South Africans have mixed fortunes in Indian Premier League
South Africa’s vast IPL contingent has not yet set the pinnacle T20 tournament alight, but limited playing time has not helped the cause.
Several of South Africa’s Indian Premier League (IPL) cohort joined the global tournament late because of commitments to Cricket South Africa and playing a vital One-Day International series against the Netherlands at the start of April.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s South Africans — skipper Aiden Markram, Marco Jansen and Heinrich Klaasen — were all part of the series against the Dutch but are doing well with Sunrisers.
Markram and Jansen have been outstanding with bat and ball, respectively, while Klaasen’s opportunities with the bat have been limited thus far, although he has been typically tidy with the wicketkeeping gloves on.
Other late-arriving South Africans have not been as fortunate as the Hyderabad bunch. Quinton de Kock, who is usually a shoo-in for every team he plays in, has been relegated to the Lucknow Super Giants’ bench for the preliminary rounds of the IPL.
Only four overseas players are allowed in each team on matchday.
West Indian Kyle Mayers occupied De Kock’s spot at the top of the Lucknow order — presumably on a stopgap basis, until the latter’s arrival in the country — but scores of 73 off 38 balls against winless Delhi Capitals and 53 off 22 balls against Chennai Super Kings in the first two matches mean Mayers is temporarily undroppable.
Mayers also offers occasional looping medium-paced deliveries, while De Kock’s wicketkeeping ability is not needed with captain KL Rahul assuming the role.
Kagiso Rabada found himself in a similar position to his compatriot on his arrival at Punjab Kings. Despite his reputation as one of the best fast bowlers in the world, Rabada had to bide his time to get into Punjab’s playing XI.
Australia’s Nathan Ellis took four wickets for 30 in Punjab Kings’ second match of the tournament in their five-run victory over Rajasthan Royals, which guaranteed a few more games for the Aussie fast bowler.
Rabada — the leading wicket-taker in the tournament in 2020 — returned to the team two games later and took one wicket for 36 runs in his side’s six-wicket defeat to reigning champions Gujarat Titans.
The dismissal of Wriddhiman Saha was inconsequential to the result of the match but it did signal Rabada’s 100th IPL wicket, a feat he achieved in only 64 matches — fewer matches than anyone else in the tournament’s history, surpassing Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga, who achieved the landmark in 70 matches.
Having successfully led the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title this year as well as being back in the runs in international cricket for the Proteas, new Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Markram entered the tournament high on confidence.
However, Krunal Pandya clean-bowled the mercurial batter on the very first ball he faced in the tournament in the Sunrisers’ five-wicket loss to Lucknow Super Giants.
But as he’s done so often recently, Markram shrugged off the early disappointment and led his side to back-to-back wins — an eight-wicket win over Punjab Kings and a 23-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.
Markram was instrumental in both wins, carrying his bat with 37 runs off 21 balls against Punjab and a quickfire 50 off 26 balls against Kolkata.
Markram’s teammate Jansen has been in sparkling form with the new ball. The lanky left-hander has taken four wickets in the two matches he has played in, at a strike rate of 10.5 and a tidy economy rate of 7.57.
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis is the only South African in the top 15 run-scorers at the moment. The former Proteas skipper is seventh on the list with 197 runs at a healthy average of 65.67 and an incredible strike rate of 168.38. Du Plessis was not part of the international series against the Dutch and has played every IPL match thus far.
Speedster Anrich Nortje has bowled accurately and ferociously for the Delhi Capitals, who are at the foot of the standings with five losses from five matches.
Nortje has been without any luck in the struggling side though, nailing yorker after yorker at the death but his side’s batting woes have often let him down.
Nortje has picked up two wickets in his four outings in the tournament so far and gone at an economy rate of 9.31 — he often bowls two of the final three overs.
Sisanda Magala was recruited late into this year’s IPL by Chennai Super Kings after New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson had to withdraw due to injury.
Magala looked good in the two matches he played for the MS Dhoni-led team before sustaining an injury of his own — a suspected resplitting of the webbing on his finger — and will be out for two weeks.
Magala claimed neat figures of one wicket for 37 runs in his debut match in Chennai’s seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians.
He bowled only two overs in his next match against Rajasthan Royals, recording figures of no wickets for 14 runs, before he took a skyscraping catch and sustained the injury. DM