Johannesburg - AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis have enjoyed a stupendous week in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with both men playing pivotal roles in their respective teams going on winning runs.
Du Plessis’ growing maturity on the international stage was evident as he struck two half-centuries for the Chennai Super Kings in consecutive matches as his team moved into fifth position, on eight points, tied with the log-leading Delhi Daredevils but behind on net run-rate.
The 27-year-old Du Plessis struck 58 off 48 balls as the defending champion Chennai beat Pune by 13 runs before he blasted his way to 73 off 53 deliveries in a man-of-the-match performance as the Super Kings beat the Rajasthan Royals by seven-wickets in a last-ball thriller.
What has made Du Plessis’ performances all the more remarkable is that he has been utilised as an opening batsman when South African fans are more used to seeing him bat in the middle-order.
Du Plessis’ move to the top of the order has seen him score 302 runs in seven matches at an average of 43.14.
His strike-rate is a healthy 138.53 and he is the second highest run-scorer in the tournament, an impressive achievement considering that it was felt that he was only playing until Australia’s Mike Hussey joined the team when he finished with his international commitments.
Du Plessis may still be forging his career on the international stage but De Villiers is busy establishing himself as the world’s best batsman. The outrageously talented 28-year-old played a stunning innings as the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Pune Warriors by four wickets in another last ball finish.
Bangalore were chasing 183 to win and Chris Gayle provided the platform with a superb 81 but De Villiers made sure that the Royal Challengers secured the win with an audacious 33 not out off just 14 balls.
His knock included two fours and three sixes and De Villiers has surely made the reverse slog-sweep shot his own. De Villiers followed up his knock against Pune with 52 off 39 balls as Bangalore beat Punjab by five wickets. Despite De Villiers’ heroics Bangalore are second from bottom on the log after three wins and three losses.
David Miller made his IPL debut for Punjab in the game against Bangalore but he had a match to forget as he scored just eight.
Du Plessis and De Villiers may have been setting the world alight with their batting but their Nashua Titans’ team-mate Morne Morkel has been dominating with the ball and his efforts have helped the Delhi Daredevils to the top of the table.
Morkel, with 29 matches of this season’s IPL having been played, is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 15 at an average of 10.8 and, perhaps more importantly, has conceded just 7.04 runs to the over.
Paceman Morkel took 3-23 as Delhi beat Deccan by five wickets. Morkel then took 3-50 against the Pune Warriors but it was not enough to prevent Delhi slipping to a 20-run defeat.
JP Duminy is another South African who enjoyed a good week after he carved his way to 58 off just 26 balls as he made his first appearance of the season for the Deccan Chargers.
Unfortunately for Duminy his innings was not enough to prevent the under-performing Chargers slipping to a last-over defeat at the hands of the Rajasthan Royals.