We uncover the top Proteas moments of 2016.
Temba Bavuma century against England
Having made his debut in 2014, 2016 was the year which boasted some of Bavuma’s best performances. In January, Bavuma made history to become the first black South African centurion when he hit 102 not out in the second Test against England at Newlands. Besides this historic century, one of his most memorable performances came in the first Test against Australia in Perth in November. His 51 in SA’s first innings, a spectacular run-out in Australia’s second innings to dismiss the dangerous David Warner and his first Test wicket concluded an all-round performance by the 26-year-old.
Six awards for Kagiso Rabada
At CSA’s annual awards, KG became the first player to walk away with six awards. The young speedster picked up South African Cricketer of the Year, Castle Lager Test Cricketer of the Year, Castle Lager ODI Cricketer of the Year, SA Players’ Player of the Year, SA Fans Player of the Year and RAM delivery of the Year for dismissing England’s Jason Roy in the KFC T20 International at the Wanderers in January. After dominating the awards ceremony, KG proved his worth by backing up his 22 wickets in the Test series against England in January with another 15 sticks in Australia.
Faf century against New Zealand
The newly-appointed Proteas captain scored 112 not out in his first full Test as skipper. After replacing the injured AB de Villiers to lead out his side, Du Plessis needed to stake his claim with a good performance and he did so by example with a century which led his side to a series win over the Black Caps. He crushed all criticism of his appointment by captaining his side to a historic ODI whitewash against the Aussies as well as a Test Series win to claim the Proteas’ third-consecutive Test series win in Australia.
Andile Phehlukwayo and David Miller’s partnership
There was some harsh criticism which followed Andile Phehlukwayo’s ODI selection. The 20-year-old scored 42 not out and put on a 107-run seventh-wicket partnership with David Miller to secure a series win in the third ODI against the Baggy Greens. This was the moment which stood out as the Play of the Series and shut up critics who doubted the young all-rounder’s inclusion in the squad. To top his awesome batting display, Phehlukwayo ended the series as the leading wicket-taker, with eight.
Abbott’s Man of the Match awards
Kyle Abbott has been on the fringe of regular selection in both ODIs and Test matches, but the 29-year-old has always played second fiddle to the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander. After Dale Steyn was ruled out of the series due to a shoulder injury in the first Test in Perth, there was an ongoing debate on who should replace the Proteas superstar to lead the bowling attack in the second Test. Morne Morkel and Abbott were the two obvious options. Helped along by his Man of the Match performance in the fourth ODI where he ended with 4-40, Abbott won the race to replace Steyn in Hobart. To the delight of selectors, he picked up a Man of the Match award for his nine wickets which spearheaded the Proteas victory.
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