STATS | 4 standout performances from Kingsmead's T20 Challenge

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Reeza Hendricks. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
Reeza Hendricks. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

The T20 Challenge has come and gone with the Lions sealing back-to-back titles by outplaying the Dolphins in a low-scoring final at Kingsmead.

A number of national players took part in the tournament played behind closed doors in Durban.

It came to no surprise when several Proteas stars led the way statistically, as players vie for a spot in Mark Boucher's T20 World Cup squad.

Sport24 takes a look at the four standout performers from this year's T20 Challenge:

The match-winner: Sisanda Magala

Sisanda Magala

Sisanda Magala continues to put his hand up for a national selection after finishing as the leading wicket-taker at the tournament.

The fast bowler ended taking 13 scalps in his six games at an average of 12.84.

The Lions boast a devastating bowling attack as Magala joins Proteas' Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla and Bjorn Fortuin.

Magala cemented his spot in the Lions starting XI during the tournament and grabbed a career-best five for 20 against the Knights.

The 30-year-old has yet to make his international debut but has been on the Proteas radar recently.

Magala was part of the Proteas' T20 squad, which took on against England in February 2020, but was unavailable after failing a fitness test.

While the Proteas might not look to experiment close to a World Cup, Magala has made a strong case for a national call-up.

The comeback star: Zubayr Hamza

Zubayr Hamza

If there was one batsman who needed the runs, it was Zubayr Hamza. 

Hamza, who has played five Tests for the Proteas, has struggled in the middle since cricket's return in November last year.

After relinquishing the Cobras captaincy duties to Tony de Zorzi during the T20 Challenge campaign, Hamza rediscovered his best form as he scored 145 runs in his five games.

Hamza was the only batsman in the tournament to hit two 50s, making a career-high score of 77* and 57 during the tournament.

While selection to the Proteas is presently out of Hamza's reach, he'll be hoping to make more substantial contributions for the Cape Cobras as the franchise goes through a tough period.

There's no word from the Cobras on Hamza's availability for this weekend's resumption of the 4-Day Franchise Series.

In last week's final pool game for the Cobras, Hamza retired hurt with a groin strain against the Lions.

Upcoming talent: Mthiwekhaya Nabe

Mthiwekhaya Nabe (Gallo)

Despite only playing four games in this year's T20 campaign, Warriors seamer Mthiwekhaya Nabe had a clinical performance with the ball in Durban. 

The 25-year-old took 10 wickets as he finished tied for second amongst the highest wicket takers alongside Titans fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.

The Warriors bowling attack was spearheaded by Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje and Nabe had to fight for a place in Robin Peterson's side.

Nabe grabbed every opportunity he was given, including a career-best of 4 for 21 against the Titans.

His performance in Durban echoed his brilliant start to the 2020/21 season as Nabe took 15 wickets in his five 4-Day Franchise Series games he played in.

The final two rounds are set to resume this Sunday.

Mr Consistent: Reeza Hendricks

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 26: Reeza Hendrick

Similar to how the Lions relied on the experience of Neil McKenzie in the past, there is a certain calming presence whenever Reeza Hendricks is at the crease.

Hendricks came into the T20 Challenge with some confidence following his success for the Proteas in last month's T20 series in Pakistan - where he finished as top run-scorer.

The opener dominated at the top for the Lions and he finished as the leading run-scorer, scoring 257 runs in his seven T20 games.

In Sunday's final against the Dolphins, Hendricks' nerve of steel was clinical after he struck 39 off 40 balls to lead a nervous chase that resulted in a four-wicket victory. 

His brilliant start to the season has all but ensured him a place in the Proteas T20 top-order and he'll be hoping to continue his streak against Pakistan next month.

T20 Challenge statistics:

Leading run-scorers:

1. Reeza Hendricks (Lions) - 257 runs in 7 games

2. Temba Bavuma (Lions) - 216 runs in 7 games

3. Rassie van der Dussen (Lions) - 167 runs in 7 games

4. David Miller (Dolphins) - 158 runs in 6 games

5. Pite van Biljon (Knights) - 154 runs in 5 games

Leading bowlers:

1. Sisanda Magala (Lions) - 13 wickets in 6 games

2. Mthiwekhaya Nabe (Warriors) - 10 wickets in 4 games

3. Lungi Ngidi (Titans) - 10 wickets in 5 games

4. Kagiso Rabada (Lions) - 9 wickets in 6 games

5. Robbie Frylinck (Dolphins) - 9 wickets in 6 games

Highest scores:

1. Raynard van Tonder (Knights) - 81* off 57 balls against Warriors

2. Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras) - 77* off 49 balls against Knights

3. Reeza Hendricks (Lions) - 75 off 59 balls against Cobras 

4. Pite van Bijon (Knights) - 72* off 54 balls against Dolphins

5. Rassie van der Dussen (Lions) - 64 off 41 balls against Warriors

Best bowling figures:

1. Sisanda Magala (Lions) - 5 for 20 against Knights

2. Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins) - 4 for 15 against Cobras 

3. Siyabonga Mahima (Cape Cobras) - 4 for 18 against Dolphins

4. Mthiwekhaya Nabe (Warriors) - 4 for 21 against Titans

5. George Linde (Cobras) - 4 for 25 against Warriors

Most sixes

1. Pite van Bijon (Knights) - 9 sixes

2. David Miller (Dolphins) - 8 sixes

2. Temba Bavuma (Lions ) - 8 sixes

2. Reeza Hendricks (Lions) - 8 sixes

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