SA20 experience will help me develop as a player — Kruger
All-rounder shows why he was acquired by Sunrisers
Sunrisers Eastern Cape all-rounder Patrick Kruger believes his Betway SA20 experience will help his domestic game grow to new heights after his heroic display in leading his team to victory over Paarl Royals on Sunday.
Kruger, who finished the match unbeaten on 26 runs from seven balls, showed why he was acquired by the Orange Army as a late replacement for Sisanda Magala on the eve of the tournament’s commencement, striking three sixes in the final two overs to take his side home with one ball to spare.
The win cemented their place at the top of the season two standings with 33 points and seven wins from their 10 matches in the group phases and sets up a clash against another form side in Durban’s Super Giants in Qualifier 1 at Newlands on Tuesday.
The Royals, whose skipper David Miller won his first and only toss of season two so far, saw his side amass 159/7 after 20 overs after choosing to bat first.
Twenty-one runs by Jordan Hermann and 19 from Dawid Malan got things going before a 63-run third wicket partnership by Proteas captains Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma led the charge in front of a packed St George’s Park.
Markram departed the scene for 37 before a brief rain delay halted proceedings with SEC needing 41 from 25, but importantly one run ahead of the DLS par score after 15.5 overs.
When play resumed, Tristan Stubbs  and Bavuma  fell in consecutive overs as Kruger hit two huge sixes in the penultimate over, and a four and a six in the final over to finish the game in style.
“I tried to keep myself calm, I knew that with Stubbo still batting, we were in it to win it, so I tried to stay as calm as possible.
“I always had the belief that I could do it and was very happy to be able to get the team over the line,” Kruger said after the match.
The right-handed medium pacer said they were happy with the bowling performance having restricted their opponents to just 46 runs in the final five overs.
By comparison, the Royals bowling attack did pretty well themselves, conceding just 53 runs in the final five overs of their defence.
The Sunrisers put in another shift, first in the field, restricting the Royals to just 15 fours and five sixes, and then with running between the wickets, having hit just 10 boundaries and eight sixes themselves.
“We actually restricted them quite well in the last five overs, they didn’t get as much as I think they would have liked to get in that period.
“We knew it was a good wicket, so we were always backing ourselves to get there at St George’s Park,” Kruger said.
With one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament in 2024, Kruger feels the backing they receive from the management group and bowling coach Dale Steyn in particular, gives them the belief they can go toe-to-toe with any batting line-up in the competition.
“Assessing the wicket, hitting the pitch hard, and let the batter hit you from your lengths, you don’t want to change too much because if it’s working, it’s working,” he said.
“We kept things simple, backed our basics and didn’t try too much, which has worked for us.
“We didn’t start as well as we would have wanted, but we always backed ourselves to bring it back in those middle overs.”
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