Senuran Muthusamy only found accommodation in the Pretoria Capitals squad as a late wildcard selection, and Irishman Josh Little has just arrived in South Africa, but the pair steered them to a thrilling one-wicket victory, off the last ball, over MI Cape Town in their SA20 match at Centurion on Saturday night.
Pretoria Capitals were chasing a moderate 160 for victory and were making rather a mess of it as they crashed from 50 without loss in five overs to 53/3, and then from 114/3 in the 13th over to 115/6 after 14 overs. But Muthusamy showed tremendous BMT and determination as he scrapped his way to 25 off 23 balls to see them to the brink of victory.
Captain Wayne Parnell, who batted at No.10 due to a leg injury he suffered in the field, took a couple of crucial singles in the last few balls and three runs were needed off the final over. But Sam Curran found the blockhole to have Muthusamy caught at backward point. With just two runs needed to win off three balls, the left-arm swing bowler was then called for a wide down the leg-side, but the visitors cleverly called for a caught-behind review, which showed the ball had just brushed last man Josh Little’s leg, meaning the wide was overturned and Pretoria needed two runs off the last two balls.
Little played-and-missed but somehow managed to swat the final ball over the covers, with everyone in the ring, and Parnell hobbled back for the second run.
Earlier, Kusal Mendis (39 off 25) had set up a blazing start for the Capitals, but both he and fellow opener Phil Salt (9) were dismissed in the sixth over by Curran.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid then had Theunis de Bruyn (1) caught at slip with his first ball. But Rilee Rossouw looked right at home from the outset and belted 40 from just 19 deliveries, including three sixes in a row off left-arm quick Duan Jansen.
But the Proteas star failed to finish the job as he holed out at long-on off Kagiso Rabada with 46 runs still needed off 43 balls. MI Cape Town desperately turned the screw, with Rashid (4-0-17-1), Odean Smith (4-0-34-2) and Curran (4-0-26-3) all excellent with the ball, but the home side scrambled to the closest victory yet in the competition.
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While their batting was less than convincing, Pretoria do have a wealth of bowling strikepower and it took all of Rassie van der Dussen’s experience and skill to give MI Cape Town a reasonable start after they had been sent in to bat.
Van der Dussen scored 51 off 29 balls, playing plenty of brilliant attacking strokes, to take MI Cape Town to 107/3 in the 12th over. They then collapsed to 159 all out, which was under-par, but they defended it valiantly.
Parnell had been superb up front, taking 1/3 in two overs, but he left the field after bowling the first ball of his third over. It put pressure on the Capitals attack, but Jimmy Neesham stepped up superbly, taking 2/26 in his four overs. Twelve of those runs came via consecutive sixes by Dewald Brevis, but the young tyro was bounced out by Anrich Nortje, who also bowled ace finisher Tim David for 2 and deserved better figures than his 2/37, in another dazzling display of lightning-quick fast bowling.
Eathan Bosch fought back well from a rough start to dismiss both Van der Dussen and the dangerous Smith.
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