English County Cricket has been flooded by South Africans looking to make money and gain experience. In the County Championship, the 4 day competition, there have been some great performances. The players mentioned below are in the top 50 for most runs scored and wickets taken in the County Championship Division one.
On the Batting side it’s unsurprising that Dale Benkenstein has scored the second most runs in the season after Mark Ramprekash who has scored 1156 at an average of 89. Dale has made 836 runs with two hundreds and five fifties at an average of 60. Jacques Rudolph is in 8th spot scoring 713 runs with two hundreds and two fifties at n average of 51. Martin van Jaarsveld has 599 runs, averaging 43. Nic Pothas who must be one of the unluckiest keepers around has shown he is no monkey with the bat getting 476 runs so far and averaging 53!!!
On the Bowling side Ryan Mclaren is 8th on the list picking up 31 wickets at average of 25. Dale Steyn has got 23 scalps at an average of 26 as well, but has played 3 games less than Mclaren. Further down the list is Andrew Hall who has got 15 wickets at an average of 41. Interestingly he is just below Chris Tremlett who has been picked for England to face India. Tremlett has picked up 15 wickets at an average of 37 which makes him look on paper as a fairly innocuous player. He is 6ft 7 so that definitely has worked in his favour. Otis Gibson at 38 years old is third on the list behind Mushtaq Ahmed and Naved-ul-Hasan with an average of 26!!! He should have been used to bolster West Indies when they faced England last month!!!
Included in the County Championship Division two Top 50 most runs scored are: Lance Klusener with 687 runs at an average of 49 with two hundreds and three fifties. HD Ackerman has 632 runs an average of 40 and 3 hundreds and 1 fifty to his name. Johan van der Wath sneaked into the top 50 with 321 runs averaging 27 with 3 fifties.
On the bowling side Charl Willoughby is 4th on the list having picked up 40 wickets averaging 27. Ant Botha has got 30 wickets averaging 34 followed by Johan van der Wath on 27 averaging 28. Lance Klusener has 13 wickets averaging 51 Andre Nel has 10 wickets with an average of 39.
There have been some solid performances by the South Africans and many supporters will be wishing that Benkenstein could represent SA and try bring some consistency to their middle order in the test match format. Surprisingly Claude Henderson has not appeared on the list not has Garnet Kruger or Charl Langeveldt all of whom play for Leicestershire.
Durham posted 407 in their first innings against Kent, aided by their Australian opener, Michael Di Venuto scoring 204*runs. Dale Benkenstein only made 2 in the first innings, but made up for it in the second innings making 77* runs. Kent must be enjoying having Ryan Mclaren on board as he picked up 4-91 in 19.5 overs. Andrew Hall went for 48 in 10 without a wicket. He managed to make 42 runs in the first innings. Kent reached 400 in their first innings with captain Robert Key top scoring with 169 runs. Steve Harmison picked up 4 wickets for 75 runs. Martin van Jaarsveld managed only 10 in his innings. Durham managed 319 in 72.5 overs, setting Kent 327 runs to win. Durham managed to get them out in 50.3 overs for 169. Steve Harmison sent out a signal to the selectors as he picked up 5-61 in 19.3 overs, giving him a 9-wicket haul in the match.
Hampshire faced Lancashire, each side managed to bat once in a rain affected game. There were no special performances apart from Stuart Clark from Australia picking up 7 wickets for Hampshire.
Dale Steyn showed that he is becoming a better batsman, making 51 off 46 balls to help Warwickshire reach 326. His bowling wasn’t fantastic, but neither were the rest of his team mates as Surrey cantered to 400-1 declared. Again rain played a role, and Warwickshire were on 5 when the game was drawn. Mark Ramprakash and John Batty made undefeated 100′s, 120 and 154 respectively.
Jacques Rudolph made 129 not out to help Yorkshire post 521, which was way too much for Worcestershire, who folded making 129 and 132, allowing Yorkshire a comprehensive victory, a margain of 260 runs with an innings to spare!!!
HD Ackerman couldn’t continue his form as he made 1 in the first innings and 27 in the second as Leicestershire lost to Derbyshire. Charl Langeveldt picked up 3-64 and 1-40 for Leicestershire.
There must be a bit of controversy about the Northamptonshire vs. Somerset game. Somerset posted 641/6 declared, in reply Northamptonshire got to 400 and declared and were promptly sent back in to bat!! Seems fairly strange. Marcus Trescothick again showed why he is a fantastic player, making 284 in his innings. He has indicated he is not ready for international recall, if England will take him back. Klusener managed to pick up 1-99 whilst van der Wath went wicketless. Klusener made 36 van der Wath got 51 not out, Davey Jacobs opened and made 32 but was out for 3 when Northamptonshire followed on. Jacobs is a player that could break into the South African side in the future, and I predict a good county season for him