Andile Phehlukwayo’s fighting 62 in helping the Dolphins save the Sunfoil game in Centurion could not have come at a better time.
Eyebrows were raised when the convenor of the national selectors, when naming the squad to take on Bangladesh in the first Test, in Potchefstroom from 28 September, announced: ‘The inclusion of Andile and Wayne [Parnell] provides the necessary all-rounders to give options as concerns the balance of the starting XI.’
Social media sprang to life, questioning Phehlukwayo’s credentials as an ‘all-rounder’ in first-class cricket.
The bare facts suggest he has much to prove: In batting he has scored 682 runs in 27 matches, an average of 20.05, with three fifties. In bowling, he has 39 wickets at 37.74. His ODI batting figures are better: an average of 44.33.
Phehlukwayo would have been in the hut, awaiting his turn to bat when the announcement of the squad came through. The Dolphins were in serious trouble at 162-6 after 53 overs when the call came. Phehlukwayo and captain Khaya Zondo batted out 43 overs and his score of 62 was less important than his ability to resist all that the Titans threw at him.
The other Proteas players involved in the Sunfoil series matches, at the request of new coach Ottis Gibson, had varying fortunes. Hashim Amla was in top form for the Cobras, scoring 56 and 189, while Aiden Markram (119 and 87) and Dean Elgar (25 and 139), teammates at the Titans gave a glimpse of what is possible in the opening berth.
Other scores: Theunis de Bruyn (Knights) 195 and dnb; Faf du Plessis (Titans) 96 and dnb; Quinton de Kock (Titans) 54 and 0; Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras) 25 and 0; Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), 37 and 62; 0-63 and 0-36; Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins) , 0-104 and 1-70; 36 and dnb; Morne Morkel (Titans) 2-90 and 3-44; Duanne Olivier (Knights) 3-58 and 0-99; Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions) 0-59 and 0-43.
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix