JJ Smuts was named Bowler of the Match for the third time as the Warriors beat the Lions to book their spot in the T20 Challenge final.
The Warriors have pulled above their weight in this year’s T20 Challenge, and now they’re just one victory away from their first T20 title in seven years.
While performances from the likes of Andrew Birch and Colin Ingram have helped the Eastern Cape franchise’s cause, the stand-out player has been Smuts, who has put in excellent performances with bat and ball on a consistent basis.
Known more for his powerful hitting at the top of the order, his slow left-arm efforts have meant the Warriors haven’t needed to call on a frontline spinner, leaving the likes of Simon Harmer on the bench. His miserly 1-17 off four overs earned him the Bowler of the Match plaudits in his side’s seven-wicket win against the Lions on Tuesday night, and it was the third time he’d achieved that, after his 2-15 and 2-13 against the Lions and the Knights respectively in the group stages.
He could have had more, for he got 1-18 in the opener against the Dolphins, before snaring 2-22 against the Knights in the third match. Only Birch’s efforts outweighed his on those occasions.
He sits just outside the top ten in the bowling charts, but it’s his economy rate that stands out. His 6.06 an over is the best in the tournament by some distance. As for his runs, he sits at the top of the pile with 355 runs at an average of 44.37.
Smuts has played one T20 for SA A, but it surely can’t be long before he grabs the attention of the selectors for the highest honours in this format.
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