Every Friday, SA Cricket magazine will be naming its MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the week. The first recipient is Neil McKenzie.
The man South African Test cricket forgot prematurely reminded all and sundry of his immense talent this week, striking an outstanding Momentum One Day Cup century for the Lions against the Dolphins at Kingsmead.
Having promised plenty with a commanding 73 in a big win over the Warriors in Potchefstroom 72 hours earlier, McKenzie graduated to three figures in characteristically authoritative fashion in Durban.
The firm anchor to Jean Symes’ cavalier approach during a record, unbroken 188-run alliance inside 29 overs, the right-handed McKenzie amassed an unbeaten 101 to his sidekick’s 97 not out.
His hefty contribution was particularly key, after the early falls of opener Alviro Petersen, captain Steven Cook and the in-form Temba Bavuma.
A perilous score of 45 for three demanded correction, and the stalwart McKenzie obliged against a Dolphins attack that had earlier this year kept him to just 26 and five in a relatively high-scoring Sunfoil Series fixture.
The 38-year-old’s first List A ton since the 2011-2012 season didn’t have the final say, though. Instead, Mother Nature and her sodden mood did, forcing a washout and shared points. McKenzie, regardless, is primed for more success against the Titans come the weekend’s showdown against the Titans in front of the expectant Wanderers faithful.
Shepherding and selfless, so much so he’ll rather give throwdowns to a tail-ender rather than face some himself, according to team-mate Chris Morris, McKenzie entirely deserves this week’s accolade.