Underwhelming IPL for SA

Times Media


DAVID Miller has been fired as captain. Faf du Plessis is out with a shattered finger. Dale Steyn has played only one game.

All of which means this could be the most underwhelming Indian Premier League (IPL) of the lot for South Africans – those playing in the event as well as the rest of us keeping an eye on matters from afar.

On April 19 Miller tweeted, “Game day. Let’s make it two from two.” That was a couple of days after his Kings XI Punjab side beat Rising Pune Supergiants by six wickets to record their first win in the three games they had played.

Alas, for Miller and his men, Kolkata Knight Riders won that April 19 clash by six wickets. A hat-trick of defeats followed, and with that went Miller’s head as captain.

Perhaps team management knew what they were doing. In their first game with Murali Vijay at the helm, against Gujarat Lions on Sunday, Kings XI won by 23 runs with Miller scoring an important 31.

“And so my IPL tournament unfortunately comes to and end,” Faf du Plessis posted on Thursday. “Broken finger and out for six weeks. Thanks India and Rising Pune Supergiants. It’s been fun.”

What would Du Plessis do with his time off, aside from trying to ensure his finger mends in time for SA’s one-day triangular series in the Caribbean next month?

The answer – or some of it, at least – was revealed in another tweet on Saturday. “Experiencing the IPL from a different side of the world …” Du Plessis captioned a photograph of a glass of red wine.

But Du Plessis, finger trouble and all, is not having Steyn’s time of it.

By now Steyn might have bowled as many as 32 overs for Gujarat. Instead he has sent down a tiny two in one match and spent the other seven games on the bench.

Unsurprisingly Steyn’s social media feeds have looked like postcards from the edge of a holiday. “Great dinner and fantastic museum” was one, “Cruising the streets and markets of Pune” another.

So, who is flying the flag for SA?

AB de Villiers was fourth among the leading runscorers going into Monday’s game between his team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and KKR. He had scored three half-centuries in six innings.

Delhi Daredevils’ Chris Morris was the highest placed South African on the wicket-taking charts – come in No. 22. But he was second in terms of economy rate among bowlers with at least 10 overs to their names.

Morne Morkel? Just three games for KKR before yesterday. Quinton de Kock, who scored the first century of this year’s tournament for Delhi against RCB on April 17? Only 15 runs in his next three innings.

But Tabraiz Shamsi, the Titans left-arm wrist spinner who replaced the injured Samuel Badree at RCB, has made an impressive start to his IPL career.

Shamsi has bowled his full quota of overs in all three of his matches and has conceded a respectable 96 runs. Only three wickets have come his way but they are quite some scalps – Ajinkya Rahane, Brendon McCullum and David Warner.

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