We take a look at the top performers in this year’s Sunfoil Series, which saw the Knights lift their first title in nine years.
This was his breakthrough season. He was miles ahead on the wicket-takers list, ending with 52 wickets in eight matches. The last time 50 wickets were taken in a season was when Dillon du Preez (55 in 10 matches) led the Knights (then the Eagles) to the title in 2007-08. Monde Zondeki (54) also passed this milestone in the same season. Olivier was remarkable in the Knights’ title siege with an average of 18.13, an economy rate of 3.14 and career-best match figures of 11-149. He also starred in the match which handed the Knights the crown against the Lions, ending with match figures of 6-78 and the Man of the Match award. His partnership with Marchant de Lange (32 wickets, eight matches and average 27.64) was vital in stealing the title away from the Titans on the final day. The 24-year-old’s consistency landed him a Proteas call-up where he carried over his Sunfoil form, picking up 2-19 and 3-38 on his debut.
Theunis De Bruyn
The Knights captain undoubtedly was a vital part of his side’s success. In his first season for the Knights after moving from the Titans, the 24-year-old topped his figures last season (602 runs, 37.62 average, two centuries, one half-century) scoring 751 runs at an average of 57.76, including two centuries and four half-tons. His highest score (182) this season, in the drawn match against the Dolphins in January, was outstanding, but his 72 in their title-winning match against the Lions should get a special mention. Although he made the Proteas Test squad, he has yet to make his debut for the side. Lifting the trophy in his first season as captain should nudge him closer to consideration.
The 26-year-old ended as the fourth-best batsman in the standings and has jumped into the pot of possible recruits for national selection. Adding to the observation that he is the only black-African player in the top 10 on the run-scorers charts, Zondo has performed remarkably this season. He racked up 740 runs (two centuries, five half-centuries) and holds the highest average (67.27) by any batsman this season, showing his remarkable consistency. Along with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (799 runs, 53.26, two centuries, four half-centuries), the pair were vital to keeping together an average season for the Durban-based side, who finished fourth in the overall standings. With Temba Bavuma averaging at 23.08 in his last eight Tests, Zondo’s performances this season may have sparked speculation as Bavuma’s possible replacement.
The 25-year-old was by far the Warriors’ best player. In his side’s dreadful season, which saw them end at the bottom with only two wins and five losses, Ackermann still managed to top score for his side with 883 runs. Ackermann, who has signed a Kolpak contract with Leicestershire this coming season, averaged 51.94, scoring three tons and four fifties this season.
Pretorius, who has been in and out of the ODI team, had a marvellous all-round six-match stint for the Lions who finished in the bottom two. He scored 524 runs (five 50s) and took 20 wickets this season to end third in the Lions’ wickets and runs tally this season.
Shaun von Berg (five matches, 249 runs @ 35.57, one century, 32 wickets @18.93), Simon Harmer (ten matches, 396 runs @33.00, two half-centuries, 43 wickets @36.41 ), Wiaan Mulder (debut season, five matches, 23 [email protected]), Aiden Markram (debut season, 565 runs @51.36, two centuries, two half-centuries), Vaughn van Jaarsveld (799 runs @ 53.26, two centuries, four half-centuries) and Marchant de Lange (32 wickets, eight matches and @ 27.64).