South Africa hope their IPL stars will come good against India

NEW DELHI: Just a week back, Gujarat Titans won the 2022 Indian Premier League in style; it was their maiden appearance in the marquee tournament. Hardik Pandya led the team with aplomb, contributing to the winning cause with both bat and ball. There were other key performers like Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Shami, Rahul Tewatia, who time and again rose to the occasion. But one name simply stands out, and that is David Miller.

The South African middle-order batsman won Titans the most number of games (6 in total), and during a chase he was often on top of his game. Batting mostly at number five, Miller ended up becoming the sixth highest run-getter of the tournament; with an average of 68.71 and a strike-rate of 143, he scored 481 runs in 16 matches. Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma now hopes Miller can continue his tremendous form in the upcoming India-South Africa 5-match T20I series, which starts from June 9 with the first match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

“It’s obviously quite pleasing and gives us a lot of confidence to have an in-form and confident David Miller. More so, his performances in the IPL… and as a team, we will be feeding off the confidence and knowledge he will bring in,” Bavuma said. For South Africa, Miller bats at the number six spot, but Bavuma indicated the southpaw may be in for a promotion.

“The conversation has always been there on David going up the order and facing a lot more balls and having the opportunity to be a lot more destructive. He knows where he fits within our team, the role he plays within the team… something he has played quite well. But if the opportunity is there to give David a lot more balls to face, I am sure it will be something that will be considered.”

Quinton de Kock is another South African, who performed brilliantly in the IPL and will now show his wares in the upcoming T20I series. De Kock was third in the list of top run-scorers in the IPL, and scored 508 runs at an average of 36.28 and a strike-rate of 148.97. His runs also included the highest score of the tournament – an unbeaten 140 that De Kock smashed against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Another South African batsman, Aiden Markram also did decently well. Markram, playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad and striking the ball at 139.05, notched up 381 runs at an average of 47.62. Among the bowlers, Kagiso Rabada did what he does every IPL season and finished third in the list of top wicket-takers.

In just 13 games, Rabada scalped 23 wickets at an average of 17.65 with his economy-rate being 8.45. His best of 4/33 came against the eventual champions Gujarat Titans.

“It’s nice to see some of our guys doing well. KG (Kagiso Rabada) is en route to being the quickest to 100 wickets (currently at 99 wickets) in the IPL. That’s something to be proud of. Quinny (Quinton de Kock) showed what a class act he is. And Marco Jansen – how well he has performed. Or Aiden (Markram), or even the younger guys who have shown their ability,” Bavuma said, while talking about his team’s prospects.