Sunrisers Eastern Cape narrowly beat MI Cape Town in St George’s Park thriller

Tom Abell of Sunrisers Eastern Cape is congratulated by teammates for running out Rassie van der Dussen of MI Cape Town during their SA20 clash at St George’s Park in Gqeberha on Saturday

Tom Abell of Sunrisers Eastern Cape is congratulated by teammates for running out Rassie van der Dussen of MI Cape Town during their SA20 clash at St George’s Park in Gqeberha on Saturday. Photo: Shaun Roy/Sportzpics

Published Jan 27, 2024


MI Cape Town’s bid to close the gap on the front runners on the SA20 table suffered a further blow at St George’s Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Cape side suffered a four-run defeat in a thriller with the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to remain rooted in fourth place with nine points after seven matches.

The Sunrisers moved up to 19 points - just three and four points adrift of Paarl Royals (2nd) and Durban’s Super Giants (1st) respectively and remain primed to reach the playoffs.

MI Cape Town required 18 runs off the final six balls, but Sunrisers’ Daniel Worrall held his nerve when it mattered most.

Worrall picked up Delano Potgieter with the first ball, courtesy of a good diving catch by Patrick Kruger at fine leg, but most importantly for the Sunrisers it was a dot ball to start the over and kept Kieron Pollard at the non-striker’s end.

George Linde, though, walked to the crease in a determined mood and immediately struck the next two balls for a six and another boundary to reduce the target to eight off three balls.

At that stage, the momentum had now swung towards MI Cape Town but Worrall managed to restrict Linde to a single off the next ball.

Pollard was now finally back on strike, but the big West Indian could only manage a heave into the outfield.

Due to their desperation, Pollard and Linde attempted a second run, but despite Pollard’s diving attempt to get back into his crease, the throw was just too good from Marco Jansen.

This left MI Cape Town needing a maximum from the final delivery, but Worrall kept Thomas Kaber down to a single to edge the Sunrisers over the line.

Earlier, it was the visitors’ bowling unit that had stuck to their task in restricting the Sunrisers to 175/6, despite half-centuries from Tom Abell (60 off 44 balls) and Aiden Markram (54 off 32 balls).

Abell returned to the side after missing the defeat to Pretoria Capitals at Centurion. The Englishman has certainly enjoyed batting at St George’s Park this season with his second half-century on his adopted home ground this season.

And although Markram provided the impetus the innings required along with a cameo from Tristan Stubbs (23 off 13 balls), the visitors rallied through Nuwan Thushara (2/32) and Kagiso Rabada (2/26) to keep the Sunrisers to a total they would have been confident of chasing down.

It was always going to be dependent on a good start from openers Ryan Rickleton and Rassie van der Dussen, who have gone off the boil recently since their red-hot start to season 2.

Calamity struck for MI Cape Town early on though when Rickelton and Van der Dussen were caught up in a mix-up in the middle of the pitch, which allowed Abell to pounce at backward square leg before unleashing a direct hit that left Van der Dussen stranded.

Rickleton and the promoted Liam Livingstone began the rebuilding project, but just when the pair began to create some momentum towards the end of the Power Play they suffered another blow.

Marco Jansen found Rickelton’s top edge after the opener attempted a big heave across the line - only to find Liam Dawson at mid-on.

There were contributions all down the order from Livingstone (26), Sam Curran (30), Pollard (30) and Dewald Brevis (26), the visitors just did not have enough firepower to get them that much-needed victory.


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