Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers showed they might just be the tonic for the struggling Proteas T20 team with their brilliant batting in the second week of the Indian Premier League.
The cricketing gifts of AB de Villiers are considered in India to be as sacred as myrrh and the 37-year-old was at his plundering best this week when he slammed 76 not out off just 34 balls for the Bangalore Royal Challengers against the Kolkata Knight Riders, winning the man of the match award. And then nah, the Royal Challengers did not need him to bat in their next match as they thrashed the Rajasthan Royals by 10 wickets.
Faf du Plessis is opening the batting for the Chennai Super Kings and has been building up over the two weeks of the tournament and is now in full flow. After his duck in the opening match, Du Plessis sauntered to 36 not out off 33 balls as Chennai chased just 107 against the Punjab Kings with ease, was then more explosive with his 33 off 17 deliveries versus Rajasthan and then he struck a ferocious 95 not out off just 60 balls to set up victory over Kolkata.
Kagiso Rabada has not been the same wicket-taking force he was last year when he was the IPL’s leading wicket-taker and he has not been particularly economical either. The fast bowler took one for 43 in four overs against Punjab and one for 25 in three overs versus the Mumbai Indians, and now has overall figures of four wickets for 98 runs in 11 overs.
Lungi Ngidi returned to being one of the Chennai Super Kings’ family’s favourite sons when he returned to IPL action this week with outstanding figures of three for 28 in four overs against Kolkata. Two of those wickets, including the scalp of the dangerous Dinesh Karthik for 40 off 24 balls, came in successive overs, the 15th and 17th, as KKR fell 18 runs short in their chase.
Chris Morris, the most expensive player in the IPL auction, bowled well to take two for 33 in four overs against Chennai, but then conceded 38 runs in three overs as Bangalore hammered Rajasthan by 10 wickets. Morris was not able to repeat his heroics with the bat in the first week, scoring a two-ball duck against CSK and 10 off 7 deliveries versus RCB.
Troubles still seem to weigh heavily on Quinton de Kock as he scored a sluggish 40 off 39 balls for Mumbai against Hyderabad Sunrisers and then two off four deliveries versus Delhi Capitals, following his 2 (6) in the first week.
David Miller’s showings in the IPL so far accurately reflect the ins and outs of the middle-order batsman’s lot in T20 cricket. Lauded in the first week for his 62 off 43 balls that set up an unlikely victory for Rajasthan against Delhi, this week he has been out for 2 (5) and 0 (2).
Marco Jansen has not played since appearing and impressing in the Mumbai Indians’ first two games, but the 20-year-old is adding a ton of experience to his resume just being in the defending champions’ camp.
Anrich Nortje and the experienced Imran Tahir are yet to play for the Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings respectively.