26 November 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld
Mzansi Super League 2019 Top Performers
The Mzansi Super League has hit the halfway stage and has produced cracking cricket to date, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.
Here are the top performers of each team thus far (in order of log positions):
Australian Ben Dunk has contributed 100 runs, including an unbeaten 50 (four sixes and four fours) off 30 against the Stars, and England star Jason Roy 82, including a 38-ball half-century (two sixes and five fours) in a Man of the Match performance against the Heat on Saturday.
Chris Morris has been immense as well; he has a team-best average (61) and played a match-winning 22-run gem off 10 against the Heat. Needing 15 from the final over, the composed Proteas all-round hit a six off the first ball, a single, got back on strike and hit back-to-back fours to seal the deal.The Zambian-born quick has looked extra motivated and has reaped rewards for his high energy. Running in hard, Dala has ripped through batsmen and sits second on the leading wicket-takers list with nine scalps. He was at the peak of his powers against the Stars, taking 3/19 in four overs.
Proteas spin wizard Imran Tahir is one of the best T20 bowlers in the world and has done his reputation no harm, taking seven wickets at a team-best economy rate of 5.83. His best performance also came against the Stars, when he took 3/23 in four overs. Demonstrating his all-round class, Morris has been excellent with the ball as well. He’s taken six wickets, including 2/8 against the Spartans, with an economy rate of 6.7. He’s been THE talisman of the team.
BET: MSL 2019With just one blemish on their record, the Rocks look the business this season. After a dominant 86-run win over the Blitz first up, they crashed to an eight-wicket loss to the Spartans. They bounced back with a four-wicket victory over the Stars and showed character when they clawed their way back to edge the Blitz by two runs in the return fixture at Newlands on Sunday.The England international has been red-hot for the Rocks. He’s led the batting assault in all departments, scoring a total of 152 runs, 86 not out (two sixes and eight fours) off 53 against the Spartans with a strike rate of 155.10 and an average of 76.
Veteran Henry Davids has shown that he hasn’t slowed down, contributing 116 runs with a 133.33 strike rate. The evergreen 39-year-old was excellent at the top of the order against the Blitz at the weekend, scoring an assured 46 (one six and five fours) off 33 to earn the Man of the Match award.
Proteas all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius has also featured prominently. A consistent force, he scored 37 against the Stars, 34 in the first meeting against the Blitz and a vital 29 off 16 in Sunday’s return fixture in Cape Town to help his team across the line.The left-arm chinaman has been sensational. He literally and figuratively dialled it up on Sunday, taking two wickets – including clean-bowling Liam Livingstone with a beautiful ball – and setting off on his trademark celebration to take his tally to seven. The Proteas magician was even better in the first clash against the Capetonians, when he took 3/15 in three overs.
Fellow spinner Bjorn Fortuin has been fantastic as well, both as wicket-taker and run-restrictor. He’s removed five batsmen and boasts a team-best 5.40 economy rate. His best figures, 2/13 in three overs, came in the away game against the Blitz. Pretorius has been good with the ball, too, taking three wickets with an economy rate of 6.33.
BET: MSL 2019The third-placed Spartans have done all they can to be title contenders, winning their only two completed clashes, first marching past the Rocks by eight wickets and then seeing off the Stars by 20 runs on Sunday. On 14 points, they’re just one behind the men from Paarl and have a host of in-form Proteas that could propel them to the top.Who said Elgar’s just a Test player? While he’s certainly suited for red-ball cricket – where he’s been one of the Proteas’ pre-eminent run-scoring pit bulls – the 32-year-old has racked up 163 runs at a tournament-best average of 81.50 and a strike rate of 141.73. He’s produced two big knocks – an unbeaten 88 (two sixes and seven fours) off 60 against the Rocks – a T20 career-best and the second-highest of the tournament – and an unbeaten 57 (seven fours) off 37 against the Heat.
All-rounder Theunis de Bruyn has blasted 88 runs, including 42 (four fours) off 33 against the Rocks, while AB de Villiers lit up the Wanderers at the weekend with a typically thrilling 53 (two sixes and four fours) off 33 in a Man of the Match performance, which moved his tournament tally up to 84.He might’ve called time on his international career but he’s still a world-class fast bowler. The Spartans skyscraper has claimed six wickets and, with 5.86, has an excellent economy rate for a quick. The former Proteas speed merchant spearheaded the slaying of the Stars, taking 3/21 in a devastating spell.
England ace Tom Curran has four wickets to his name but has been costly at 10.33 per over. Netherlands star Roelof van der Merwe has played an important role with the ball, the left-arm spinner taking three wickets at six an over, while Proteas quick Lungi Ngidi has also netted three wickets despite being some way off his best.
BET: MSL 2019The Blitz have blown hot and cold and find themselves in fourth place on 13 points with a 50% win record. They started well, winning three of their first four (completing the double over the Stars and dozing the Heat by 10 runs), before slumping to back-to-back losses.The Blitz boast two batsmen in the top five. South African-born Malan is the third-highest run-scorer with 187 and his 99 not out against the Stars at the Wanderers is the best of the season. The brilliant 59-ball blitzkrieg included four sixes and no less than 11 fours. He has a team-best average of 37.40 and a strike rate of 146.09.
Captain Quinton de Kock is fifth on the run-scoring list with 169 and the stroke-playing genius doubles up with a strike rate of 169. The Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman’s best innings came in Cape Town against the Stars – 41 runs (three sixes and four fours) off 21. England import Liam Livingstone has been in rich form as well, scoring 163 runs, including 65 (five sixes and three fours) off 41 in the home game against the Stars. He’s been the master blaster of 2019, bludgeoning a tournament-leading 12 sixes.For most South African cricket lovers, there’s nothing quite like watching Steyn at his soul-snatching best and the Proteas all-time great’s been exactly that as the Blitz’s destroyer-in-chief. “The Phalaborwa Express” is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 10, and ripped the heart out of the Stars’ batting line-up at the Wanderers, where he took 3/25 in four overs.
Sisanda Magala has followed suit and sits third with eight wickets. The medium-fast bowler’s 3/17 in the home game against the Stars is a team best while his 2/35 in four overs against the Rocks, also at Newlands, was an impressive spell as well. Rising Proteas star Anrich Nortje, meanwhile, has picked up six wickets, including 3/31 in the away game against the Rocks.
BET: MSL 2019It’s been a bitterly frustrating and fruitless campaign for the Durbanites. Last year’s wooden spoonists are yet to break their duck after having three of their fixtures rain out and going down to the both the Blitz (10 runs) and the Giants (five wickets). With just six points, they’re in distant fifth place and have it all to do if they are to qualify for the play-offs.The left-hander blasted a franchise record 83 against the Blitz but it was not enough to get the Heat their first win. An exciting prospect, Lubbe’s 42-ball knock included five sixes and seven fours. A duck against the Giants summed up the stop-start nature of the team’s season so far.
The other standouts with the bat have been Ravi Bopara and David Muller. The international duo gelled well against the Giants, England ace Bopara scoring a classy unbeaten 57 (one six and four fours) off 43 and Proteas star Miller making 45 (four fours) off 36.The medium-pacer has picked up four wickets and has been the Heat’s most consistent strike bowler. He returned figures of 2/41 against the Giants and 1/25 against the Blitz, and struck against the Spartans as well before the match was washed out.
Andile Phehlukwayo is the next-best with three wickets, while fellow Proteas Keshav Maharaj and Kyle Abbott have two apiece. Maharaj has been the most impressive of the South African trio. The left-arm spinner boasting a team-best economy rate of 6.27 thanks to his bag of tricks. He was outstanding against the Giants, taking 1/17 (14 dots) in his four overs.
BET: MSL 2019How quickly things change. The Stars have gone from inaugural champions to wooden spoonists. Along with the Blitz, they’re the only team who have played six matches (one more than the rest) and are yet to get off the mark. Six losses on the trot mean we’re all but sure to crown new champions as the Stars have the slimmest mathematical chance of still earning a spot in the knockout stages, needing to win all their remaining fixtures and have other results go their way.It’s ironic that the winless Stars boast the two top run-scorers of the season. Hendricks tops the pops with 201 at an average of 33.50 and a strike rate of 120.35. The Proteas ace has produced two of the gems of the tournament, whacking 80 (one six and 11 fours) off 53 against the Blitz and a calculated 62 (five fours) off 58 against the Giants.
Fellow Proteas star Temba Bavuma is just six shy in second place with 195 runs. He has a superior average (39.00) and strike rate (137.32) than Hendricks and punished the Blitz, scoring 62 (one six and eight fours) off 42. A third Protea, Rassie van der Dussen, has contributed 102 runs so far. West Indies great Chris Gayle is on 101 after coming good in his swansong with a 27-ball 54 (four sixes and six fours) against the Spartans on Sunday.Stars bowlers have split the workload, with Proteas trio Phangiso, Duanne Olivier and Kagiso Rabada bagging five wickets apiece. At 35 years of age and having last played for South Africa in the seven-wicket loss to India in a T20 in Cape Town last February, Phangiso has shown there’s life in his cricket lungs yet. The veteran spinner has the team-best economy rate (7.23) and average (23.40).
Olivier has the best match figures of the three – 3/39 in four overs against the Rocks – and has a better average (27.60) than Rabada (36.40). For his part, Rabada has fellow speed merchant Olivier beat when it comes to economy rate, going for 8.21 compared to Olivier’s costly 10.61.
BET: MSL 2019