Of the 17 South Africans who started the 2015 Indian Premier League, more than half are heading back to SA following the completion of the group stage. How did the nine Protea dropouts fare?
Seamer Beuran Hendricks only gained selection after the Kings XI Punjab had effectively been ruled out of contention for a play-off berth, and fellow left-armer Mitchell Johnson had returned to Australia. He held his own, albeit belatedly, taking five wickets in four fixtures, and will treasure the consolatory dismissals of big guns David Warner and Eoin Morgan in defeat to the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The hard-hitting David Miller topped the Kings XI Punjab’s run-scoring charts and was, in fact, in 12th position overall at the end of the group stage. A total of 357 in 13 innings proved substantially more than what Miller’s IPL team-mates and Australian recruits Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey and Shaun Marsh scored. The 89 not out off a mere 44 balls blasted against Hyderabad was particularly brutal.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir led the wicket-taking ranks for a substantial period, but eventually slipped down the order, as fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Lasith Malinga gained ground. His selection, too, was deemed unnecessary after the Delhi Daredevils had failed to graduate beyond the group stage. Albie Morkel, meanwhile, played just four games for Delhi and was unable to rekindle the sharp form shown for Chennai across several seasons.
Tasked with the captaincy by coach Gary Kirsten, but unable to oblige expectation by lifting the Daredevils from the very bottom of the standings, as endured in 2014, batsman JP Duminy at least lifted them to the penultimate position. The addition of the captaincy didn’t hamper his primary role with the willow. The inventive left-hander, in fact, finished among the top 10 run-scorers prior to the play-offs.
Kirsten arguably wrapped opener Quinton de Kock in cotton wool in the wake of a tough World Cup, eventually affording him game time after Delhi’s fate was all but sealed. The youngster regained some confidence in India, more or less putting the difficulties experienced in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year behind him with two quickfire half-tons in the three matches.
Belatedly signed by Kolkata, spinner Johan Botha was always going to be behind Bangladesh counterpart Shakib Al Hasan in the pecking order, but performed admirably during Shakib’s hiatus for national duty against Pakistan. Fast bowler Morne Morkel, meanwhile, often carried a Knight Riders attack lacking genuine pace, but eventually eased as the homegrown Umesh Yadav and West Indian Andre Russell found a collective groove.
Pace ace Dale Steyn struggled to find a place in the first-choice Sunrisers XI ahead of New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult for a lengthy period. He eventually played alongside Boult – and later instead of him. At times, neither played. The handling of the Proteas star wreaked of mismanagement, but Cricket South Africa will be glad their kingpin was not over-bowled.
Chennai duo Kyle Abbott and Faf du Plessis, Rajasthan pair Chris Morris and Rusty Theron, Bangalore trio David Wiese, Rilee Rossouw and AB de Villiers and Mumbai recruit Marchant de Lange remain in the competition.
By Jonhenry Wilson