We look at five players who have lit up the stage in this year’s T20 Challenge.
Farhaan Behardien: His two fifties for the Titans so far is only one of the reasons that the Proteas batter sits top of the runs standings with 267. His importance to his side’s dominant run is largely due to the short bursts from Behardien after a middle-order collapse from his side. He has managed to remain unbeaten on five occasions with four of them resulting in victories for his side. The 33-year-old will look to continue his form, which sees him average 133.50 as he hopes to keep his place in the Proteas ODI side for their series against Sri Lanka in January.
Morne van Wyk: The Dolphins captain has managed to match Behardien in total runs this season, but his role has been vastly different to his counterpart, who sits above him due to a superior average. Van Wyk, who has an average of 38.14, has led his side to some important victories in a season hyped by the inclusion of Ex-England recruit Kevin Pietersen. His 60 off 37 and 56 off 43 were vital to his side’s victories against the Lions and Knights respectively. The wicket-keeper batsman has also put in a great shift with four dismissals, including two catches and two stumpings.
Andrew Birch: The 31-year-old sits on top of the standings with 17 wickets at an average of 9.23 and has played a leading role for the Warriors, who sit second and a point behind the Titans with a game in hand. What makes this a stand-out season for Birch, is that he picked up his best T20 bowling figures of 5-16 against the log-leaders, subsequently hand them their second loss after starting off the season with a five-match unbeaten run.
Bjorn Fortuin: The SA Emerging star has lit up the tournament in the last few weeks and has played a vital role in the Lions’ recent success, as they lifted themselves to third position on the overall standings. The 21-year old managed to rack up nine wickets in three matches and has won two consecutive Bowler of the Match awards as the Lions completed three victories on the trot, which has given them a fighting chance to reach the knockout stages.
JJ Smuts: The Warriors captain has led by example in his side’s successful T20 Challenge campaign. His stellar all-round performances ranks him fifth and 11th on the batting and bowling charts respectively. In seven matches he has scored 216 runs at an average of 36.00 and taken eight wickets at an average of 17.00. It was his Man of the Match performance against the Knights where Smuts stood out the most. After taking 2-16, which helped his side skittle the opposition for 96, the 28-year-old smashed his side home with an unbeaten 49 off 35 balls, picking up both Bowler and Batsman of the Match awards.
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