‘Bowling 150 at ease’: Jofra Archer marks return from injury after 541 days in SA20 opener with three wickets

England speedster Jofra Archer laid basis for an eight wicket win for MI Cape Town against Paarl Royals in the first ever SA20 match, delivering a 3/27 on return from injury. Playing a professional game after almost 18 months, the 27-year-old dismissed opener Wihan Lubbe in his second over.

Archer would then pick a double off two balls in his last over, altering his pace. First, David Miller, who was playing at 42 off 30 deliveries, off a slow bouncer. Up next, Ferisco Adams was also deceived by a slower one floated on the off. Giving away just two off that 19th over, the England international helped avoid Paarl crossing the 150 run mark as they succumbed at 142/7 off their 20 overs.

Cape Town skipper Rashid Khan was all praise for Archer post match, “Amazing comeback, it is super hard to do this. We saw him in practice and we knew he was ready to go, Glad to see him back to full tilt, nice to be on the field with him, not against him.”

Archer has been sidelined followed stress fracture to his back and elbow problems since March 2021, when he last featured for England during the tour of India.

Last year during the mega IPL auction, the 27-year-old was bought by Mumbai Indians for 8 crore INR, leading to an exciting bowling matchup alongside Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah. However, Archer wouldn’t feature in the 2022 edition of the league owing to injury issues.

Paarl Royals skipper David Miller also spoke of the pacer afterwards, “When Morgs (Eoin Morgan) and I were batting, we were having that chat about how him (Archer) being fit is great for world cricket. Bowling 150 at ease.”

Chasing 143, Dewald Brevis would score an unbeaten 70 off 41 balls leading to an eight wicket win with 27 balls to spare. “I could not wait for this day to see him (Archer), run in and bowl at pace,” the player of the match would remark after the opening game of South Africa’s new T20 league.

On Archer’s road to return, England men’s managing director Rob Key had said in November, “Our plan for him is he will play two games in the South African franchise [competition], which will be his first competitive cricket. If he gets through that, we will pick him for the South Africa ODI series, so he will go from four overs to 10 overs.”

Archer and MI Cape Town will next feature against Durban Super Giants on Friday.

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