Friday, August 14, 2020

CSA: Maharaj makes his mark with MODC leadership

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Keshav Maharaj proved to be a real champion for the Hollywoodbets Dolphins this past season.

Apart from the obvious bowling qualities that have made him South Africa’s number one spinner, the 30-year-old showed leadership attributes that had not so openly been previously displayed.

Thrust into the captaincy role for the Hollywoodbets Dolphins in 50-over cricket, Maharaj lead the Durban-based franchise to outright victory in the Momentum One-Day Cup title for the first time in nearly two decades.

The left-arm spinner was an inspiration for his team, claiming 16 wickets in seven matches and also scoring 107 runs in four innings along the way.

His performances earned him a nomination in the Momentum One-Day Cup Player of the Season category for the 2020 Cricket South Africa (CSA) Awards scheduled for next month.

Maharaj will be up against franchise team-mate and leading batsman Grant Roelofsen, Proteas colleague Zubayr Hamza of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and the competition’s top wicket-taker, Mbulelo Budaza, of the VKB Knights.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable season, in his own words, for Maharaj as he took on the added responsibility of leading the Durban side in his stride.

He was bold and attacking and not shy to try things too, helping the Dolphins to seven out of 10 wins, enough to see them top the table after the round-robin phase, which subsequently proved to be the end of the season after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“The added responsibility of captaincy has helped my game,” he said. “I always wanted to bail the team out of situations, win the game with the bat at the end or give the team a chance to win, so that has helped me.”

Maharaj claimed four wickets twice in games, whilst also grabbing a three-for, all mixed with some handy lower-order runs that included a maiden List-A half century against the Cobras in Cape Town.

Despite only playing seven games, his economy rate (3.79) and average (14.68) was the best in the competition for bowlers who delivered more than 20 overs. His 16 wickets placed him fourth amongst the wicket-takers.

The gala event to honour South Africa’s top performing cricketers from the past year will take place on Saturday, July 4 2020, in a virtual ceremony because of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

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