Not at all the result we wanted before our Qualifier 1 date against Sunrisers next week, but props to Joburg Super Kings for grabbing a clutch final-over victory against us to qualify for the SA20 2024 playoffs.
Also, losing the match with just one ball remaining hurts a little. Our seven-wicket loss against JSK on Saturday in Johannesburg means we finish the league stage with 32 points from our 10 outings.
We still top the table but Sunrisers Eastern Cape can leapfrog us if they win well against Royals on Sunday but that doesn’t change a thing. We’ll still be facing the defending champions in the first qualifier.
Smuts, Mulder and Klaasen take charge after a rocky start
Sent in to bat first, our innings didn’t start well. Within the first five overs, we were looking down the barrel at 32/3, having lost Matthew Breetzke, Toni de Zorzi and Dwaine Pretorius in quick succession.
Lizaad Williams dealt most of the early damage, removing both of our openers.
But like we have done so many times this season, we recovered from the rocky start and how!
JJ Smuts and Wiaan Mulder came together in the middle and started to rebuild. The two batted smartly and kept the scoreboard ticking nicely. Before long, Smuts and Mulder both completed their half-centuries and put up 115 for the fourth wicket.
We seemed primed for a late flourish at 147/3, but losing both Smuts and Mulder in consecutive deliveries did give the Super Kings some hope to restrict us in the final overs.
However, in walked Heinrich Klaasen and poured water on any such plans. Nandre Burger conceded 23 in the 18th over while Williams, who finished with figures of 3/47, gave away 22 in the 19th as Klaasen (40 off 16) provided a late surge.
Our innings eventually closed at 203/6.
Noor brilliance falls just short
Chasing 204 in front of their home fans to make the playoffs, JSK got off to a brilliant start with Faf du Plessis and Leus du Plooy putting up 102 on the board in the first nine overs.
The introduction of spinners somewhat curbed the Super Kings’ scoring rate and it was Noor Ahmad, who has been excellent for us so far this season, who gave us the much-needed breakthrough, castling JSK captain du Plessis LBW for 57.
The 19-year-old Afghan magician struck again in the 16th over to remove Leus du Plooy from the board and finished the match with figures of 2/16 in his four overs.
His tight bowling in the middle overs and the two crucial wickets kept Super Kings in check and they needed 28 off the final two overs of the match.
However, a late surge, first by Moeen Ali (26 off 12) and then Donovan Ferreira (14* off three) got JSK over the finish line with just one ball to spare. This was also the highest successful run chase in SA20 history.
What next for the Super Giants?
We’re off to Cape Town next to play Sunrisers Cape Town in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday.
Brief Scores: Durban’s Super Giants 203/6 in 20 overs (Wiaan Mulder 59; Lizaad Williams 3/47) lost to Joburg Super Kings 209/3 in 19.5 overs (Faf du Plessis 57; Noor Ahmad 2/16) by seven wickets.