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High-scoring IPL sees SA batters fly while bowlers battle

High-scoring IPL sees SA batters fly while bowlers battle
Royal Challengers Bangalore's Faf du Plessis (right) plays a shot during his team's Indian Premier League match against Lucknow Super Giants at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on 1 May, 2023. (Photo: Sajjad Hussain / AFP)

There have been more than 30 scores exceeding 200 runs in the IPL so far this season. While the South African batters have cashed in on the run-fest, the bowlers have seen little success.

The round-robin stage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is drawing to a close with most of the 10 teams having played 11 of the 14 games before the knock-out stages and final commence at the end of the month.

T20 cricket is an ever-evolving format, although it is increasingly in favour of bat and not ball — exemplified in the near ludicrous totals scored and chased down so far this season.

There have been 30 scores of 200 or more in the 54 matches played thus far in the IPL. In comparison, there were only 18 scores of 200 or more across IPL 2022.

This season, third-placed Mumbai Indians have chased down three 200 or 200-plus totals.

“I have no idea what a safe score is. The last four games we have seen excess of 200 has been scored,” said Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma after his side chased 199, with three and a half overs to spare, against Faf du Plessis’ Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.

“Most of the teams are taking risks and it is coming off. The batters are taking risks and 200-plus scores are being chased.

“The mindset of the batters is to do something special for the team and it is coming off as well.”

Ferocious Faf

In the same match, Du Plessis struck 65 runs off 41 deliveries — his sixth-half century of the season — to extend his lead atop the run-scoring charts.

The former Proteas skipper has bashed 576 runs — nearly 100 runs more than second-placed Yashasvi Jaiswal of Rajasthan Royals — in 11 innings at an average of 57.6 and a blistering strike rate of 157.8.

But despite his incredible exploits with the willow, the captain’s bowling unit has often let him down as his side is languishing in seventh place on the table and will need to win all of their remaining three matches to have a chance of semi-final qualification.

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Faf du Plessis, IPL

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Faf du Plessis plays a shot during the Indian Premier League Twenty20 match between Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on 20 April, 2023. (Photo: Sajjad Hussain / AFP)

At the top of the log is last season’s champions, Gujarat Titans, who have won eight out of their 11 clashes thus far and are almost assured a semi-final berth.

David Miller has been a spectacular finisher for the table-toppers. The southpaw is yet to register a half-century although his average is 50.25, having only been dismissed four times in his nine innings — carrying his team to the finish line at an impressive rate.

Gujarat Titans' David Miller, IPL

Gujarat Titans’ David Miller plays a shot during the IPL match between Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on 12 April, 2023. (Photo: Arun Sankr / AFP)

At the other end of the table, Aiden Markam’s Sunrisers Hyderabad are fighting off the wooden spoon in ninth position with only four wins. However, wicketkeeper batter Heinrich Klaasen has been a lone shining light for the side.

In seven innings, Klaasen has scored 215 runs at an average of 43 and a strike rate of 185.3 — the highest among batters who have faced at least 100 balls this season.

Klaasen has been particularly ferocious against spin bowling which he has been fed a diet of in the middle overs.

After a steady start to the tournament with the bat, skipper Markram has found it difficult to find the middle of his willow in recent matches. He’s currently averaging a shade over 22.

After sitting on the bench in the first 10 matches for Lucknow Super Giants, Proteas wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock finally got a chance in the middle — after skipper KL Rahul suffered a season-ending injury.

De Kock grabbed the rare opportunity with a thunderous 70-run blitz off 41 deliveries on Sunday in his side’s 56-run loss to the Gujarat Titans on Sunday.

The Super Giants are still in with a shout for a semi-final spot, as they sit in fourth spot. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Heinrich Klaasen, IPL

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot during the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on 21 April, 2023. (Photo: R Satish Babu / AFP)

Bowling machines

While the batters have had a jolly time in the IPL this season, the bowlers have virtually been reduced to bowling machines as the parity between the two main aspects of the sport continue to widen.

South Africa’s fast bowlers have been no exception. Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Marco Jansen has been the country’s most successful bowler in the wicket-taking department with nine scalps in seven outings, although his economy rate is a sliver under 10 an over.

Meanwhile, bottom-ranked Delhi Capitals speedster Anrich Nortje flew back to South Africa from India last week.

“Owing to a personal emergency, Delhi Capitals fast bowler Anrich Nortje had to leave for South Africa late on Friday night,” a Delhi Capitals press release read.

In the eight matches he represented Delhi in this season, Nortje managed to take seven wickets but they came at over 40 runs per wicket as the quick’s economy rate was just under nine.

Nortje’s teammate at Delhi Capitals, Lungi Ngidi is yet to play a match for his side.

South Africa’s premier quick, Kagiso Rabada has been in and out of the Punjab Kings side, who currently sit in eighth place on the table.

Rabada has played four matches and taken five scalps, although his economy rate is equally and, at this stage, expectedly high at 9.75. DM

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