A sold-out opening game, a packed house in pink, and a convincing all-round performance. The Paarl Royals well and truly bought the Gees at the Boland Park, as we kicked off our SA20 2024 campaign with a 27-run victory over Pretoria Capitals on Friday. 



Earlier, the Capitals won the toss and put the Royals into bat first on a rather slow surface. Openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler started cautiously before the former opened his arms to smash a few boundaries to give his team a solid start. However, both batters fell in successive overs.

Captain Miller, Phehlukwayo take charge

Having been pegged on the backfoot with a couple of blows, the hosts were treading with caution to keep the scoreboard ticking in the middle. In came skipper David Miller at No.4 and took control of proceedings. His stoic innings of 41 was laced with 4 boundaries and alongside Mitchell Van Buuren helped resurrect the innings. But it was Andile Phehlukwayo's quickfire cameo lower down the order that gave momentum to the team. In just 14 balls, the all-rounder struck four fours and a six for his 28 that set the Royals on course for a 150-plus total, which is challenging for the chasing team given the conditions. 

Bowlers apply the choke

At 80/3 in the first 10 overs, the Capitals looked like they were comfortably cruising toward their target, despite having lost wickets. Opener Phil Chase was settled at one end, but then arrived Tabraiz Shamsi's gamechanging moment. The spinner trapped Salt plumb in front in the 11th over, and the visitors immediately felt the heat. Two overs later, Bjorn Fortuin's direct hit sent Corbin Bosch packing and it was followed by Wihan Lubbe removing Colin Ingram on his first delivery of the night. From thereon, the Royals bowlers were right on the money, taking pace off the ball that was now turning old, leaving no room whatsoever for the batters to free their arms. The perfect choke, the perfect end, the perfect start to the season for Miller's army!

What they said

Great finish and quite pleased. We have bolstered our bowling attack and have the confidence to defend totals. - David Miller

It was good being out on the park. The wicket was quite tough in the beginning but the bowlers bowled well and brought us back into the game. - Andile Phehlukwayo (Player of the Match)

What's next?

With 4 points in their kitty, the Royals now move on to their second assignment in two days' time, against the same opponent at Centurion.