The Sunrisers Eastern Cape were surprise winners of the first edition of the SA20 competition last year after few fans gave them a chance at the start of the competition and again they are probably surprise winners this season.
But having now won back-to-back titles there is little doubt that the team based in Gqeberha have something special about them and that in captain Aiden Markram and coach Adrian Birrell they have a very solid and strong leadership group.
There is no disputing the Sunrisers are deserved two-time winners of South Africa’s premier T20 competition. So, what is their secret?
It’s interesting to note that the Sunrisers don’t really have any one player who stands out above the rest, like say DSG (Heinrich Klaasen), MI Cape Town (Ryan Rickelton), Paarl Royals (David Miller), Pretoria Capitals (Will Jacks) and JSK (Faf du Plessis). These teams rely heavily on these players to “come off”, though not exclusively of course, as there are other quality players in their ranks who’ve won these teams matches.
But what stands out about the Sunrisers is that they are a true team with several players making contributions and able to win them games.
If it’s not been Jordan Hermann or Dawid Malan, it’s been Markram or Tom Abell or Tristan Stubbs, or Patrick Kruger, or Marco Jansen or Ottneil Baartman or Daniel Worrall. They’ve had a number of players contribute significantly throughout their campaign.
Batters and bowlers
Stubbs (301 runs and strike-rate 168), Hermann (295 runs and strike-rate 117), Abell (286 runs and strike-rate 152) and Markram (261 and strike-rate 138) all feature prominently among the run-getters and then there are the bowlers.
Jansen, with 20 wickets including five in the final, leads the way, and is followed by Baartman (18) and Worrall (17) in the top three.
The Sunrisers went about their business again in a measured, structured way, with both the batters and bowlers following a clear plan and sticking to it.
It was another hugely successful SA20 competition, with several players stepping forward and showing they are ready for the next step in their careers. But, ultimately it’s hats off to the Sunrisers … champions again!