Faf’s IPL form raises questions of World Cup absence

The Kolkata Knight Riders won the IPL for a third time on Sunday night. IANS

The Kolkata Knight Riders won the IPL for a third time on Sunday night. IANS

Published May 28, 2024



The 17th edition of the Indian Premier League came to an end with the Kolkata Knight Riders thumping a helpless Sunrisers Hyderabad, who left it until their final match of the season to produce their worst batting display.

The South African duo of Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen were the only Proteas players in action in Sunday’s final and they couldn’t do for Hyderbad what they did for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape earlier this year. Here, we look at the top five South African players in the competition.

Heinrich Klaasen of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. | IANS

Heinrich Klaasen

Klaasen had a tournament of two halves. He made a blistering start – tearing bowling attacks apart – but slowed down during the second half of the season. The 32-year-old ended the tournament as South Africa's top run scorer with 479 runs from 16 matches, striking at 171.07.

The pairing of Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head took a lot of expectations and pressure off Klaasen’s shoulders with their destructive opening stands. Looking ahead to the ICC T20 World Cup, Klaasen will carry South Africa’s hopes with bat in hand.

Faf du Plessis of the Royal Challengers Bengaluru. | IANS

Faf du Plessis

Royal Challengers Bengaluru will have to wait yet another season to break their IPL trophy drought. Du Plessis’ role as captain and in opening the batting was crucial in his side making the play-offs right at the end.

Du Plessis is the second-highest South African run scorer in this year’s tournament with 438 runs in 15 matches, striking at 161.62, further putting a question mark on his exclusion from the World Cup squad.

Tristan Stubbs of the Delhi Capitals. | IANS

Tristan Stubbs

The 23-year-old’s breakthrough season in the IPL outlined his ability to excel in his finishing role. More impressive was the consistency in scores and ability to maintain a strike rate over 190, as he scored 378 runs in 14 matches.

The key for South Africa, and a question they need to have an answer to before the World Cup, is whether to bat him in a position more suited to his style and the role he played at the Delhi Capitals. That might result in him continuing from where he left off in the IPL.

Gerald Coetzee of the Mumbai Indians. | IANS

Gerald Coetzee

In a tournament with a heavy flow of runs, the right-arm fast bowler returned from injury straight into the heat of things and had a decent tournament. The Mumbai Indians had a season to forget, finishing last on the table, and among all the challenges they faced, Coetzee’s ability with the new and old ball were decent enough to earn him 13 wickets at an economy rate of 10.17 for the season. Most importantly, he enjoyed time out in the middle playing competitive cricket.

Kagiso Rabada of the Punjab Kings. | IANS

Kagiso Rabada

The Punjab Kings seam bowler was the second-highest South African wicket taker in the tournament, and even though he would have hoped to have much more impact, his 11 wickets in 11 matches were decent in a tough season for the Punjab outfit that finished second-bottom with only five wins from 14 matches.

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