In what was the first white-ball cricket match featuring top international players since the pandemic, De Villiers and Aiden Markram (70 off 33 balls) were the highest scorers as the Eagles won the Solidarity Cup 3TC (three-team-cricket) exhibition match at the Supersport Park in Centurion, South Africa on Saturday.
ABD scratched around for a 7-ball 11 in the first half of the match. He came out smashing in the second half, reaching his fifty off 21 balls. He was caught at long on just as he was looking to get into carnage mode, finishing with 61 off 24 balls. Markram brought up the first fifty of the match, scoring 70 off 33 balls. The Eagles finished with 160/4 in their 12 overs, which turned out to be the highest team total in the match.
Eagles: 66 for 1 after 6 overs (160/4 after 12) – Gold
Aiden Markram (70 off 33), AB de Villiers (61 off 24), Andile Phehlukwayo (2-24-2), Bjorn Fortuin (3-20-1)
— Virarsh (@Cheeku218) July 18, 2020
Kites: 58 for 1 after 6 overs (138/3 after 12) – Silver
Dwayne Pretorius (50 off 17), JJ Smuts (48 off 26), Anrich Nortje (3-27-2), Lutho Sipamla (2/45)
Kingfishers: 56 for 2 after 6 overs (113/5 after 12 overs) – Bronze
Janneman Malan (31 off 16), Faf Du Plessis (28 off 12), Glenton Stuurman (3-26-2), Thando Ntini (1-34)
What we learned about the 3TC format
The novel device of dividing team’s innings into two 6-over halves brings its own tactical requirements. As De Villiers’s innings showed, batsmen can look to get their eye set in for the first 6 overs and can come out smashing in the second half, when they have a better idea of what sort of a team total should be targeted.
In the second innings, teams bat in the order of their first innings scores.
The fact that there are only seven fielders makes getting singles and doubles easier. Batsmen do not need to go for lofted strokes to find the boundary.
In a new innovation which was not required in Saturday’s match, the last batter will stand, meaning they stay at the crease after the fall of the seventh wicket and until they are dismissed.
Cricket’s return in South Africa
The 3TC match began with an united show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Many players like Andile Phehlukwayo and Lungi Ngidi also revealed shirts with BLM logos under their jerseys while celebrating during the match.
— Gareth Jenkinson (@gazza_jenks) July 18, 2020
Among some of the other notable features of the sport’s return to South Africa was the commentator-player father-son duo of Makhaya Ntini and Thando Ntini, with the former jokingly endorsing his son all through the match. When South Africa’s director of cricket Grame Smith was in the commentary box with Ntini, the former player told him: “Will you look after my son?” Thando Ntini did well in his three overs, finishing with 1/34, showing glimpses of the past with a few toe-crunching yorkers.
Also deserving mention is the person who was in place to return balls if they went outside the fence. Following pandemic protocols, no one is allowed to touch the ball if it goes out of play. A man with a huge fishing net, who also sometimes took diving catches to whooping applause from the commentary box, therefore, was the answer.
OUTsurance Kingfishers: Reeza Hendricks (captain), Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan, Faf du Plessis, Thando Ntini, Gerald Coetzee, Glenton Stuurman, Tabraiz Shamsi. Coach: Mignon du Preez.
Mr D Food Kites: Temba Bavuma (captain), Jon-Jon Smuts, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje, Ryan Rickleton. Coach: Wandile Gwavu.
Takealot Eagles: AB de Villiers (captain), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Andile Phehlukwayo, Bjorn Fortuin, Junior Dala, Lungi Ngidi. Coach: Geoffrey Toyana.