Quinton de Kock’s meteoric rise continued over the weekend when the 20-year-old smashed the highest T20 score by a South African.
His rampant 126 not out off 69 balls for the Lions against the Cape Cobras is the eighth highest of all-time.
In 27 T20 matches De Kock has amassed 664 runs at an average of 36.88 with a strike rate of 144.34.
After the domestic T20 championships, the wicketkeeper-batsman will go on to make his debut in the Indian Premier League – he was revently purchased for $20 000 by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
De Kock was initially purchased as cover for the team’s regular wicketkeepers Kumar Sangakkara and Parthiv Patel, but after breaking the domestic record he may well be given more opportunities.
The record-breaking century by the former South Africa under-19 wicketkeeper steered the Lions to a nine-wicket victory over the Cobras in the opening round of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge.
Cobras skipper Justin Ontong lauded De Kock’s innings, yet he felt that his team lacked aggression in the bowling department.
“In T20 cricket, there will always be players who have a great game and Quinton had one of those days. He played really well and deserved his score, but I felt that we needed to be a bit better with our bowling,” said Ontong.
He added: “To win a T20 game, you have to strike early and we put ourselves under pressure by not doing that. We scored over 180, which is more than decent, but as I said we needed to strike early.”
The Cobras’ next T20 match will be on Friday when they face the Knights in Paarl, They will also be in action on Sunday when they host the Dolphins at Newlands.
The Cape side will be hoping to have experienced all-rounder Justin Kemp (hamstring injury) and new signing Azhar Mahmood available for the next round of fixtures.
Ontong described Kemp’s expected return from fitness as “a big bonus” and the skipper is also looking forward to working with Mahmood.
“Besides his experience, he is a quality all-rounder, who has played all over the world. He is good with the ball and can bat anywhere. He is truly an impact player and is a real match-winner. We are lucky to have him in the squad and I am sure that he will enjoy playing with us.”
Mahmood, a former Pakistan international, has played in 159 T20 matches in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Australia and New Zealand.
He has scored 3 194 runs, including two centuries, and he has claimed 177 wickets with a best bowling return of 5/24. - Cape Argus