South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis, right, celebrates with South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen after scoring a century during the Cricket World Cup. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP

JOHANNESBURG – In a reflection of the difficult year for South Africa’s national cricket sides, the respective captains, Faf du Plessis and Dane van Niekerk, scooped the major prizes at Cricket South Africa’s Awards gala on Saturday night. 

The pair led with integrity and skill through what was often an arduous year for their respective sides, producing performances of a high standard that belied the problems facing their teams and the sport in general in this country. Both scooped the Cricketer of the Year award in the mens and womens categories and were also recognised by their peers in the ‘Players Player of the Year’ category.

Du Plessis also picked up the ODI Player of the Year prize.

Van Niekerk again seemed to carry her side for large parts of the season. Nevertheless the all-rounder, produced a number of world class displays further underlining her status in the women’s game. She averaged 92 with the bat in ODIs, scoring 278 runs in four ODIs, which included her maiden ODI century against Sri Lanka in February. 

She was the stand out performer as her side managed just five wins in nine ODIs. With all their series being played as part of the qualifying competition for the 2021 World Cup, the two drawn series’, against Pakistan and West Indies, were particularly critical with a big series against powerhouse Australia on the horizon. 

Du Plessis had a similar load to carry for the men’s team, combining the responsibilities of captaincy with the burden of being one of the Proteas’ premier batsmen over the course of a tough season. He and Quinton de Kock were the only two century makers for South Africa in Test matches last summer, with Du Plessis averaging over 50 in the four Tests he played.

In ODIs, he scored 1032 runs, with three centuries, one of which, against Australia at Old  Trafford, was the only three-figure score notched up by a Proteas batsman at the World Cup. 

Saturday night’s awards covered what was arguably the poorest year yet for the national teams in the 16 years since CSA first started dishing out the prizes. The womens national team and their male counterparts failed in the two major competitions in the period; the women won just two of their four matches at the World T20 in the Caribbean last November, failing to qualify for the semifinals, and the men also missed out on a final four spot in the 50-over World Cup, winning only three of their nine matches. 

The fall out from that failure in England is still being dealt with as Cricket SA is still working its way through a number of meetings trying to decide the future of the men’s team’s head coach, Ottis Gibson, whose contract runs out next month. 

On a more positive note, the efforts of Rassie van der Dussen were recognised as he scooped the ‘International Men’s Newcomer’ award. He finished as South Africa’s second highest run-scorer - behind Du Plessis - at the World Cup, with an aggregate of 311 runs, that included three half-centuries. 

Van der Dussen also claimed the Mzansi Super League’s “Impact Player of the Year” award. 

Given their success in winning two of the three franchise trophies it was no surprise that the Highveld Lions dominated the domestic categories. Left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin won Domestic Players Player and the T20 Challenge Player of the Year titles, while the team’s coach Enoch Nkwe was named Coach of the Year. 

PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: NATIONAL

SA Men’s Cricketer of the Year: Faf du Plessis

SA Women’s Cricketer of the Year: Dane van Niekerk

Standard Bank Test Cricketer of the Year: Quinton de Kock

Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year: Faf du Plessis

Standard Bank T20 International Cricketer of the Year: David Miller

SA Players’ Player of the Year: Faf du Plessis

SA Fans’ Player of the Year: Kagiso Rabada

KFC Streetwise Award: Dale Steyn (SA’s leading Test wicket-taker of all-time)

CSA Delivery of the Year: Vernon Philander (dismissal of Azhar Ali, first innings, 3rd Test)

International Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Rassie van der Dussen

International Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Tumi Sekhukhune

SA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year: Dane van Niekerk

Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year: Marizanne Kapp

Women’s T20 Cricketer of the Year: Shabnim Ismail

PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: DOMESTIC

Four-day franchise Series Cricketer of the Season: Dane Piedt (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras)

Momentum One-Day Cup Cricketer of the Season: Junior Dala (Multiply Titans)

CSA T20 Challenge Player of the Season: Bjorn Fortuin (bizhub Highveld Lions)

Mzansi Super League Impact Player of the Year: Rassie van der Dussen (Jozi Stars)

Mzansi Super League Young Player of the Year: Lutho Sipamla (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants)

Pitchvision Coach of the Season: Enoch Nkwe (bizhub Highveld Lions)

Domestic Players’ Player of the Season: Bjorn Fortuin (bizhub Highveld Lions)

Domestic Newcomer of the Season: Sinethemba Qeshile (Warriors)

Africa T20 Cup Player of the Tournament: Marco Marais (Border)     

SACA Most Valuable Player Award: Dane Piedt (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras)

PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: OPERATIONS

CSA Umpires’ Umpire of the Year: Bongani Jele

CSA Umpire of the Year: Shaun George

CSA Scorers Association of the Year: Gauteng Cricket Scorers Association

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