With the arrival of the SA20 League, cricket in South Africa got a shot in the arm and has become the cynosure for all eyes.
Durban's Super Giants (DSG), led by South African gloveman Quinton de Kock, had a rollercoaster ride through the 2023 season. They wrapped up their last league game against Pretoria Capitals with a huge 151-run win.
Despite winning four games, DSG fell agonizingly short of the playoff spots due to an inferior net run rate as they ended their campaign in fifth position in the standings with 19 points. Heinrich Klaasen (363 runs) and Reece Topley (10 wickets) were the top performers for the Super Giants.
As we approach the business end of the inaugural SA20 season, let's rewind and look back at the Super Giants’ first campaign.
Durban's Super Giants locked horns with Joburg Super Kings in their SA20 opener. Riding on Skipper de Kock (78) and Kyle Mayers’ (39) stunning knocks, DSG were on their way to a promising win but a batting collapse in the second half of the chase meant that DSG fell short of the target.
The Super Giants made a superb comeback by winning their next two games in a row against MI Capetown and Paarl Royals. Mayers and Heinrich Klaasen's match-winning performances helped the Super Giants register successive wins.
Unfortunately, DSG failed to continue their winning streak further and instead went on to lose four games in a row before the season break. Spinners Keshav Maharaj, Prenelan Subrayen and Simon Harmer were bowling economically but failed to get wickets regularly as DSG faltered.
After a week's break, the Super Giants returned to action against MI Capetown. Skipper de Kock's 63-run Player of the Match knock propelled DSG to a five-wicket victory and helped them return to winning ways. A couple of more wins could have changed their fortunes as far as the playoffs were concerned but a washout against Sunrisers Eastern Cape proved to be a setback for the Super Giants.
However, the Super Giants fans were hoping for a better end to the campaign, and they got it. Put into bat first, de Kock and Ben McDermott laid the foundation before Klaasen's scintillating ton muscled DSG to a tournament-best score of 254 runs. They continued their dominance in the second innings which helped hand them a 151-run win against table-toppers Pretoria Capitals.
After four wins in 10 games, DSG were equal on points with the third and fourth-placed teams, however, an inferior run rate meant they missed the playoffs. That said, the Super Giants have plenty to be proud of and are certain to return as a stronger and more well-rounded unit for the second edition of SA20 next year.