And the Award goes to…?

Robbie Frylinck – Old Warhorse

Just when you thought things were returning to normal – BOOM – Omicron! Fans, vaccinated ones, were looking forward to packing their cooler boxes, heading off to Supersport Park, the Bullring and Newlands, to watch the Proteas take on India in a three-match test series, but then the next variant of the Covid virus hit us.

The last two years has taken its toll on both athletes and fans alike with various sporting events being cancelled or postponed, like the next edition of South Africa’s flagship T20 tournament the Mzansi Super League, while the 4-Day Series has been put on ice after four rounds of play.

The Momentum One Day Cup (MODC), played at the beginning of the year, was shortened and played in a biosphere to make the competition viable. And then even the weather didn’t play its part as the Lions and Dolphins had to share the spoils after two failed attempts to complete the final.

So this year, we have decided to create an Oscar-style awards platform, celebrating what feats could actually take place. And the Crick-Oscar goes to…

Team of the Year – Imperial Lions

Having shared the Momentum One Day Cup with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins and finishing 2021 as unbeaten leaders in the 4-Day Series, the Imperial Lions take this award hands down.

The Lions, coached by the 34-year old Wandile Gwavu, lost just once in the One Day Cup and won four from four in the first class tournament. If anything, who can stop them from roaring to more trophies in the coming years.

Result of the Year – Lions down Warriors in the Windy City

Who knew that scoring 170 in the first innings would hand you an innings and 20-run victory? Well, that is what happened at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth in November. Having won the toss and electing to bat first, the Warriors were bundled out for just 96 as Lutho Sipamla claimed 6-34 in 17 overs.

The Lions, in reply, were teetering on 115 for seven before a match-winning stand of 54 between Sisanda Magala (34) and Malusi Siboto (25) handed the first-innings advantage to the defending champions. Marco Jansen also claimed 6-38 as the Lions were eventually dismissed for 170, a lead of 74. However, Magala was again chief-destroyer, claiming 6-30 (a match-haul of 12-64) to utterly destroy the Warriors in their own backyard, dismissing them for just 54 in 34.1 overs to clinch victory.

Selection of the Year – Duanne Olivier

Gwavu has really galvanized the Lions into a well-drilled unit, but the move of Duanne Olivier from the Itec Knights to the Lions proved a master-stroke. Olivier, who had left the South African shores to take up a Kolpak contract with Yorkshire, returned once the Kolpak deals had been ended due to Brexit.

His move to the Lions provided the perfect platform for his return to the Proteas setup, with the right-arm fast bowler claiming 28 wickets in four matches at a staggering average of just 11.14, taking a wicket every 23.1 deliveries.

Best Performance of the Year – Janneman Malan

Magala’s exploits with the ball against the Warriors almost clinched this but this award goes to Boland’s (and Cape Cobras) Malan. The right-handed opener’s exploits in a curtailed season has been nothing short of brilliant.

Despite the Cobras not making the final of the MODC, Malan was top of the charts, having scored 232 runs in four innings at an average of 77.33 and a healthy strike-rate of 81.4 and also accruing three half-centuries and a top-score of 95.

Malan notched up 283 runs in the 4-Day series in just three matches at an average of 70.75 although this was heavily influenced by his top-score of 200 not out for Boland against the Knights in Bloemfontein.

Worst Performance of the Year – Marques Ackerman

The Warriors could easily have claimed this award for their paltry batting performance against the Lions, but we cannot give out all the awards to the same teams from the same match. This time around, the Dolphins’ captain, Marques Ackerman took the award.

The 25-year old Johannesburg-born left-hander, claimed the award for his batting efforts – or lack thereof. Ackerman did score 123 in his last 4-Day Series match against North West in Potchefstroom but considering that his other scores of 5, 8, 0 and 2 did not go down well from someone who averages 45.2 with the bat in first class cricket. But the young St Stithians lad should just take this award on the chin because he has the talent to take Malan’s award away.

Old Player of the Year – Robbie Frylinck

If ever an old horse kept on going, well then look no further than Robbie Frylinck from the Dolphins. Frylinck, who played three T20 internationals for the Proteas, taking five wickets, is known for his big-hitting exploits and nagging medium-paced bowling.

Frylinck’s experience made him one of the most economical bowlers in the MODC this year, claiming six wickets at an average of just 18.83 but more importantly, conceded his runs at just 3.29 per over. Only two other bowlers managed this feat (for bowlers bowling more than 20 overs), being Aaron Phangiso (27-1-99-5) and Malusi Siboto (27-1-103-4).

Frylinck’s exploits with the bat were useful too in helping the Durban-side reach the final and sharing the spoils with the Lions. The burly right-handed batsman averaged 43 with the bat, striking the ball at 113.5 per 100 balls, being the only batsman to have a strike-rate of over 100 for batsmen who scored more than 50 runs.

Most Unexpected Event of the Year – Hashim Amla

With Cricket South Africa (CSA) restructuring the domestic scene, changing from franchise cricket back to a provincial setup, Hashim Amla was named in the Six Gun Grill Western Province squad for the new season. But then on 14 September 2021, WP CEO Michael Canterbury announced that Amla would not be returning to domestic cricket.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing,” said Canterbury in a press statement. “He would have been a huge asset to the team on and off the field, especially working with the group of talented young batsmen we have at our disposal,” said Canterbury.

No reasons were given for his turnabout, with Amla just stating “I want to thank Western Province for their open communication throughout the entire contracting process. I have made this decision based on where I am currently in my career and with a view to my future endeavors.”

Well, Amla has been a great servant to cricket in general in South Africa and I am sure we can forgive one of the best batsman to ever come from our shores.

Administrator of the Year – Cricket South Africa **

Surprised much? Perhaps the award should have been “Administrators of the Year”…

The head honchos at CSA have stumbled from one bad decision to the next over the last few years. If we were to actually list every single one of those faux-pas’ then well, we would need to create an special Supersport series called “The Tumbles and Stumbles of CSA” – perhaps an M-Net series could follow?

The biggest rift did not come at domestic level but on the international scene when moments before a T20 World Cup match against the West Indies, the CSA board instructed wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to abandon his own style of support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and “take the knee”. The poorly timed instruction from the CSA board resulted in De Kock withdrawing from the match.

Way to go CSA, another feather in your administration hat!

Quirk of the Year – Western Province

I remember as a child going to Voortrekker Park in Roodepoort and watching club cricket. Many a time I would shout from the side lines “you’ll never get him out!”.

Well, that is how Zubayr Hamza must have felt in their match against the Multiply Titans at Newlands in the 4-Day Series match. The Titans amassed 647 for seven declared on their way to an innings and 139-run victory with Hamza utilizing no less than eight bowlers in trying to limit the damage Neil Brand’s charges were doing.

The only players not to have a bowl was Hamza himself, wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne and opener Daniel Smith. The slow left-arm orthodox bowling of Kyle Simmonds resulted in the most runs conceded in an innings to date this season, 151 runs in 47 overs, although the 27-year old did land up with three wickets.

Basheer Walters also conceded more than 100 runs (103 in 33 overs) while Kieran Kenny (97) and Yves Kamanzi (90) almost breached the un-magical mark. The Titans managed four centurions in the match, with Grant Mokoena (154), Dean Elgar (117) and Jiveshan Pillay (113 not out) stamping their mark on the match. But most interestingly, Aya Gqamane notched up an unbeaten 117 batting at No 9 – that is how frustrating Hamza’s day must have been.

*First published on SuperSport.com
**”Administrator of the Year” not published by Supersport…

Comment – I feel that the SuperSport team fear for retribution from the new powers at Cricket South Africa or perhaps not wanting to entertain the whole BLM saga that enveloped De Kock and the team alike. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little tongue-in-cheek piece.

Author: Brendon

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