Twitter Reactions: AB de Villiers and Aiden Markram help the Eagles win the Gold Medal

Twitter Reactions: AB de Villiers and Aiden Markram help the Eagles win the Gold Medal

The tournament stamped the beginning of the freshest format of cricket involving 3 Teams of eight players participating in one match of 36 overs.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. (Photo Source: Twitter)

When the 3 teams stepped out to play an iconic and unprecedented format of cricket, not one, but many firsts were made. The ‘Solidarity Cup’ marked the resumption of any form of cricket in South Africa ever since it underwent a lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

In another first, the tournament stamped the beginning of the freshest format of cricket involving 3 Teams of eight players participating in one match of 36 overs. Amidst glorious unknowns and excitement of resumption of cricket, there was a marvellous buzz in the fans for the mighty AB de Villiers, the man himself, made a comeback through this cricket carnival.

24 mask-clad players took their spot in an absolutely empty SuperSport Park, Centurion starting with the national anthem followed by ‘taking a knee’ to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign.

1st HALF

Openers delight and Captains’ battle

As the draw was made, the KG’s Kingfishers came out to bat against Quinny’s Kites while the AB’s Eagles went in the Dugout. After a slowish start, Janneman Malan took on Dwaine Pretorius in the third over of the innings as he smacked a couple of boundaries and a six off consecutive deliveries. However, Anrich Nortje broke the free-flowing partnership as Malan lost his wicket playing an aerial shot which was pouched by David Miller in the deep.

In the very next over, one skipper undid the other as a greedy double cost skipper Reeza Hendricks his wicket, courtesy a rocket throw by the opposite skipper Temba Bavuma led to his run out. In the last over of the Kingfishers’ innings, Nortje bowled three dots as the team finished 56 for 2 after 6 overs with Faf du Plessis and Coetzee batting.

Brief Score- 56/2- J Malan 31 (16), R Hendricks 20 (16); D Pretorius 2-0-23-0

Markram’s attack, Dropped catches, and Acrobatics

As per the rotation, it was the AB’s Eagles came to bat next against KG’s Kingfishers. In the very second over of the innings, Glenton Stuurman sent Rassie van der Dussen’s off stump cartwheeling which brought the mighty ABD in alongside Aiden Markram, who was flowing like a stream already.

Kingfishers managed to keep things quite up to 4 overs, but Markram and ABD upped the ante against Tabraiz Shamsi in the penultimate over of the innings as they belted him for 21 runs. De Villiers towered one in the air in the last over, however, Thando Ntini failed to hold it and gave the dangerous ABD a life.

On the very next ball Markram, smacked Ntini over deep extra cover, where Reeza Hendrick’s attempt to flick the ball from outside the boundary went in vain. The replays showed his foot was in contact with the ground outside while he was trying to lob the ball outside the boundary. The Eagles finished 66 for 1 after 6.

Brief Score- 66/1– A Markram 47* (23), AB de Villiers 11 *(7); Shamsi 2-0-28-0

Slow runs, Missed stumping and Overthrows

In the third segment of the first part, Kites came to bat against AB’s Eagles. The openers Jon Jon Smuts and Ryan Rickleton started slow but meticulously. The two stitched a 44-run stand, however, Smuts contributed the most part.

Ngidi gave away 16 runs in his first over which built some momentum for the batting side. However, Fortuin created a stumping chance against Smuts which was missed by the keeper. In the 4th over, Andile Phehlukwayo duped both the batsmen through his slower ones and finally struck Rickleton on the pads to dismiss him leg before wicket.

A well-set Smuts was joined by skipper Temba Bavuma with only an over left in their inning. Giving away not many scoring opportunities to either, Junior Dala bowled a decent last over as Kites finished 58 for 1 to take the second position after the first turn of six overs.

Brief Score- 58/1 – JJ Smuts 36* (19), T Bavuma 8* (7); A Phehlukwayo 2-0-15-1

HALF-TIME

At the half-way stage, the teams stood as-

Eagles- 66/1 (Markram and de Villiers batting)

Kites- 58/1 (Smuts and Bavuma batting)

Kingfishers- 56/2 (du Plessis and Coetzee batting)

Therefore, the batting order in the second-half was Eagles, Kites, and Kingfishers.

2nd HALF

Scintillating start, ABD’s rampage, and a burning partnership

Eagles came to bat first against Kites by the virtue of being the highest scorers in the first half. Continuing in flawless rhythm de Villiers whacked four and two sixes against Smuts as he gave 18 runs in the first over. Markram resumed at his flamboyant best as he smothered skipper Hendricks 4, 4, 6, to take the partnership over 100 runs in just 42 balls. He smacked another 6 over Sipamla’s head in the next over before being caught at Long On the next ball after a blitzkrieg knock of 70 off 33.

The new man Phehlukwayo was knocked over in the same over without troubling the scorers whereas ABD notched up his half-century in just 21 balls. He tortured Nortje in the next over before landing a mistimed hit in the hands of Hendricks in the deep. ABD departed in the penultimate over for 61 off 24 showing he still has gas left in him.

Eagles finished ­­­­­strongly at 160 for 4 after 12 as the two new men- Fortuin and Verreynne- added 17 runs between them in the last over off Simpala.

Brief Score- 160/4 – A Markram 70 (33), Ab de Villiers 61 (24); Simpala 3-0-45-2, Nortje 3-0-27-2

Stale kickoff, Tumbling wickets, and a slight recovery

In the second segment of the second part, Smuts and Bavuma came out to bat for the Kites against Kingfishers. Stuurmaan mixed up his length and pace well and gave a productive start to his team as he got rid of Temba Bavuma, whose half-hearted slice landed in the hands long-off, in the very first over. Junior Ntini must have made father Makhaya Ntini proud as he dismissed the free-flowing Smuts for 48 as he holed out to Du Plessis.

Two new men at the crease were Dwaine Pretorius and David Miller who stayed quiet for an over. However, Pretorius went berserk against Shamsi as he bolstered 28 runs in the over thrashing a couple of fours and three mahoosive sixes, thereby giving the fishermen- standing outside the boundary- some chances to pocket the ball in their net! Pretorius slap-dashed a 17-ball 50, though that could only drag his team to 138 for 3 after 12.

Brief Score- 138/3- D Pretorius 50 *(17), JJ Smuts 48 (26); G Stuurman 3-0-26-2, T Ntini 3-0-34-1

Mounting pressure, raining sixes, but not enough

Kingfisher needed to reach 161 for Gold while 139 for Silver. Faf du Plessis and Coetzee made a rusty start in the second part. A mix up led to a run-out chance which Du Plessis just managed to survive. He had a roller-coaster outing as he slammed his counterpart Lungi Ngidi for three sixes in a row and gaining some momentum, only to be cleaned up by Fortuin in the next over.

The new man Heinrich Klaasen did not last long as he tried chasing a wide delivery of Phehlukwayo only to deflect it inwards on his stump. Ntini, who had an average outing with the ball joined Coetzee, however, some guileful bowling cramped both the batsmen as the required run-rate kept soaring. Fortuin bowled with great control and kept attacking the stumps.

Winning Gold was always an uphill task while needing as many as 31 runs for Silver in the last over appeared impossible too. The Kingfishers finished 113 for 5 after 12 overs.

Brief Score- 133/5 – J Malan 31 (16), Faf du Plessis 28 (12)’ A Phehlukwayo 3-0-24-2,  Fortuin 3-0-20-1

FINAL RESULT

AB De Villiers’ Eagles – 160/4 took Gold

Temba Bavuma’s Kites – 138/3 took Silver

Reeza Hendricks’ Kingfishers – 113/5 took Bronze

Twitter was thrilled to witness the new format of the game and here are some reactions: