Markram’s all-around play helps Sunrisers Eastern Cape open their SA20 account.
Sunrisers Eastern Cape beat MI Cape Town by four wickets in Gqeberha on Monday to win their first game of the inaugural season of SA20. Aiden Markram (2 for 8 & 50 off 35) was a key contributor to the victory (January 16). Although George Linde provided late momentum with an undefeated 63 off 28, SEC’s middle order ultimately sealed the match for them.
Having been put into bat first, MI quickly found themselves in a precarious position at 30 for 2 after only five overs thanks to wickets from Ottniel Baartman and Sisanda Magala inside the PowerPlay. After the Power Play, when they sought to restart the innings, Markram entered the game to once again apply the brakes. He removed Dewald Brevis and Sam Curran, two dangerous batsmen who could have turned the game against the bowlers even from this low score, in consecutive overs. However, Brevis was having trouble scoring runs and was dismissed for a forgettable 15 runs off of 28 balls after getting holed out while trying to break the bonds. Curran attempted a short corner but nicked it to the keeper, resulting in a goal kick for the keeper and an 8-yard loss.
MI was in trouble at 52 for 4, but a 59-run partnership between Linde and Rassie van der Dussen saved the day. Magala broke the stand, but Linde scored a fifty to push the team over the 150-run plateau.
When Curran had the chasing side at 9 for 2 in the third over, MI probably thought they had a good chance at a third win of the season, but the middle order for SEC came through when they needed them most. For the third wicket, Sarel Erwee and Markram put up 92 runs off of 58 balls, putting their team in a strong position to win. SEC went from being 101 for 2 to being 107 for 4 after wickets from Rashid Khan and Odean Smith in consecutive overs. This included the dismissals of Erwee and Markram.
But the outstanding Tristan Stubbs stepped up to the plate and helped turn the tide back in his team’s favour. In order for the SEC to win, they needed 30 runs in three overs, but Stubbs reduced that to 18 runs in two overs by hitting a massive six in the final – of the productive batting over against Smith. Afterwards, he handled Curran with finesse, smashing him for two fours in a 13-run over that reduced the equation to five runs off six balls. James Fuller walked out even though Smith had dismissed Stubbs, and he hit two consecutive fours, ending the chase.
Summary Ratings: MI Cape Town lost by 4 wickets against Sunrisers Eastern Cape 162/6 in 19.3 overs (Aiden Markram 50, Sarel Erwee 41, Tristan Stubbs 30; Odean Smith 3-23) after scoring 158/8 in 20 overs (George Linde 63*, Rassie van der Dussen 29; Ottniel Baartman 3-45, Aiden Markram 2-8, Sisanda Magala 2-22).