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Markram and Stubbs Star as Sunrisers Eastern Cape Claim First SA20 Victory

On January 16, Monday, MI Cape Town and Sunrisers Eastern Cape faced off in the ninth encounter of the SA20 competition at St George’s Park in Gqeberha. The competition came down to the wire, literally, as both teams put forth huge efforts to win. However, the Sunrisers triumphed in the end, defeating Cape Town in the final over.

MI Cape Town got off to a shaky start, as they lost two important wickets in the powerplay, Ryan Rickleton and Grant Roelofsen, both of whom were removed cheaply. Dewald Brevis, a local hero who batted first for Cape Town, failed to get going this time around and was finally removed after the powerplay for a 28-ball 15.

The top-order failed to provide a memorable performance as MI Cape Town struggled in the early portions of the game. The seamers for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape performed an excellent job of restraining the opposing batting while also picking up wickets on a regular basis. Rassie van der Dussen and George Linde’s 59-run combination then kept Cape Town’s innings alive.

George preserved his team’s innings by scoring a critical half-century under duress, batting at a strike rate of 225 and hitting five sixes and four fours to finish with 63*(28). MI Cape Town were able to survive the blows dealt by the opposition thanks to his knock, posting a respectable 158/8 at the conclusion of their 20-overs quota.

Cape Town’s all-rounder Sam Curran went right to work, dismissing Sunrisers opener Adam Rossington on the first ball of the second innings. Curran did not stop there, returning for his next over and dismissing Jon Jon Smuts, reducing the Sunrisers to 13/2 at the conclusion of the third over.

With his controlled half-century, Aiden Markram played the captain’s knock and got the Sunrisers’ innings back on track. He was ably assisted by Sarel Erwee, who had a wonderful 92-run third-wicket partnership and built up the score beautifully under pressure. Rashid Khan and Odean Smith then removed them in the 13th and 14th overs, as Sunrisers lost momentum in the game.

However, teenager Tristan Stubbs performed a miracle with his quick-fire 18-ball 30 and dragged the game deep as everything came down to the last over, with Sunrisers needing five runs off the final six deliveries to win. Odean Smith dismissed Stubbs on the first ball of the last over, raising the stakes even higher. James Fuller, who replaced Stubbs, found the space superbly and hit two straight fours to lead the Sunrisers to a four-wicket victory.