklore of this contest right there by reducing MI Cape Town to 2/1.

The visitors never recovered from the double blowwith seamers Obed McCoy (2/18) having the tournament’s leading run-scorer Rickelton (5) caught at mid-wicket. It was the first time the dashing left-hander was dismissed for below fifty in the tournament.

Rookie Connor Esterhuizen tried to keep the MI Cape Town innings afloat with a solid 32 and Liam Livingstone also contributed 22, but neither could cope with Fortuin’s spin twin Tabraiz Shamsi.

Turning the screws

The left-arm wrist spinner maintained the vice-like grip on the visitors during the middle period with figures of 2/11 from his four overs.

In contrast to how the tournament has progressed thus far, it was the turn of the Royals opening pair Jason Roy and Jos Buttler to enthral with a 116-run opening stand.

Roy has been lean of runs for a period of time, but after threatening at Newlands on Friday evening, the former England World Cup exploded on Sunday.

Roy blasted 68 off 46 balls, taking a particular fancy to MI Cape Town spearhead Kagiso Rabada (0/38), as the home team built up the momentum they required from the start.

And with Buttler also contributing 54 from 42 balls, the Royals could afford an MI Cape Town fightback through new Sri Lankan signing Nuwan Thushara (2/27) and losing captain David Miller (24) to a calf strain as they posted a more than competitive 162/3.

Ultimately it was more than enough with the Royals claiming the bonus point to entrench the Paarl side at the top of the SA20 table, and equally a share of the bragging rights in the Western Cape.