Heinrich Klaasen and Ryan Rickelton produced sizzling performances for Durban’s Super Giants and MI Cape Town, respectively, to get Betway SA20 Season 2 underway in thrilling fashion at Kingsmead last night.
Ultimately, it was Klaasen’s 85 off 35 balls that edged out Rickelton’s 87 off 51 balls that allowed DSG to open their campaign with an 11-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS Method) victory, after a late downpour brought an early close to proceedings.
The match was delicately poised at that stage with DSG on 177/6, still requiring 31 runs off 21 balls, in pursuit of MI Cape Town’s 207/5.
Durban’s Super Giants had earlier won the toss and opted to put MI Cape Town in to bat with Rickelton showing his intent early on by smashing England fast bowler Richard Gleeson for 23 in his first over.
MI Cape Town were 61/0 after the six-over Powerplay, with Rickelton and Rassie van der Dussen (24 off 20 balls) eventually sharing an 82-run opening stand in only 7.3 overs before Keamo Paul brought about the opening breakthrough.
Dewald Brevis walked in at No 3 and struck his first ball to the boundary, but his innings was short-lived with DSG captain Keshav Maharaj having him brilliantly caught in the deep by a diving Matthew Breetzke.
MI Cape Town rookie, Connor Esterhuizen, showed off his talent with a couple of sweetly-timed boundaries on his debut, but fell on his sword for 17 off just 10 balls.
Rickelton unfortunately fell short of striking the first century of Betway SA20 Season 2 when Paul deceived him with a slower ball which he chopped on to his stumps.
Liam Livingstone (25 off 20 balls) and MI Cape Town captain Kieron Pollard (31 not out off 14 balls) ensured the visitors did not lose momentum towards the backend of the innings with a couple of brisk cameos towards the backend of the innings.
West Indies all-rounder Paul was DSG’s most successful bowler with figures of 2/31.
DSG’s response was stifled with the loss of former captain Quinton de Kock and Wiaan Mulder within the first 2.2 overs, although Breetzke and Paul guided the hosts to 52/2 at the end of the Powerplay, before the latter departed the very next ball.
Breetzke struck a few delightful boundaries in his 39 off 24 balls (4×4, 2×6) but he perished in the deep off the bowling of Sam Curran.
DSG coach, Lance Klusener, had held Klaasen and West Indian, Nicholas Pooran, back after the loss of the early wickets, but the game was evenly poised when the star pairing eventually joined forces at 99/4 with 9.5 overs remaining.
Pooran showed his delicate touch with a couple of scorching drives, but his time at the crease was short lived when he was caught in the deep off Livingstone.
The stage was now Klaasen’s alone, and as he has done all over the world for the past 18 months, he seized the initiative with a clinical assault on the MI Cape Town spinners.
It forced MI Cape Town captain, Kieron Pollard, to turn towards his premier strike bowler Kagiso Rabada in an attempt to dislodge the dangerous Klaasen.
Rabada (2/23) duly obliged with Klaasen being caught on the boundary shortly before the rain intervened, but ultimately it did not affect the result as the players were not able to return to the field.
The Durban crowd also showed up in numbers with over 10 000 spectators at Kingsmead.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari