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Ken Borland


JSK overwhelm Paarl, need 1 more win to book place in SA20 final

Posted on February 08, 2024 by Ken

Sam Cook of Joburg Super Kings celebrates one of his four wickets at the Wanderers during his record spell for an SA20 debutant.
Photo: Shaun Roy (Sportzpics)

The Joburg Super Kings just need to win one more game to book their place in the SA20 final after they threw everything at the deflated Paarl Royals and hammered them by nine wickets with 40 balls to spare in their Eliminator at the Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

Having just scraped into the playoffs with victory in their last round-robin game, the Super Kings will now face the Durban Super Giants in Qualifier 2 at the Wanderers on Thursday, the winner going on to play defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the final at Newlands on Saturday.

Before their almost complete victory over the Royals, Joburg’s best showing in the tournament had been in the previous game when they registered a rousing win in the final over against the selfsame Super Giants last weekend.

Wednesday was a night when just about everything went according to plan for the Super Kings, starting with winning the toss and sending Paarl in to bat first, which has generally been tougher this season at the Wanderers.

And then Sam Cook, making his SA20 debut because strike bowler Lizaad Williams picked up an injury, struck twice in his second over, removing Paarl’s two leading run-scorers going into the game, Jos Buttler (10) and Mitchell van Buuren (0).

Van Buuren’s dismissal was courtesy of a sensational catch by Imran Tahir, who showed that age is just a number by racing back from short fine-leg and diving to take a catch over his shoulder. At 44 years old, Tahir has been “poor in the field” this season, JSK coach Stephen Fleming admitted, but he took a second fantastic catch when he intercepted Dane Vilas’s sweep that was looking like being a low, flat six, at fine leg off Nandre Burger.

Burger also dismissed Jason Roy (24) and Wihan Lubbe (4), finally getting the wickets his excellent bowling this season has deserved.

While fast bowlers Cook, whose four for 24 in 3.5 overs were the best ever figures by an SA20 debutant, and Burger (4-0-26-3) shared most of the wickets, spinners Moeen Ali (4-0-26-1) and Tahir (4-0-33-2) were able to tie the batsmen down and strike, while seamer Dayyaan Galiem bowled two tidy overs for 11 runs.

From 43 for four, Vilas (21) and David Miller were able to double the total with their stand of 44 off 34 deliveries, and the Royals were relying on captain Miller for a big finish to give them a competitive score. But Miller was caught behind off a Tahir googly at the end of the 17th over with the total on 126.

Eventually Paarl finished on 138, bowled out in 19 overs, setting them on track for their fifth successive defeat.

Joburg Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming.
Photo: Shaun Roy (Sportzpics)

“We weren’t 100% with the ball, but we were on the right areas for long enough and we had a bit of luck,” a smiling Fleming said after the triumph. “It’s a very fine line, on certain days you can do everything right but it just doesn’t work.

“The word momentum is over-used, sometimes it’s just slightly different training or words beforehand that can turn things around, and we were nicely in the moment this evening.

“Imran has been poor in the field for us this season, and then he takes a couple of catches like that! That’s when you know it’s your day,” Fleming said.

Faced with a potentially tricky target if they lost early wickets, the Super Kings were on fire from the start of their chase.

In the briefing before their innings, the importance of a good start would have been emphasised, and once Leus du Plooy had lashed 68 off 43 balls, JSK were always going to make short work of the chase.

Du Plooy’s innings, laced with seven fours and two sixes, was a fine example of dominant strokeplay and clever shot options.

With Faf du Plessis giving perfect, sensible support at the other end, they raised their century partnership for the first wicket in the 10th over, Du Plooy falling soon after, stumped off Tabraiz Shamsi.

But by then Du Plessis was giving the Royals bowlers a battering as well, and he finished with 55 not out off 34 deliveries.

When your best performance of the season comes at the start of the knockout rounds, your coach is going to be well-pleased, and Fleming was certainly chuffed.

“That was right up there as one of our most complete performances, and also with the status of the game. It’s a great time to have the sort of performance we aim for.

“The start of the chase was so good, it just killed the game, we polished off that target. It was a really good win,” Fleming said.

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