Johannesburg — There were some big results in the second weekend of action in the Cricket South Africa 4-Day Series around the country.
IOL Sport’s Stuart Hess looks at who starred, as quite a few Proteas played in the competition.
1 — Dean Elgar has too often recently made batting look like a chore. He has faced world-class bowlers on tricky pitches, so it’s not been easy and on the opening morning against the Knights at SuperSport Park, Gerald Coetzee, who will be on the plane to Australia and Migael Pretorius, who won’t, caused the Proteas captain problems. But gradually as the day wore on, Elgar started to enjoy himself in the middle. There was some friendly bowling after lunch, and Elgar could help himself to his favourite cuts and pulls and occasionally lovely drives as he scored 137, building confidence just a few weeks before the trip Down Under
2 — What precisely is Heinrich Klaasen’s role in the Test squad besides being Kyle Verreynne’s back up? Could he be a starter? He gave interim coach Malibongwe Maketa 292 reasons why he might be a useful addition to a starting XI – alongside Verreynne – lengthening the Proteas’ batting order perhaps. It was a typically power-packed innings, with 39 fours and nine sixes from the 31-year-old.
3 — If Verrynne was feeling any pressure after a tough tour to England, he has clearly shaken it off, having made an excellent start in the four-day series. He scored 87 against the Titans last week, and then a double-hundred in Western Province’s win against the Rocks. It would have been just the tonic for the young wicket-keeper ahead of the tour to Australia. He is a gritty player, the kind of character that will be needed Down Under. The confidence from runs scored now will stand him in good stead next month.
Shout out — Wiaan Mulder, for his unbeaten 117 for the Lions in their win over the Dragons; Diego Rosier of the Warriors, for a brilliant 136 in the second innings, that set up a 69-run win over the Dolphins.
1 — It’s not been an easy start to the season for Sisanda Magala, who missed the T20 Challenge after failing to meet CSA’s now compulsory fitness requirements. In his first match of the season in Potchefstroom, he delivered on the final day, picking up 4/34 in 16 overs. Magala has been successful in the limited-overs formats, but has been a steady performer in the red ball competition too. The Lions will be delighted to have him back especially ahead of this week’s derby with the Titans at the Wanderers
2 — Dane Paterson, remember him? Back at Province after a winter spent playing for Nottinghamshire, the 33-year-old pacer claimed match figures of 6/61 in the win against the Rocks. “Patto” played both of his two Tests against England in the 2019-20 series, and has slipped out of the public’s consciousness following Duanne Olivier’s return last summer. He remains a skilled operator, and the WP attack looks a well-balanced one this season.
3 — Part of the excellent Northern Cape attack last summer, Beyers Swanepoel has taken his talents to the Eastern Cape and the Warriors have benefited from that decision. He led an attack that was robbed of Glenton Stuurman early in the Dolphins innings, and claimed match figures of 7/81 in a stirring come-from-behind victory at St George’s Park. Having delivered in the T20 Challenge, the 24-year-old is certainly one to keep on the radar this season.
Shout outs — Bjorn Fortuin who took six wickets in the match for the Lions in Potch; off-spinner, Simon Harmer took 4/84 for the Titans in the Knights’ second innings in Centurion.