Cape Town - The Proteas won their maiden T20 International series in England with sparkling performances from some unheralded players.
IOL Sport’s Zaahier Adams rates the performances of the players in the team.
REEZA HENDRICKS — 9
180 runs at 60, SR: 156.52 HS 70
Enjoyed his most fruitful international T20I series and deservedly won the Player of the Series award for his three consecutive half-centuries. Played with assurity and class throughout and has given the selectors a real headache at the top of the order.
LUNGI NGIDI — 8.5
Eight wickets, Economy: 6.92, BB 5/39
The big fast bowler has re-asserted himself as the Proteas’ premier fast bowler in the shortest format. He showcased all his skills, with his cutters and slower balls being particularly effective, especially upfront in the PowerPlay where he made vital breakthroughs with the new ball. He was effective at the death too. Is also looking in his best physical shape in a while.
RILEE ROSSOUW — 8.5
131 runs at 65.5, SR: 170.12 HS: 96*
A timid return to international cricket at Bristol before the former Kolpak player exploded in Cardiff where he came within a boundary of a maiden T20I century. Rossouw’s explosiveness adds an altogether different dimension to the Proteas’ top-order. An 18-ball 31 in the series-decider was also critical in allowing South Africa to maximise the PowerPlay that ultimately led to the imposing total of 191/5. Simply has to go to the T20 World Cup in Australia.
TABRAIZ SHAMSI — 8
Nine wickets, Economy: 9.09, BB 5/24
After overcoming the ghosts of Bristol, where Shamsi was properly spooked by the small boundaries, he showed why he has been one of the leading T20 bowlers in the world the past couple of years. Big performances in both victories, but particularly showed that big players step up in the big games with a five-wicket haul to power the Proteas to their first-ever white-ball series win in the third match on Sunday.
TRISTAN STUBBS — 8
95 runs at 47.5o, SR: 215.90 HS: 72
The find of the series for the Proteas. Everyone knew how destructive Stubbs is in domestic cricket, but the rookie showed that he could blast sixes out of the park on the big stage too. Just 21, the rookie plays without any fear and possesses fearsome power through his long levers and quick hands. He also takes down spinners for fun. Possibly still has to work out a gameplan against the genuine short ball, but has the talent to do so.
KESHAV MAHARAJ — 8
Three wickets, Economy: 7.62 , BB 2/21
Bowling left-arm spin on those small fields is basically cannon fodder for England’s much-vaunted batting unit. But Maharaj held his own - even in the PowerPlay - and kept things quiet when it could easily have gone berserk.
AIDEN MARKRAM — 8
51 runs, SR: 141.66 HS: 51*
Rested for the first two games, Markram was brought back for the series-decider in Southampton and made an immediate impact. His half-century was vital in terms of maintaining the momentum at the backend of the innings. Also chipped in with a wicket.
ANDILE PHEHLUKWAYO — 7
Five wickets, Economy: 11.36 , BB 3/39
Like a Phoenix that rises from the Ashes, Phehlukwayo was determined to revive his T20I career. As his economy-rate suggests, he was put under immense pressure by the England batters, but he responded with crucial wickets that pegged the hosts back just when they were looking to build momentum. His nagging length and clever use of his cutters form a critical part of his arsenal.
DAVID MILLER — 6
30 runs, SR: 142.85 HS: 22
Miller had a quiet series by his own high standards but that more due to the team not really needing his power hitting skills. He also unselfishly pushed young Stubbs ahead of him in the batting queue to give the rookie more of an opportunity. Led the team with great composure in Temba Bavuma’s absence and was rewarded with a series win in his 100th T20I.
HEINRICH KLAASEN — 5
39 runs, SR: 162.50 HS: 20
Looked in good touch whenever he was at the crease, hitting a few crisp boundaries, but didn’t make it count. Was eventually dropped for Markram in the series decider when the Proteas needed an extra bowling option. Depending on what happens in Ireland, he may possibly be the batter that misses out due to Stubbs’ emergence when the World Cup squad is announced.
ANRICH NORTJE — 5
One wicket, Economy: 6 , BB 1/12
Only played the final game due to Kagiso Rabada’s injury. Bowled two decent overs and claimed the wicket of Jason Roy. Will be hoping for more opportunities in Ireland.
KAGISO RABADA — 4
One wicket, Economy: 9.28 , BB 1/35
South Africa’s talisman was brilliant in Bristol when the ball was flying everywhere, but followed it up with a disappointing performance in Cardiff. Replaced by Nortje in the series-decider due to a niggle.
QUINTON DE KOCK — 2
17 runs, SR: 94.44 HS: 15
It speaks volumes for the Proteas in terms of how far they have come as a team that they won their first white-ball series without any contribution from their premier limited-overs batter. De Kock came into the series on the back of sparkling innings in the rain-abandoned final ODI, but couldn’t make an impact in any of the three T20Is. With the Proteas suddenly having an abundance of options at the top of the order, De Kock will be hoping for a good series in Ireland to to remind everyone he is still the first name on the Proteas’ T20I team sheet.