Dewald Brevis, touted as the next big thing in South African cricket, announced himself in the opening match of what CSA hopes will be its next big tournament, the SA20. Brevis smashed 70 off 41 balls and shared in a 90-run opening stand with Ryan Rickelton to take MI Cape Town to an easy eight-wicket win over Paarl Royals in the competition’s first match.

Set 143 to win, MI Cape Town were untroubled in the chase and reached the target inside 16 overs to secure a bonus point. Paarl Royals were without their bowling spearhead Lungi Ngidi, who has just returned from South Africa’s Test tour to Australia, and will play the season without the injured Obed McCoy. They may already be wondering where they will get their firepower from.

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The same question could be asked of their batting. They were less-than-fluent on a surface that seemed not to allow much free-flowing strokeplay until Brevis and Rickelton got together. Royals stumbled to 56 for 3 in the 10th over before Jos Buttler and David Miller put on 48 for the fourth-wicket. By then, Jofra Archer had already enjoyed a successful comeback with a wicket maiden in his first over in competitive cricket since July 2021. Archer had Wiaan Lubbe caught at mid-on and went on to take two wickets in two balls when he dismissed Miller and Ferisco Adams. He was well supported by Olly Stone, who took out the middle stumps of both Dane Vilas and Buttler to keep Paarl from ever really getting going.

They may have thought themselves 20 runs short at the break but the way MI went about their innings made them look at least 40 runs adrift. Brevis was severe on anything full, struck the ball cleanly and hit five sixes and four fours in his innings, to finish with a strike rate of 170.73. MI Cape Town knocked off the total with 27 balls to spare.