Dean Elgar The Titan Of The Year

Dean Elgar, one of South Africa’s ultimately evolved cricketers, received the Titans’ highest accolade when he was named cricketer of the year at a five-star function at the Momentum head-office in Centurion on Monday 23rd March.  He claimed a hat-trick of trophies.  The 27-year old South African stalwart was also a popular winner as The Unlimited Titans Players’ Player of the Year and the Limited overs -cricketer of the year.

Elgar beat the highly rated South African all-rounder David Wiese to the crown as the Titans’ player of the year.  Wiese powered South Africa to a 69-run win in the third T20-International against the West Indies with his superb five for 23.  The hard-hitting lower-order batsman also blitzed an extraordinary 71 off 33 balls to set up the semi-final win against the Dolphins in the Momentum One Day competition.

The 29-year old Wiese was a popular choice as the Fans’ player of the year.  Wiese, who take three for 21 against Australia in November in a T20-blockbuster in Sydney, has become a talismanic member of the Titans team with his intelligence change of pace and assault of the boundary ropes.  His 273 runs in the One Day Cup competition were produced at an astonishing average of 91.

He also bagged seven limited-overs wickets.  Elgar started off his Ram Slam T20 Challenge with a swashbuckling 72 off 48 balls against the Cape Cobras and finished the competition with 213 runs at an average of 108.67.  He underlined his credentials of a cricketer of international potential in all three formats.

The defiant left-hander pounded the boundary ropes with an extraordinary assault in the One Day Cup match against the Chevrolet Knights in Kimberley.  He blasted 98 off 45 balls, including six sixes.  During the second half of the competition that saw Titans romp to the One Day Cup title in emphatic fashion, Elgar consistently excelled with the bat in the seminal moments.

He registered successive centuries in the semi-final and the final.  His 100 off 119 deliveries in the final was a critical factor.  He featured in a 195-run partnership with Albie Morkel which proved to be the match-defining stand.

He finished the One Day Cup competition with 448 runs at an average of 48.88.   Titans CEO Jacques Faul said:  ‘Dean proved to all and sundry that he can bat in any gear and that he could feature in all three formats with equal aplomb.  Already an established player in the South African test team, he has renewed his claims for selection in the South African team in the limited overs-competitions this season.  His exciting repertoire of attacking strokes in the limited formats has laid to rest the wrong assumptions about him being a four-day of five-day specialist only.  He is one of the ultimately evolved cricketers in South Africa.’  Elgar also scooped up the Players’ Player of the Year award.

He achieved a hat-trick of accolades by staving off the challenges of Albie Morkel and Theunis De Bruyn in the category as Titans one-day player of the year.  Morkel made several crucial match-defining contributions in the domestic 50-over competition.  None was as impressive as his unbeaten 134 in the final at Newlands, which powered the Titans to the title.

He managed that against the odds, as a painful side strain forced him to operate from a limited run-up.  Morkel scored 280 runs at an average of 93.33 in the one day cup competition.  De Bruyn, in his maiden One Day Cup competition, struck an extraordinary 543 runs, including a match-winning unbeaten 152 against the Warriors.  22-year old right-hander notched up an unbeaten double century in his South Africa A-debut and emulated his three-figure feat in his second match against the England Lions.

The former South African Under-19-player was a revelation for the Titans in all three formats.  Despite missing out in the category as one-day player of the year, he is a popular choice as newcomer of the year.  Junior Dala, shortlisted for the same award, generated pace and unnerved opponents with his bounce and hostility.  He nabbed out nine wickets in seven matches in the 50-over format, with three for 35 his best attempt.

Dala impressed in the role of strike bowler, hurrying up the top-order.  In a 12-run win against the bizhub Highveld Lions (according to the Duckworth/Lewis-method) in Benoni, Dala also excelled in the role of death bowler in tandem with JP De Villiers.  Roelof Van Der Merwe was named first-class player of the year.

He notched up a double century against the Warriors and two other tons which bolstered Titans’ surge for massive first-innings scores.  Although the domestic first-class competition is still in progress, Van Der Merwe hammered 668 runs in the first eight games.  He edged two other major contenders, Heino Kuhn and Rowan Richards, for the award.

Richards produced one of the sensational moments of the competition with a hat-trick against the Warriors in Benoni.  His 5/31 set up a 170-run win.  The left-arm swing bowler also nabbed five for 38 in an innings against the Knights.

His improved control and swing both ways made him a constant performer for the Titans.  A highlight of Kuhn’s successful first-class season was his 244 in 515 minutes of stonewalling against the Highveld Lions.  He was a cocoon of concentration in setting up the Titans’ extraordinary 550/5 in Benoni.

Henry Davids was a popular choice as the Titans T20-player of the year.  He scored 385 runs in the T20 Challenge, finishing second only to Richard Levi in terms of runs scored in the domestic T20-competition, and averaged 38.50.  In the opening match of the competition, he and Elgar added 151 runs in 14.5 overs to set up a pulsating chase against the  Cape Cobras.

Wiese and Elgar were the other nominations for the T20-award.

Photo: Dean Elgar
Photo credit: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images