• South Africa’s best Indian Premier League XI

    More than 50 South Africans have played in the Indian Premier League since its 2008 introduction. Some appearances have been fleeting, while others have truly withstood the test of time.

    1. AB de Villiers, captain (matches: 142, runs: 3962, average: 39.22, highest score: 133*)

    • The former Proteas skipper has been part of the tournament since the very beginning, and  broke into its list of top 10 run-scorers relatively late. De Villiers is closing in on 4,000 – and is one of only three non-Indian players in that top 10. The others are Australian David Warner and West Indian Chris Gayle.

    2. Quinton de Kock, wicketkeeper (matches: 35, runs: 954, average: 28.05, highest score: 108)

    • The hard-hitting left-hander only debuted in the IPL in 2013, but has already represented four franchises. From the Sunrisers Hyderabad to the Delhi Daredevils and later the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he has since joined the Mumbai Indians amid a bit of a popularity turnstile.

    3. Jacques Kallis (matches: 98, runs: 2427, average: 28.55, highest score: 89* | wickets: 65, economy rate: 3/13, best bowling: 7.89)

    • Like De Villiers, the veteran all-rounder only played for two IPL teams – and is currently the head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders. He features in the tournament’s top 40 wicket-takers, and highest 30 run-scorers.

    4. Faf du Plessis (matches: 59, runs: 1457, average: 30.35, highest score: 73)

    • The Proteas captain was a Rising Pune Supergiant and is currently with the Chennai Super Kings, where he occasionally opens the batting – something he never does in the Proteas’ Twenty20 International XI.

    5. David Miller (matches: 70, runs: 1696, average: 36.86, highest score: 101*)

    • The middle-order kingpin has played 70-plus matches for the Kings XI Punjab – and has never represented any other IPL franchise. His value and loyalty was displayed via an entertaining half-century against the Knight Riders, albeit in defeat.

    6. JP Duminy (matches: 83, runs: 2029, average: 39.78, highest score: 78*)

    • The veteran left-hander enjoyed fruitful stints with the Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians across nine years, but didn’t secure a contract for the 2019 tournament. He scored 14 half-centuries, but never graduated to a ton.

    7. Albie Morkel (matches: 91, wickets: 85, economy rate: 8.21, best bowling: 4/32 | runs: 974, average: 24.35, highest score: 74*)

    • As with De Kock, the stalwart all-rounder played for four IPL franchises. His best campaigns were with the Super Kings, who statistically benefited more from his role with the ball than the bat. Morkel announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket, including the IPL, earlier this year.

    8. Chris Morris (matches: 52, wickets: 56, economy rate: 7.75, best bowling: 4/23 | runs: 485, average: 37.30, highest score: 82*)

    • With over 50 matches, nearly 60 wickets and close to 500 runs to show for his six years in the IPL, the tall all-rounder is arguably more valuable to the Delhi Capitals than the Proteas. Few will forget that masterful 82 not out that he blasted against the Gujarat Lions in 2016.

    9. Dale Steyn (matches: 90, wickets: 92, economy rate: 6.72, best bowling: 3/8)

    • South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament’s history, the 14th-placed pace ace is flanked by India’s Ravindra Jadeja and Australia’s Shane Watson in 13th and 15th position respectively. Steyn played for Gujarat, whose IPL history lasted a mere two years.

    10. Morne Morkel (matches: 70, wickets: 77, economy rate: 7.69, best bowling: 4/20)

    • The lanky pace ace played less IPL cricket than his brother Albie, but took the most wickets in the 2012 tournament – 25 in a dozen matches for the Delhi Daredevils, to be exact. He also played for the Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.

    11. Imran Tahir (matches: 40, wickets: 57, economy rate: 828, best bowling: 4/28)

    • While the stalwart leg-spinner has been somewhat of a journeyman at several other teams around the world, he has managed to limit his IPL experience to just three franchises. At the time of writing, he was the 2019 tournament’s leading wicket-taker.

    Considered, but ultimately left out of this hypothetical XI: Herschelle Gibbs; Graeme Smith; Hashim Amla; Wayne Parnell; Johan Botha; Roelof van der Merwe

    Photo: SPORTZPICS for BCCI | Ron Gaunt

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