The IPL 2021 season has been suspended with immediate effect by the BCCI due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in India. CARL LEWIS reflects on the performance of each South African.
It is a World Cup year, so these performances do count a lot in terms of selection later this year. Here’s a recap of how the South African players performed:
Lungi Ngidi – Chennai Super Kings
Wickets: 5 (SR – 14.4)
Best performance: 3-28 vs KKR
Ngidi has not had a proper run and played only three matches. A natural wicket-taker, he picked up five in his two matches to get his IPL off to a solid start. However, he was very expensive in his last match against MI with Kieron Pollard getting hold of him in a thrilling final over. Besides that match, Ngidi has been solid and his ability to pick up wickets, whether bowling good or bad, is truly a gift.
Faf du Plessis – Chennai Super Kings
Runs: 320 (SR – 145.45)
Best performance: 95* vs KKR
The break from the national team has done wonders for Du Plessis. He has been a star in a resurgent CSK side this season and the basis of their current good form. The former Proteas skipper scored four consecutive 50s and is third in the Orange Cap race. With the T20 World Cup in mind, it’s good to see Faf getting big runs in India. His form will cause a lot of selection headaches in the Proteas T20 top order.
Imran Tahir – Chennai Super Kings
Wickets: 2 (RPO – 4 & SR – 12)
Best performance: 2-16 vs RCB
It does boggle the mind how CSK manage Tahir and how little game time he actually gets. He has played only one match this season, but the 42-year-old’s quality was clear to see. Ravi Jadeja and he bamboozled the RCB batters with Tahir picking up two wickets at an RPO of just four. He could still play international cricket if we are honest.
Chris Morris – Rajasthan Royals
Wickets: 14 (SR – 11.1)
Best performance: 36* vs DC & 4-23 vs KKR
The most expensive player in the IPL auction history has been impressive specifically with ball in hand. Without Jofra Archer, Morris has led the RR attack and is currently second in the Purple Cap race (three behind the leader). Unfortunately, the team have been unable to get the results because their batting is so reliant on individuals and they lack quality outside a handful of international players. There is also a sense that Morris is not being utilised well with the bat. In the one significant innings he played, he made 36 not out and won the match against Delhi Capitals. A player like Morris will always blow hot and cold and that’s why his consistency with the ball has been so impressive.
Quinton de Kock – Mumbai Indians
Runs: 155 (SR – 117)
Best performance: 70* vs RR
It has not been the easiest IPL season for De Kock and he has offered a mixed bag of performances. In his six innings, he has scored under 10 three times and over 30 runs three times as well, but his strike rate of 117 is unusually low for him. His best innings was a match-winning 70 not out against RR and he followed that up with a 38. He seemed to be finding his groove somewhat, but his overall form over the past few months is still of concern to South African fans.
Marco Jansen – Mumbai Indians
Wickets: 2 (RPO – 7.5)
Best performance: 2-26 vs RCB
The 21-year-old was a surprise pick in IPL auction but understandable considering he is a left-arm quick and stands at over two metres. He played in the Mumbai Indians’ first two matches and was impressive in a losing effort on debut against RCB. His final over of the match pointed to a good temperament and ability to handle pressure at the death. Unfortunately, with the bat he got two ducks in the three balls he faced. Positive signs in a South African context, though.
AB de Villiers – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Runs: 207 (SR – 164)
Best performance: 76* vs KKR & 75* vs DC
At 37, de Villiers is still one of the best in the white-ball cricket game (red-ball as well if we are honest) and has highlighted it with three spectacular and entertaining innings in winning causes. I won’t get into the AB de Villiers and Proteas selection debate now, but I will say he is currently South Africa’s best white-ball batter without question.
Kagiso Rabada – Delhi Capitals
Wickets: 8 (RPO – 8.7)
Best performance: 3-36 vs PBKS
By KG’s standard, it’s been a pretty subdued start to the IPL. He is not in the running for the Purple Cap as it stands, but his Delhi Capitals side are on top of the IPL table with KG quietly going about his business. He knows he can peg his game up a level or two but he remains the leader of the DC attack and an important figure for them and, of course, the Proteas.
Anrich Nortje – Delhi Captials
Best performance: –
After missing the start of the IPL because of Covid-19 (which turned out to be a false positive test) the tearaway quick has not made a match XI for DC. This is surprising considering how impactful he was last season but it could be down to the injury to Shreyas Iyer. To replace Iyer, DC have selected Steve Smith in the No 3/anchor role which could be the reason for Nortje’s exclusion.