Proteas hog IPL afterglow
Cape Town - South African household names emerged from the 2012 Indian Premier League “in the money” and in some cases also with laurels to place in their cabinets.
Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis was the big winner in team terms, playing an influential role with both bat and ball as his Kolkata Knight Riders team beat hosts the Chennai Super Kings by five wickets with two balls remaining in the final on Sunday.
Kolkata gleefully banked the prize money of $2 million (almost R17 million) for the winning team.
Kallis struck a forceful 69 off 49 deliveries in the successful run chase against compatriot Albie Morkel’s CSK side, and was also one of the more economical bowlers for his outfit in the high-scoring showpiece.
Afterwards popular Australian pace bowler Brett Lee hailed Kallis as “best cricketer in the world”, which is rare praise for a South African from Down Under.
Kallis also ended as best-placed South African in the tournament “most runs” column, 11th with 409 at an average of 25.56.
Nobody came close to matching the feat by the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle, who lashed an amazing 733 runs at 61.08.
Faf du Plessis was just behind Kallis in terms of most productive South Africans - 13th with 398 runs at 33.16.
Morne Morkel of the Delhi Daredevils clung on to earn the IPL’s purple cap for leading wicket-taker, despite a baffling decision not to play him in their last qualifier - he ended with 25 scalps at 18.12 (economy rate 7.19), just ahead of Trinidadian off-spinner Sunil Narine (24 at 13.50 for the Kolkata Knight Riders).
Dale Steyn was sixth on the list, managing 18 wickets at 15.83 and especially commendable economy of 6.10 - he was responsible for some of the most venomous mini-spells of the tournament.
Kallis ended 13th with 15 wickets at 26.86 and economy rate of 7.46.
There was further glory for Proteas stars, as AB de Villiers clinched the Volkswagen Individual Performance award for his hurricane knock of 47 off only 17 deliveries against Steyn’s Deccan Chargers.
In a tweet afterwards, the wicketkeeper/batsman said: “I’m lost for words. Thanks to every soul who voted for me to win this award.”
Considering that several South Africans shone so brightly in IPL 2012, it seems to bode pretty well for the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in reasonably similar conditions in Sri Lanka later in the year.