Bjorn Fortuin may have transformed Boland Park into his personal playground during the first half of the Betway SA20, but the Paarl Royals left-arm spinner is ready for the challenge of returning to the Highveld.
Fortuin has claimed 13 wickets – with only one wicket not taken in Paarl – thus far to place him joint second on the overall Betway SA20 wicket-takers table.
He has been particularly lethal upfront in the Powerplay where he has regularly struck in his first over of the match for the Royals.
“I really wish I could (roll up the Boland Park surface). I try to keep my game plans simple there,” Fortuin said.
“I work very closely with our analyst and spin consultant Richard das Neves. They have been very helpful with what works on that wicket and what doesn’t. I just try to stick to that plan as much as I can. Some days batters will get the best of you and get you off that plan. But for the most part I think I’ve stuck to my plan.”
The Paarl Royals have, however, completed their home leg of the competition and now travel north for their two remaining matches against Joburg Super Kings (Wanderers) and Pretoria Capitals (Centurion).
The general consensus is that Highveld surfaces are much more tailored for batting with the tournament’s joint-highest score of 216 compiled by the Capitals at Centurion, while Joburg Super Kings captain Faf du Plessis’ maiden Betway SA20 hundred was struck at the Wanderers.
Fortuin is not intimidated at the prospect of bowling on these batting paradises, especially as he has played all his domestic cricket for Lions at the Wanderers for the last decade.
“From our team perspective, I definitely feel like our batting line-up is more suited to the conditions up on the Highveld. The ball does fly and the wickets play a lot better up here. The bounce is a lot more true, there is more pace, so they’ll favour that,” he said.
“In terms of my bowling, I don’t think I will change too much. Maybe a tweak here or there.
“But even myself and (Tabraiz) Shamsi, people don’t seem to realise that both of us learnt our trade up here on the Highveld. I am well-versed in bowling here.
“Like I said it does have a few different challenges like Boland Park would have … the ball does fly … the wickets play a bit better … but I feel like I’ve built up enough experience to deal with those challenges up here.”
The second half of the Betway SA20 will get underway on Thursday, 2 February when Durban’s Super Giants host MI Cape Town at Kingsmead.