David Miller leads from front as Paarl Royals clinch thrilling victory

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Paarl Royals and Pretoria Capitals locked horns in the 18th match of the SA20 2023 League at Boland Park in Paarl. Less than 24 hours before the game, the Royals had lost against MI Cape Town by 12 runs, and had been desperately looking for a victory. The Capitals were coming off a victory from their previous game, but could not continue their momentum as the Royals clinched a win.

Pretoria Capitals won the toss and opted to bat first. They could not get off to the desired start as Will Jacks was dismissed in the very first over. Bjorn Fortuin was yet again at his best with the new ball and managed to get his side an early breakthrough. Theunis de Bruyn and Kusal Mendis managed the innings then, and sailed through the powerplay.

The duo added 52 runs to the second wicket partnership before Ferisco Adams dismissed Mendis. Adams picked up his second wicket when he returned to bowl the 11th over, and dismissed Rilee Rossouw. The middle-order batters could not do much, but De Bruyn’s half-century helped the Capitals finish at 158/6 at the end of their allotted 20-overs quota.

Jos Buttler, David Miller do the job for the Royals

Paarl Royals started their chase in a brilliant manner. Wihan Lubbe opened alongside regular opener Jason Roy, and the duo put up a 48-run partnership before Roy was dismissed towards the end of the powerplay. Lubbe walked back to the pavilion soon as Adil Rashid sent him packing. Dane Vilas and Jos Buttler took the game forward and added some crucial runs on board by sharing a 65-run stand for the third wicket.

A change in bowling worked wonders for the Capitals. Will Jacks took charge of the ball for the 16th over, and struck twice within his first three deliveries to dismiss Vilas and Buttler. While the former walked back scoring 24 off 26 deliveries, Buttler managed to score 37 runs in 28 deliveries, but the quick wickets helped the Capitals shift the momentum of the game.

The game came down the wire when the Royals required 20 runs to win off the final two overs. Skipper David Miller showcased some fine skills with the bat and got to business as soon as he entered the game. He kept finding the gaps at regular intervals and sent the ball over the fence, and Mitchell Van Buuren scored the winning runs for the Royals as they clinched a thrilling victory in the final over, with just two balls to spare.

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