St George’s Park, also known as the Crusaders Ground, is one of the most prominent cricket stadiums in South Africa. While the venue has hosted a flurry of domestic and international cricket matches, it also staged South Africa’s first rugby international.
The venue was famous for its zealous bands during matches. However, it was restricted during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 due to safety concerns and has since made spasmodic appearances.
St George’s Park hosted the first Test outside England or Australia, when South Africa played England in March 1889. The final Test before the Proteas’ 21-year ban from ICC was also played at this venue.
Based in Gqeberha, previously known as Port Elizabeth, the stadium boasts a capacity of 19,000 spectators. While it hosts international matches for South Africa, St George’s Park is home to Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, one of the oldest cricket clubs in the country.
Meanwhile, Sunrisers Eastern Cape, an SA20 franchise based out of the city, will also play their home games at the venue. A lot of domestic and franchise T20 cricket, including the Indian T20 League, has been played here. In the three completed T20 internationals, South Africa have won two, while West Indies have one win.
Let us go ahead and explore the T20 records at the St George’s Park in Gqeberha.
St George’s Park T20 records
Highest team total
The Dolphins hold the record for the highest team total at St George’s Park, scored in the CSA T20 Challenge in February 2022. Protea batter David Miller smashed 58 runs off 26 balls, while Grant Roelofsen scored a 30-ball 50 to guide the team to 211/5 against the Warriors. It is the only 200-plus total in T20s at the venue.
Team Mumbai’s 187/6 against Team Kolkata in April 2009 is the highest Indian T20 League total at the Crusaders. Meanwhile, in T20Is, South Africa’s 179/6 in December 2012 against New Zealand ranks atop.
Lowest team total
In 2007, the South African cricket team were restricted to 58/8 against West Indies in a rain-curtailed T20 international, which is the lowest team total at this ground. Jerome Taylor racked up incredible figures of 3/6 in three overs for the visitors.
Warriors (65), Central Districts (70), North West Dragons (80) and South Western Districts (81) complete the list of top five lowest team totals in T20s at St George’s Park.
Knights opening pair of Christoffel Klijnhans and Jacques Snyman claim the record for the highest partnership in T20s at the venue.
The duo slammed 156 runs against the Warriors in the CSA T20 Challenge in February 2022. While Snyman was dismissed for 90, Klijnhans remained unbeaten on 67 in the Knights’ nine-wicket success.
While there have been several century-stands in other franchise cricket, including the Indian T20 League, at the venue, there is yet to be a 100-run partnership in T20Is.
JJ Smuts, the South African batting all-rounder, has scored the most runs in T20s at the St George’s Park. He has amassed 867 runs in 41 matches, including six fifties, at a steady scoring rate. Smuts’ runs have been scored while playing for Eastern Province, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Warriors and Sunrisers Eastern Cape.
Davy Jacobs is second on the list with 598 runs, more than 250 runs behind Smuts. On the other hand, Quinton de Kock leads the charts in T20 internationals with 72 runs in two matches.
Protea pacer Sisanda Magala has scalped the most wickets in T20s at St George’s Park. The Port Elizabeth-born cricketer has picked up 29 wickets in 28 matches at the ground. He averages a wicket once every 19.6 balls, while conceding only 7.10 runs per over.
JJ Smuts, who tops the run-scoring charts, is second on the list with 27 wickets at a terrific economy rate of 6.36. Juan Theron, Andrew Birch and Junior Dala are other bowlers with 20-plus wickets here.
South African legend Dale Steyn holds the record in T20Is with four wickets.
Highest individual score
Only two T20 centuries have been scored at St George’s Park. Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s swashbuckling 112 off 69 against the Warriors in the CSA T20 Challenge 2019 is the highest individual score here. The match-winning knock included 12 fours and five sixes, with Jaarsveld scoring the majority of the team’s 154 runs.
Reeza Hendricks is the other centurion at Gqeberha, smashing a 62-ball 108 against the Giants in the Mzansi Super League in December 2018.
In T20 internationals, Quinton de Kock’s fiery 70 against Australia in February 2020 is the highest individual score at this ground.
Best bowling figures
There have been four five-wicket hauls at the St George’s Park in T20 matches. Cornelius de Villiers, however, recorded the best bowling figures at the venue with his spell of 5/12 against the Warriors in February 2009.
After getting rid of the opening pair, the pacer derailed the middle and lower order to help Eagles restrict the Warriors to 97. De Villiers also has registered a four-for here.
Vernon Philander, Sisanda Magala and Ziyaad Abrahams are the other bowlers with five-fors in T20s. Meanwhile, Dale Steyn’s 4/9 against West Indies in December 2007 is the best bowling figures in T20Is.
Photo credits: Alamy