Many people know him as Nono, but Zanzima Pongolo will forever be remembered as the owner of the Mzansi Super League’s best bowling figures.
While he was the only bowler who took more than five wickets in an innings, there are other bowlers who rocked the MSL in a way they only could.
1) Zanzima Pongolo – 6/20 for Jozi Stars v Tshwane Spartans – Johannesburg
The Stars’ power-packed batting had rocked the Spartans but Pongolo’s 6/20 in four overs rolled whatever resistance remained in the Spartans teams.
The adage in cricket is to see off the best bowlers and deal with the weaker supporting acts.
Such was the all-round strength of the Stars that there was no such thing after Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier applied the early squeeze.
The Spartans had no answer to Pongolo’s clever changes of pace and the fielding matched his accuracy.
It was six of the best in a performance that further fired the self-belief in the Stars’ camp.
2) Bjorn Fortuin – 4/15 for Paarl Rocks v Cape Town Blitz – Paarl
When pace couldn’t slow down the then high-flying Cape Town Blitz.
Flight, trickery and spin did the trick at a slow Boland Park pitch where Fortuin’s left-arm spin broke the back of the Blitz’s top order batting.
It didn’t seem so at the time as the Blitz lost their first game in five, but their top-order code was cracked and all it needed was a lack of pace and sluggish surfaces.
Fortuin removed Quinton de Kock, Janneman Malan, Andile Phehlukwayo and Farhaan Behardien to help limit the Blitz to 140 all out.
Faf du Plessis and Vaughn van Jaarsveld ensured the start wouldn’t be wasted.
3) Kagiso Rabada – 4/27 for Jozi Stars v Durban Heat – Johannesburg
Before this game, Jozi Stars coach Enoch Nkwe said Rabada was starting to warm up and he was a performance away from marking his tournament territory.
After the Stars had ransacked the Heat when they batted, Rabada’s terrifyingly fast first over accounted for Hashim Amla, Keshav Maharaj and Heinrich Klaasen.
Klaasen was on the receiving end of a stump seeking missile that not only detonated his middle stump, but hardly had time to move his feet, let alone get sight of the ball.
In the first over of their tall chase of 231, the Heat were 4/3 in the first over and what happened in the next 17 overs was purely academic.
4) Anrich Nortje – 4/32 for Cape Town Blitz v Durban Heat – Durban
Fast bowlers have the ability to take a slow pitch out of the equation.
While he was available for the Blitz, Nortje was a menace that batsmen battled to handle.
In the opening game, he softened up AB de Villiers and Rilee Rossouw and Ferisco Adams reaped the rewards with both wickets.
In their next game against the Heat, he dismembered a top-order of Morne van Wyk, Hashim Amla, SJ Erwee and Temba Bavuma before a late recovery by Khaya Zondo and Albie Morkel saw the hosts get to 157.
Then Asif Ali happened for the Blitz.
5) Kyle Abbott – 4/27 for Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans – Durban
Kyle Abbott doesn’t often come on as a second change bowler but when he did in this game, he removed the lower middle-order in a superb spell of slow wicket bowling by a seamer to limit the Spartans to 139.
The Heat chased it down in what became a rain-affected game but as it turned out, it was their only home win of the MSL campaign.
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that a former Dolphin’s player had everything to do with that positive result.