We ended our league stage on a high, registering our 4th bonus point win when we defeated Paarl Royals by 59 runs as the SA20 league stage drew to a close. David Miller won the toss and chose to bowl on what appeared to be a batting paradise.
Our opening pair of Phil Salt and Kusal Mendis got us off to a flying start, stitching together a 69-run partnership to provide us the perfect launchpad for putting up a big total on the board.
Ngidi sent Salt packing in the final over of the powerplay, while Phehlukwayo and Yusuf accounted for de Bryun and Rossouw to reduce us to 126 for 3 in the 13th over. Kusal Mendis continued his fine hitting, registering his first 50 for Pretoria Capitals.
Colin Ingram (41) and Jimmy Neesham (22) made the most of the opportunity and took us to 226/5, our highest total in the SA20 so far.
Paarl Royals needed 227 runs to win and 163 to qualify for the semi-finals. However, Eathan Bosch caused an early setback to the visitors by dismissing the dangerous-looking Paul Stirling.
Anrich Nortje and Migael Pretorius picked up the wickets of Jason Roy and Mitchell van Buuren, respectively, within the powerplay to put the Royals in some early trouble. David Miller and Jos Buttler strung together a partnership before Migael accounted for the opposition skipper to truly put Paarl on the back foot.
Jos Buttler’s half-century paved the way for Paarl Royals, who finished their innings on 167/9 and set up another clash with us at Johannesburg.
Pretoria Capitals 1 - 1 Paarl Royals
Both teams picked up wins at their home venues to set up the semi-final clash in Johannesburg. While we lost our match at the Wanderers, the Paarl Royals' game was abandoned due to rain.
Our latest win against the Royals will definitely boost our spirits, as we regained the winning momentum after a tough loss against DSG in our previous game.
Phil Salt coming back to form was an added advantage, as both our openers look in destructive form heading into the semi-finals.
Neesham’s versatility and Nortje’s pace have been terrific throughout the season, and we hope to see them in full flow at the Wanderers
Our main threat will be an in-form Buttler and captain Miller's finishing ability. Bjorn Fortuin’s knack for picking up wickets in the powerplay will also be of some concern heading into the knockout stage.
Key Battles and Players to watch out for
Round 3 between Pretoria Capitals and Paarl Royals is set up as a tie-breaker as both teams are drawn level with each other in the league stage.
The highest run scorer vs The second highest wicket taker
Jos Buttler has kicked into gear without showing any signs of slowing down amassing 378 runs in the competition so far. He has molded his innings according to the situation which makes him more dangerous.
On the other hand, Anrich Nortje has been unstoppable in the tournament picking up 16 wickets and getting us crucial breakthroughs. All eyes will turn to Anas to keep Buttler in check, and more importantly get him back in the hut.
The openers vs Bjorn Fortuin
We have relied on our opening batters to provide us with the proper launchpad for a big total in the tournament thus far.
Phil Salt and Kusal Mendis have shown that they are highly capable of doing so. The main threat to their partnership remains Bjorn Fortuin, who has picked 10 out of his 13 wickets in the powerplay this season.
This powerplay battle might be one of the keys to winning the match.
Jimmy Neesham and David Miller have shown why their respective teams rate them so highly when it comes to seeing an innings through, be it while setting a total or chasing one down.
Both the power hitters have scored 150+ runs at a S/R of 130+ and have the capability to turn the game on its head in the final few overs of the match. That being said both of them are electrifying on the field with abilities to cause a game changing moment
The only added advantage Neesham has going into this match are his wicket taking abilities at crucial junctures.
The battles within this battle royale will determine who will take the lead in the Pretoria Capitals and Paarl Royals Head to Head tussle.
Match Details: Feb 8, 5:30 PM SAST | Wanderers, Johannesburg
Watch LIVE: Supersport TV (Sub-Saharan Africa) & Sports 18/JioCinema (India)