Defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape completed a five-wicket win and the double over the Paarl Royals to secure the top spot after the SA20 Season 2 round-robin stages came to a thrilling conclusion at St George's Park on Sunday evening. The Sunrisers' gave their passionate supporters the perfect farewell gift ahead of their qualifier one against Durban's Super Giants at Newlands on Tuesday. SA20 2024: Joburg Super Kings Clinch Final Playoffs Spot Following Donovan Ferreira’s Final Over Heroics Against MI Cape Town.

Royals captain David Miller finally won his first toss of the season and opted to bat first with his team posting a competitive 159/7. Jos Buttler (38 in 22 balls with four boundaries and two sixes), Dane Vilas (34 in 25 balls with four boundaries) and Wihan Lubbe (27 in 20 balls, with two fours and a six) all made worthwhile contributions, while Ottniel Baartman (2/33) finished with the best figures for the Sunrisers.

Sunrisers' suffered a blow ahead of the match with leading batter Tom Abell ruled out through injury, but this allowed for the return of Proteas Test and ODI captain Temba Bavuma to the starting XI. Bavuma had not played any white-ball cricket since the Proteas' ICC World Cup semi-final defeat to Australia in Kolkata last November due to injury. Bavuma took on the responsibility of guiding the Sunrisers' run chase as the home team lost wickets at regular intervals during the run chase.

The highlight of his innings was a sweet sweep shot off left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin that sailed into the stands. Bavuma shared a 63-run partnership off just 45 balls with Sunrisers Aiden Markram (37 off 27 balls, with a four and two sixes) before following it up with another crucial 26-run stand with Tristan Stubbs.

Unfortunately, Bavuma could not take the Sunrisers all the way over the line when he held out in the last over for 33 off 30 balls (with a four and a six), but Patrick Kruger ensured that the fans would leave St George's Park with smiles as he struck Royals rookie Nqabayomzi Peter (26* in seven balls, with a four and three sixes), who was entrusted with the final over on his SA20 debut, for six off the penultimate delivery of the innings. Andile Phehlukwayo (3/33) was the pick of the bowlers for Paarl. SA20 2024: Marco Jansen’s All-Round Heroics Help Sunrisers Eastern Cape Reach Playoffs 1 With Victory Over Paarl Royals.

The Royals, therefore, finished in third place on the table and will head to the Wanderers to face the fourth-placed Joburg Super Kings in the Eliminator on Wednesday, February 7. The Sunrisers' and second-placed Durban's Super Giants will lock horns in qualifier one at Newlands on Tuesday, February 6.

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