Opinion: Game rating wise these players smoke the pipe

Henry

It is still 141 days before the Proteas meet Sri Lanka in their first T20 World Cup match in New York.

Apart from a select few who at least get a chance to play in the Indian Premier League, there is not much international cricket waiting for the South Africans.

The just completed SA20 tournament therefore serves as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming knockout spectacle. A player like Rassie van der Dussen had earlier expressed the hope that his performances for MI Cape Town would help him book a World Cup plane ticket.

Let’s then put on our selectors’ hats and pick a team – based purely on SA20 level of play and not past heroics – to represent the Proteas in the USA and the Caribbean.

  1. Ryan Rickelton (530 runs at an average of 58.88 and a strike rate of 173.77):

The fact that Rickelton is the tournament’s leading run-scorer, while his MI Cape Town teammates happily waved the wooden spoon around, only underlines his skill and batting prowess.

Cricket lovers compared him to Quinton de Kock; and he performed streets better than the Protea wicketkeeper.

  1. Matthew Breetzke (416 runs at an average of 32 and a strike rate of 135.50):

As opening batsman for the Durban’s Super Giants, Breetzke often laid the foundation for Heinrich Klaasen’s supersonic skills later in the innings.

He smashed 40 fours and 22 sixes in his batting outings while also regularly excelling with his good fielding.

  1. Rassie van der Dussen (328 runs at an average of 32.80 and a strike rate of 147.74):

Yes, his stats got a huge boost thanks to his century early in the tournament, but Van der Dussen showed what he is capable of with that performance.

Those who complain about his batting pace should have only looked at his innings of 104 runs from 50 deliveries against the Joburg Super Kings. He hit 15 boundaries and together with Rickelton saw to it that MI Cape Town were able to pile up 243/5 in their allotted 20 overs.

  1. Aiden Markram – captain (261 runs at an average of 32.62 and a strike rate of 138.09):

Markram deserves to take the team’s captaincy reins. After all, he led the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to a second title in a row.

In addition, he also came up with a couple of good innings, while he went on the field like a waffling Superman.

  1. Heinrich Klaasen (447 runs at an average of 40.63 and a strike rate of 207.90):

Klaasen is the sharpest arrow in any team’s batting quiver these days and he has the unique ability to put in the long-stem right from the start.

According to Kevin Pietersen, there is currently no better T20 batsman in world cricket. And one has to agree with him.

  1. Tristan Stubbs (301 runs at an average of 60.20 and a strike rate of 168.15):

The talented Eastern Cape showed that he is also a player for the big moment when he excelled with his fifty in the tournament final.

Skill-wise, he can play any stroke in the cricket manual, while also being strong enough to drive the ball over the boundary rope.

  1. Wiaan Mulder (297 runs at an average of 37.12 and two wickets at an average of 57):

The first of the versatile players in the group. Mulder played a few good innings and especially peppered the away side boundary with a few batting cards.

Hopefully he can repeat his level of play on the big stage.

  1. Marco Jansen (105 runs at an average of 26.25 and 20 wickets at an average of 14.30):

Jansen was at his very best in this year’s tournament and he was deservedly named as the series’ rising star.

He excelled with his pace and bounce in the final for the Sunrisers to boast a bowling analysis of 5/30.

  1. Keshav Maharaj (15 wickets at an average of 20.46):

Maharaj is an intelligent bowler in white-ball cricket matches and he foiled his opponents with flight and ingenuity.

He also left his mark on the tournament as leader of the Durban’s Super Giants..

  1. Nandre Burger (11 wickets at an average of 25.27):

Here things get a bit complicated as Lizaad Williams, Wayne Parnell, Junior Dala and Lungi Ngidi took more wickets than Burger, but he conceded fewer runs than them.

In addition, his speed and his left-handedness also make him a formidable weapon; he is one of those players who excites you.

  1. Ottniel Baartman (18 wickets at 11.70):

A truckload of wickets in a handful of matches testifies to Baartman’s excellent level of play. He particularly impressed in his matches against the Pretoria Capitals (4/12) and the Super Giants (4/10).

He deserves more chances on the big stage.