How Proteas’ bowlers compare to red-hot batters ahead of T20 World Cup

The Proteas will be hoping that Anrich Nortje can find some rhythm ahead of the T20 World Cup which starts in June. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

The Proteas will be hoping that Anrich Nortje can find some rhythm ahead of the T20 World Cup which starts in June. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Published Apr 17, 2024


The batters have feasted in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL), with South Africa’s top batsmen also making frequent visits to the buffet table on the flat pitches and small grounds.

There have been a few record scores, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad going berserk. They have recorded a 277/3 and a 287/3.

Remarkably, their opponents almost chased down the runs in those matches, with the Royal Challengers Bangalore coming within 25 runs of the 287 and the Mumbai Indians scoring 246 in reply to the 277.

While Australian Travis Head has been the Sunrisers’ best batsmen, it’s been the efforts of South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen at the back end that has helped them pump opposition bowling line-ups.

— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 16, 2024

The Proteas’ red-haired basher has been in unbelievable form over the last two years, shining at the 50-over World Cup in India for the Proteas and delivering for the Durban Super Giants in the recent SA20 League in South Africa.

Klaasen has scored 253 runs, including three half-centuries, at an average of 63.25 at a strike rate of just under 200. His highest score of 80 not out against the Indians came off just 34 balls.

But it’s not only Klassen who is firing in the IPL. His teammate Aiden Markram is also in good touch, but is currently being overshadowed by the young Tristan Stubbs, who seems to have found a way of dealing with the weight of expectation.

Delhi Capitals' Shai Hope and Tristan Stubbs celebrate after their win against Lucknow Super Giants at the end of Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match in the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Picture: Noah Seelam/AFP

Stubbs is also averaging 63, while batting at a strike rate of 190.90.

Finisher David Miller has only played three matches, but even he has a half-century to his name and is striking at almost 150.

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, who has an outside chance of making the World Cup in the West Indies and United States, is also playing well, while Quinton de Kock also has a 81 to his name this season.

So in that department, the Proteas have the power to make a big impact at the World Cup.

But how do the bowlers compare ahead of of the Proteas’ World Cup opener against Sri Lanka on June 3 in New York?

All bowlers have come in for some tap in this year’s IPL, but the biggest concern for the Proteas will be the form of speedster Anrich Nortje, who only recently returned from injury to play in the IPL after missing the World Cup and the SA20.

Nortjie has taken six wickets in four matches, but he has been very expensive, going at over 13 runs an over during the competition.

At his best Nortje brings that genuine pace element to the Proteas’ effort, which is a big weapon in T20 cricket.

Punjab Kings' Kagiso Rabada delivers a ball during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Stadium in Mohali on March 23, 2024. Picture: Sajjad HUSSAIN/AFP

But South Africa has no shortage of pace bowling either, with Kagiso Rabada looking like he has regained his best form after a rather ordinary SA20 campaign.

The Proteas’ spearhead has nine wickets at an average of 22 and is going at less than eight runs to the over.

Gerald Coetzee has also picked up nine wickets, but has gone for over 10-runs an over. However, that is the nature of the big quick, as he is an out and out attacking bowler.

Rookie Nandre Burger has also had a satisfactory tournament so far, with the left-arm quick picking up six wickets in four matches at an economy rate of 8.85.

In the spin department, Keshav Maharaj has only played two matches, but boast an economy rate of 6.50, one of the lowest in the tournament.

The Proteas’ Tabraiz Shamsi, though, has been short of wickets back home in the domestic CSA T20 competition, but will be an important member of the team once the World Cup starts.