The Pretoria Capitals have earned their place in the inaugural SA20 final, following a thrilling 29-run victory in the first semi-final against the Paarl Royals at the Wanderers. The match was marked by standout performances from Rilee Rossouw and Eathan Bosch.
Rossouw’s 56 off 41 balls helped keep the Capitals’ innings afloat, as the top-ranked team posted a challenging 153/8 after being sent in to bat by the Royals. The pitch was not favorable for seamless batting, and Rossouw had to modify his attacking style in response to the early success of spinners Bjorn Fortuin and Tabraiz Shamsi. Despite the best efforts of all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo to increase the pressure during the middle period, Rossouw’s timely boundaries kept the scoreboard moving.
At halftime, the match was evenly matched, but Bosch’s opening spell of bowling gave the Capitals the upper hand. Bosch struck twice in quick succession, removing Jason Roy with the second delivery of the Royals innings, and then clean-bowling Jos Buttler in the following over. The Royals were suddenly 13/2 and facing an uphill battle. The situation became even more dire when Rossouw claimed the wicket of Eoin Morgan, leaving the team in a difficult position.
Despite the efforts of skipper David Miller, the Paarl Royals were unable to make a comeback, as Anrich Nortje’s return to the attack in the penultimate over resulted in Miller’s dismissal. The tournament’s leading wicket-taker, Nortje, then sealed the victory when Colin Ingram claimed a fantastic catch off Shamsi.
The Pretoria Capitals will now await the outcome of the second semi-final between the Joburg Super Kings and the Sunrisers Eastern Cape, to determine their opponent in Saturday’s final at the Wanderers.