ANI Photo | SA20: Paarl Royals remain on top of table depsite Miller’s absence

The Paarl Royals withstood the absence of their injured captain, David Miller, to entrench their position at the top of the SA20 table at the Wanderers on Wednesday.
Miller was ruled out with a calf strain ahead of the game, with England white-ball skipper Jos Buttler taking over the leadership duties.
The five-wicket victory over the Joburg Super Kings exhibited the Royals’ batting depth with Wihan Lubbe, and the incoming Dane Vilas sharing a 95-run partnership for the fourth wicket to steer the visitors home.
Lubbe struck 57 of 48 balls (3×4, 3×6), while Vilas contributed 42 (26 balls, 4×4, 1×6) in his first match of Season 2 to help the Royals reach their victory target of 171/5.
Buttler also contributed 22 at the top, but it was West Indies import Fabian Allen (17 not out, 7 balls, 2×6) that provided the extravagant finishing touch with a straight six off the first ball of Lizaad Williams’ final over of the innings.
The Royals are certainly looking early contenders in the race to secure a playoff spot with 22 points.
Shane Bond’s team have shown great improvement in their ability to now also win on the Highveld – the victory over JSK being their second consecutive win up north – to add to the impressive home form at Boland Park.
Meanwhile, JSK were unable to build any momentum after their “Big City” derby victory over Pretoria Capitals over the weekend.
The start to the Super Kings innings had been a struggle after Royals left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin delivered a miserly four-over spell of 0/14 upfront with the new ball.
But Faf du Plessis’s team were still able to post a competitive 168/3, courtesy of Reeza Hendricks’ stroke-filled 79 not out off 56 balls (7×4, 3×6), Leus du Plooy’s 30 off 16 balls and Moeen Ali’s 24 not out (12 balls).
Royals’ in-form seamer Lungi Ngidi moved back to the top of the competition’s wicket-takers list with the dismissal of Du Plessis, but struggled towards the backend of the innings to finish with 1/59.
JSK remain in fifth position on the SA20 table with six points from six matches. (ANI)

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