My goal was to take on the spinners — Jansen
Sunrisers Eastern Cape all-rounder Marco Jansen believes his career-best knock against the Paarl Royals was one where everything just clicked as the team emerged 44-run winners in their Betway SA20 clash at Boland Park on Friday evening.
Jansen, who was promoted to bat at number four, struck four fours and six maximums in his 31-ball innings of 71 sharing an unbeaten 87 with fellow Dafabet Warriors teammate Tristan Stubbs  as the Sunrisers finished on a formidable 208 for four.
In the run chase, the hosts got off to a fast start with English duo Jos Buttler and Jason Roy smashing their way to 63 without loss by the end of the power play.
However, Jansen, bowling his customary left-arm pacers, grabbed 2/34, while Liam Dawson (2/27), Beyers Swanepoel (2/37) and Dan Worrall (1/27) helped restrict the hosts to 164/7.
The win saw the Sunrisers secure a spot in Qualifier One and a clash against Durban's Super Giants in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Worrall moved into pole position on the leading wicket-takers list with 14 dismissals, one ahead of the Royals' Lungi Ngidi on 13.
With the reverse fixture against the same opponents closing out the group stages in Gqeberha on Sunday [3.30pm], Jansen hoped to give the legion of Orange Army supporters a winning send-off after their unwavering support throughout season two.
Jansen, who usually bats at number seven across formats at an international level, said the reason for his promotion was aimed at disrupting the Royals spin bowlers during the middle portion of the innings and his long limbs and ability to hit the long ball forced the Royals to change their plans.
“I enjoy my batting a lot more than my bowling simply because of the physical aspect of it, and I was an opening batter in high school,” Jansen said.
“The coaches will make the decisions in terms of where I bat, so for me, it's just about focusing [on the present].
“My main goal was to take on the spinners, and when they didn't bowl much spin, I looked at the rate I was going, I knew if I could capitalise and help the team massively because I don't always get to bat for 11/12 overs,” Jansen said in the post-match media conference.
“On the scoreboard, it read, run, minutes, and the balls, so I saw I had 11 runs off 24, which was actually minutes, but I thought it was balls, and I [kept thinking] I was putting the team under pressure.
“Then two overs later I checked again and I had 21 off 10, and I was like, no way.
“I didn't walk out there thinking it was going to be one of those days, I walked in very nervous and not sure how it would go given the task I had to carry out,” he said.
Jansen said much of their success originates from how head coach Adrian Birrell handles the squad.
“We went to Adi's farm, he had this analogy of fuelling the fire, so we sat in a massive circle around a fire and now and then we had to fuel the fire with sticks to keep it going.
“The fire represented the team and the sticks represented the players fuelling the team, and we do that really well, especially the guys not playing because as a player it is never nice to miss a game,” he said.
Jansen said their journey compared to last season was vastly different.
“We are peaking to a certain degree, but it doesn't feel the same as last year.
“Speaking to Stubbo the other day it feels like we're achieving the same thing in terms of reaching the playoffs, but the way we did it was completely different.”
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