Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


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

'Our mantra is to have fun and entertain people and be brave. Finals either bring out the best in people or paralyse them, and we definitely want the former.'

Both Pretoria Capitals skipper Wayne Parnell and Sunrisers Eastern Cape captain Aiden Markram wanted their players to stay calm and enjoy themselves despite the momentous occasion of Saturday’s inaugural SA20 final, when they spoke to the media at the Wanderers on Friday.

Both teams also have a pair of 62-year-old, experienced and calm head coaches in Graham Ford (Pretoria) and Adrian Birrell (Sunrisers), which will help keep the players composed, but there is still likely to be an outpouring of passion at The Bullring as a month of heady, thrilling action comes to a gripping conclusion.


“We want to be very free-spirited, you need to be in this format, although as captain the desperation to win can be exaggerated a bit,” Markram said.

“I get on really well with Adi, he’s very clear and extremely passionate but calm, and that rubs off on the players. His experience will help a lot.”

Parnell, who said it was not yet confirmed that he would be fit to play in the final on Saturday due to his groin strain, also stressed the importance of playing with a free mindset.

“Our mantra is to have fun and entertain people and be brave. Finals either bring out the best in people or paralyse them, and we definitely want the former.

“We have been trying to empower the players and we’ve managed to take some of them to another level. Graham is a vastly experienced coach, he’s worked all over the world, and is really calm and easy-going.

“With Jacques Kallis, who doesn’t say lots of words but gives little nuggets behind closed doors that you can latch on to, and Dale Benkenstein being similar, we have a really good blend of coaches.

“For me now though, the biggest thing about playing cricket is the enjoyment. The guys understand now what is required,” Parnell said.

‘Strong characters’

Sunrisers have shown great character to make the final with a squad that many would have expected to revolve around a couple of players like Markram, Tristan Stubbs and Marco Jansen.

“On paper I don’t think a lot of people would have given us much chance,” Markram said, “but I have to credit the squad, there are a lot of strong characters there who will do anything to win.”

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

While the Sunrisers’ route to the final has been a bit of a rickshaw ride, Pretoria Capitals have raced to the finish line like a racing car, pulled along by the tremendous fast bowling of Anrich Nortje.

“The pitch has been a bit different to the normal Wanderers wicket, plus there’s weather around and it has been covered for a couple of days. The semi-final showed the importance of assessing right and then getting to a competitive total,” Parnell said.

Read more: Pretoria Capitals beat Royals, qualify for SA20 final