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Johannesburg – South Africa batsman Richard Levi scooped the ICC Twenty20 International Performance of the Year award at the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual awards function at Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Levi won the award for his performance in equalling West Indian Chris Gayle's record highest score of 117 during the tour of New Zealand earlier this year.
His innings included five fours and 13 sixes, a world record on his debut tour for the Proteas in February in Hamilton, New Zealand.
He took just 45 balls to reach his century, making him the current record holder for the fastest century in T20 cricket, ahead of former holder Gayle who managed the feat in 50 balls.
His innings beat competition from Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan for his 104 not out in 57 balls against Australia, Gayle's 85 not out in 52 balls against New Zealand and Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka's six wickets for 16 runs against Australia.
Upon collecting the award, the 24-year-old Levi from Johannesburg said he remembered little of his whirlwind innings.
“I don't remember much of the innings but I regularly get reminded of it,” Levi said.
“When any sportsman performs well, with T20 cricket it either comes off or it doesn't and for me it came off that day.
“I really appreciate that some of the best cricketers from the past and top members of the media in the world have honoured me with this award and it's very humbling to get it.”
Acting Cricket SA chief executive Jacques Faul congratulated Levi on Saturday.
“It was a phenomenal performance and one that is going to be talked about for years to come,” Faul said.
“We congratulate him on his achievement and hope this augurs well for the ICC World Twenty20 which starts next week.”
Levi was the only Proteas player to be honoured with an award. Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander were both in the running for Test Player of the Year and Cricketer of the Year but in the end both these awards went to Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka. – Sapa