Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


Aiden Markram praises Sunrisers’ character after flat start to SA20

'This team has strong characters that are desperate to win, and that attitude goes a long way when you might be a bit flat. The skillsets were awesome too.'

Sunrisers Eastern Cape captain Aiden Markram is accustomed to the ups and downs of life as an international cricketer and he praised his team’s character for the way they lifted themselves from a flat start to the campaign and ended up being surprise winners of the SA20 when they comfortably beat the log-leading Pretoria Capitals in the final at the Wanderers on Sunday.

The introduction of left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe was a major factor in the Sunrisers’ turnaround after they lost their first two games, and the 38-year-old was once again a central figure in the final as his outstanding 4/31 saw the Pretoria Capitals bowled out for just 135.

Introduction of Van der Merwe

It could have been an awkward chase on a pitch that turned and was two-paced, but opener Adam Rossington blazed 57 off just 30 deliveries to take the Eastern Cape side to 76/1 in the powerplay (six overs), from where they cruised to victory with four wickets and 22 balls to spare.

“I’m very proud because we had a tough start to the competition, we lost our first two games, but the way we bounced back from that was great,” Markram said after the triumph.

“This team has strong characters that are desperate to win, and that attitude goes a long way when you might be a bit flat. The skillsets were awesome too.

“Coming into the final, we were certainly a bit anxious and nervous and Pretoria have had a great competition, they’re pretty much the team to beat and they beat us twice convincingly. But it’s a one-off match.

“There are lots of ups and downs in this game, but in a final it’s about who rocks up on the day, how you handle the pressure and stay calm at certain key times,” Markram said.

Van der Merwe was a deserved man of the match and, as the joint leading wicket-taker in the competition, would have featured highly in the discussion for Player of the Season that Markram won, but he praised Rossington’s innings.

Read more: Markram century carries Sunrisers Eastern Cape into SA20 final

“To play that knock on that pitch, not many players could have done that. Rosso has the ability to play good on bad wickets.

“Without that innings, I think the match would have been a lot tighter. He’s an interesting character too and a beautiful human being,” Van der Merwe said.

‘Better team won’

Pretoria Capitals skipper Wayne Parnell saluted the Sunrisers as worthy champions.

“We were probably 25 runs short, 135 is not enough if one guy comes off in the powerplay and Rossington did. Obviously the better team won, they assessed the conditions well. We had a decent start, but we needed to extend it.

“They also bowled really well, Roelof and Aiden [4-0-17-1] were a crucial partnership with the ball, those eight overs probably won the match,” Parnell said.

Read more: SA20 final – Parnell & Markram call on players to be calm & enjoy themselves

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