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SA20 2023: Paarl Royals enter semifinals despite big defeat

Jos Buttler (Getty Images)

The Paarl Royals have secured a spot in the semifinals of the SA20 despite a 59-run loss against the Pretoria Capitals in their final league game of the season. The match took place at the SuperSport Park in Centurion and saw the Capitals bat first and post a score of 226/5 from their 20 overs. The Royals were tasked with chasing down this total and keeping their run-rate above that of the Durban Super Giants in order to secure a spot in the semifinals.

Early on in the chase, it became clear that the Royals needed to reach a target of 163 in order to secure their place in the semifinals. Despite a difficult start, with three early wickets falling, Jos Buttler held firm and provided the majority of the runs for the team. He received limited support from Eoin Morgan and David Miller, but ultimately it was Buttler’s experience and ability that kept the team in contention.

Despite a strong effort from the Pretoria bowlers, Buttler remained undaunted and hit two sixes and a four in an 18-run over to keep the Royals in the race for qualification. However, even with Buttler’s efforts, the team seemed to be slipping behind once more as they needed 24 runs off 12 balls to qualify. But Buttler began James Neesham’s penultimate over with a six and two fours, bringing the equation down to a more manageable 12 off 9. Although Buttler was dismissed for a 45-ball 70, Bjoin Fortuin hit a crucial boundary later in the over to secure the team’s place in the semifinals.

In the first innings of the game, the Capitals dominated the Paarl bowlers and posted a score of 226/5, with opener Kusal Mendis leading the charge with 80 runs off 41 balls. The innings was filled with four sixes and eight fours, and saw the Sri Lankan batsman form a partnership of 69 runs with Phil Salt. The finishing touches to the innings were provided by Colin Ingram and James Neesham, who hit 63 runs off 32 balls between them to post a massive score of 226.