South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk and Lizelle Lee win big at Wisden 2021 Awards

In the 2022 edition of the Wisden Almanack, South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk and Lizelle Lee won prestigious awards. While the Proteas captain van Niekerk bagged the “Cricketer of the Year” alongside four male cricketers, the destructive opening batter Lee clinched the “Leading Woman Cricketer in the World” award.


South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk and Lizelle Lee win big at Wisden 2021 Awards. PC: Getty Images
South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk and Lizelle Lee win big at Wisden 2021 Awards. PC: Getty Images


Dane van Niekerk had a great run in 2021 as a captain as she led her side Oval Invincibles to the championship in the inaugural edition of the Hundred that was played in England. The right-handed batter was the leading run-getter in the tournament with 259 runs at an average of 43 and strike rate of 106. She hit a couple of half-centuries and had the best score of 67 not out. She smashed 32 boundaries and two sixes in nine innings. With the ball, she claimed eight wickets at an average of 20, bowling right arm leg spin. The all-rounder won the Most Valuable Player award, thanks to her noteworthy contributions with both bat and ball during the tournament.

On the other hand, Lizelle Lee had a prolific year with the bat for South Africa in 2021. The right handed opening batter muscled 632 runs in 11 ODI innings at a breathtaking average of 90. In the process, she hit a century and five half-centuries. The 11 ODIs were spread across three bilateral series. Lee scored 96 runs in a three-match series against Pakistan at home. The Pakistan series was followed by a four match series in India, in which she plundered 288 runs, including one century and a couple of half-centuries. She also registered her career best score of 132 not out in the third ODI of the India series. Finally, there was a four match West Indies series away from home, in which she muscled 248 runs, including two half centuries and the best of 91 not out.

Before Lee, the other cricketer who have won the “Leading Woman Cricketer in the World” award are Meg Lanning (2014), Suzie Bates (2015), Ellyse Perry (2016), Mithali Raj (2017), Smriti Mandhana (2018), Ellyse Perry (2019) and Beth Mooney (2020).

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I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.

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