International cricketer and MI Cape Town captain, Rashid Khan, has praised Cricket South Africa’s awesome hosting of the popular SA20 tournament which saw crowds return to cricket in South Africa. He says he “absolutely loved” his experience in SA.
Responding to the crowd turnout and the level of competition in SA20, Rashid says he is confident it will become a huge success like the IPL (Indian Premier League). The Afghan star said:
“I think it’s a great achievement for Cricket South Africa to (host a tournament like) SA20. I feel after IPL, it is going to be a massive competition. In the next 3-4 years, it will go to the next level. Lots of young talents will emerge in the coming years, and the face of South African cricket will change for good. The experience here (I had), I absolutely loved it, every stadium is packed and (that shows) how successful this competition has been.”
Rashid also vowed to return stronger next year, admitting he wasn’t happy with his personal performance in the competition, which saw his team lose their final SA20 league game to Joburg Super Kings yesterday, losing by 76 runs at The Wanderers Stadium.
“It’s always a good experience for me when I struggle (to pick up wickets) and that helps me do well in the coming games as I try to rectify my mistakes. I have got a feel of the tracks across all the venues here (in South Africa). So, next year when I come (here), my performance will be much better.”
Chasing a competitive 190-run target set by the Faf du Plessis-led side, Cape Town’s Twenty20 franchise team were restricted to 113 in 17.5 overs. With this defeat, MICT’s hopes of finishing the tournament on a high were nullified.
Reflecting upon his team’s journey in the inaugural season of SA20, the MICT captain said, “Next time (our performance) is going to be much better. Overall if you look into this competition, we did not take the game deep, and with the batting, we haven’t scored enough (runs).”
Khan also said that his team didn’t perform well in the batting department in the debut season. “In the last 10 games, we have scored just 2-3 fifties which is hurting in T20s. We had only one score of 70-plus in the tournament. Our bowlers did a fantastic job. But batting wasn’t up to the mark. 120 are a lot of balls to play, and that’s something (we need) to look into (ahead of next edition),” the Afghan leg-spinner reiterated during the post-match press conference.
Former England national cricket player, Kevin Pietersen has also been impressed by the SA20 League, which he says has given the sport a shot in the arm and helped raise the spirit for the Proteas in their three-match series against England. Pietersen says:
“The crowds are back and people are coming out to see positive cricket. For the players, broadcasters, administrators and everybody else, it’s so good to see the grass banks full of enthusiastic supporters…”
The Joburg vs Cape Town SA20 match in case you missed it
Young Dewald Brevis kept fighting till the end. The young right-handed rising star stole the show with his trademark no-look shot against Gerald Coetzee – the tournament’s leading wicket-taker – for a maximum. Brevis (235 runs in 10 games) and Rassie van der Dussen (243 runs in 10 games) were the second-highest and highest run-getters respectively, for MICT in SA20.
George Linde, Sam Curran (English cricketer) and Jofra Archer (Barbadian and English cricketer) starred with the ball for MI Cape Town after their captain Rashid Khan elected to bowl first.
Linde has been nothing short of a revelation for MICT as the left-arm spinner kept striking with the new ball, picking up Faf du Plessis first ball of the game. He provided those early breakthroughs in the powerplays. He picked up a wicket and conceded 16 runs in the game.
Archer – who returned to the international stage with this competition – once again proved his mettle with the ball in their final game against Joburg and picked up a couple of wickets from his quota of 4 overs. The pace sensation from England ended the tournament with ten wickets in six games.
Kagiso Rabada remained wicketless in the game but was economical as usual in the match. The Protea star pacer finished with 11 wickets from the tournament and always looked like a man on a mission for MICT.
England quick Sam Curran was also amongst the wickets for MICT as the talented left-arm pacer bowled miserly, and picked up two wickets from three overs, including a maiden, and conceded just 16 runs.