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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

SA20 to kickstart at Gqeberha from Jan 10

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Gqeberha: At 15:30 on Wednesday, 10 January 2024 the gates at St George’s Park will fling open, bubbles will fill the air, stilt walkers will create amazement and the second season of Betway SA20 will be here.

A year ago, the League’s matches were the place to be during the height of summer and it will be no different this time around.

At the heart of SA20 is the incredible cricket, and in Sunrisers Eastern Cape vs Joburg Super Kings there could barely be a more intriguing match to kick-start the new season. With the trophy that the men in orange claimed – and visitors so yearned for – on display, the action out in the middle is sure to have fans up and on their feet (and jostling and jumping for one-handed catches and a share of R2-million too).

Aiden Markram not only led his team to glory, but claimed the Player of the Tournament award too for his 365 runs and 10 wickets with his canny off-spinners.

‘Sauce’ though was undone twice by Romario Shepherd in the Season 1 group matches and if big West Indies doesn’t get him again, JSK have a certain Gerald Coetzee ready to block him for replicating the century and ultimate heart-ache he piled on in the semifinal between the two teams.

The fiery quick took 17 SA20 wickets, and then followed it up with the fourth-most at the World Cup in India (20) to emerge as one of the outstanding bowling talents in the globe.

Of course, Sunrisers also have a certain Dawid Malan (England’s leading batter at the World Cup) to call upon in 2024 while Tristan Stubbs simmered in Season 1 and will look to come to the boil this time around.

JSK, it must be remembered, have recruited a double World Cup winner in Moeen Ali and one of South Africa’s most successful limited-overs spinners, Imran Tahir, returning to home turf one last time.

For their part, Sunrisers shone with the ball last campaign. While Bowler of the Tournament Roelof van der Merwe is no longer with them, Englishman Liam Dawson is set to fill that void off the back of a dream domestic season for Hampshire.

The experienced seam duo of Sisanda Magala and Ottniel Baartman were among the top 10 wicket-takers last campaign. They also have their own breakthrough boy in Marco Jansen and if there’s anybody with the credentials to break up the Faf du Plessis-Reeza Hendricks opening partnership which notched up two century stands in Season 1 (including against SEC) then it’s the lanky left-armer.

The opening ceremony will be headlined by Grammy Award-winning singer and producer Zakes Bantwini whose hits – from Osama to iMali to Asanda to Jeteme and Mama Thula – have defined recent summers.

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