South African and Chennai Super Kings fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, has credited West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo with playing a pivotal role in his strong start to the 2021 IPL season.

The towering speedster earned widespread plaudits after putting together an extraordinarily economical 3 for 28, in a high-scoring encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

With some 422 runs scored in the match, Ngidi, who was tasked with death bowling duties after replacing Bravo in the line-up, had a solid economy rate of 7.00.  The South African’s skills and variations were on full display after he trapped an attacking Dinesh Karthik with a slower ball dismissal, a delivery that would surely have pleased his West Indian tutor.

“There was a lot of pressure, Bravo has been doing very well for CSK. So, I had to come in and fill his shoes,” Ngidi told the IPL’s official website.

“I have worked very closely with Bravo on the slower bowls at the death. One of the slower bowls he has been teaching me for a long time came off and got us a wicket.”

In the end, CSK won by 18 runs, in no small part thanks to Faf Du Plessis’ brutal, unbeaten 95 from 60 deliveries.  The 37-year-old Bravo was rested for the encounter, due to workload concerns.

 

Faf du Plessis and Deepak Chahar produced fine displays as Chennai Super Kings just held on to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 18 runs in an Indian Premier League thriller.

Super Kings moved top of the IPL table with their third consecutive win, while it is now three straight defeats for KKR, all coming while chasing.

Du Plessis scored 95 not out at Wankhede Stadium as Super Kings set KKR a daunting target of 221.

The South African put on 115 for the opening wicket with Ruturaj Gaikwad (64) and added 50 with Moeen Ali (25), remaining at the crease until the innings ended with the score at 220-3.

Chahar (4-29) took four wickets for the second time in three outings, with KKR's top order crumbling as they fell to 31-5 within the first six overs, though CSK's victory was nowhere near as convincing as it should have been from there.

Some trademark huge hitting from Andre Russell – who smashed 54 from 22 balls with six maximums – gave KKR hope. With much-needed support from Dinesh Karthik (40), he embarked on an extraordinary innings until being bowled behind his legs by Sam Curran (1-58).

Russell had reached his fifty in just 21 balls and was visibly frustrated after his dismissal.

Karthik became only the third player ever – after MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma – to reach 200 IPL games and kept going until Lungi Ngidi trapped him lbw, while Pat Cummins continued the fight, scoring 66 not out for his highest career T20 score.

He racked up six maximums and scored 30 from the 16th over off a bewildered Curran, only to see his hopes of engineering a famous win end when numbers 10 and 11 were both run out in the last two overs.

FAF ON FINE FORM

A tremendous innings from Du Plessis saw him score 13 boundaries, including four sixes.

He came close to a hundred and was on strike with 94 to his name with two balls to go only to hit a single, allowing Ravindra Jadeja to smash a six off the only ball he faced and finish the Chennai innings with a flourish.

Du Plessis' 95 was the second-highest score of IPL 2021 and the highest unbeaten innings.

He now holds the highest average (82) of any player – quite the recovery after going out for a duck in the first match against the Delhi Capitals.

UNWELCOME RUN FOR KKR

KKR have gone two years without reaching the play-offs and their start to the season is not helping their hopes of a return to the top four, with this their fourth loss in five meetings with Super Kings.

With three straight defeats, the last time they lost as many consecutive matches in the IPL was back in 2019, when they had a miserable streak of six. They must halt this current run against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.

Chennai Super Kings made it 12 wins in the past 15 Indian Premier League meetings with Rajasthan Royals as they eased to a 45-run triumph on Monday.

Moeen Ali contributed with both bat and ball as the Super Kings proved far too strong for their opponents at the Wankhede Stadium.

The Royals had prevailed in four of their previous five games at the Mumbai ground - including last time out against Delhi Capitals in a thriller - but fell away badly in reply to Chennai's total of 188-9.

Jos Buttler provided the only innings of note from the top order in the run chase, making 49 from 35 deliveries with five fours and a pair of sixes.

Rajasthan were in contention at 87-2 in their reply, but Buttler's departure - bowled by Ravindra Jadeja - sparked a collapse that saw five wickets fall for eight runs. They finished up on 143-9.

Jadeja finished with 2-28 but fellow spinner Moeen was the pick of the attack, the England all-rounder taking 3-7 from his three overs having earlier made 26 in Chennai's innings.

Faf du Plessis top-scored with 33 as all the top five reached double figures, while the Super Kings demonstrated their strength in depth when Dwayne Bravo made 20 not out from number nine in the order.


Royals run into trouble

Despite a miserable overall record, Rajasthan had won back-to-back matches against Chennai. However, they were unable to equal their longest winning run against them.

Buttler did his best but there was little support from the rest of the top order, the Super Kings' spinners emphatically turning the game in their favour.

All-round balance helps Chennai

Moeen Ali is the only player to reach three figures for runs and also claim a wicket so far in the 2021 IPL season.

His signing by the Super Kings in the auction appears an astute piece of business, particularly as the left-handed batsman has capitalised on his opportunities to bat up the order.

Deepak Chahar produced career-best Indian Premier League figures to inspire Chennai Super Kings to a dominant victory over Punjab Kings.

Making his 50th appearance in the competition, Chahar helped ensure Punjab's innings never got going as they were restricted to 106-8.

He finished with 4-13 from four overs, including one maiden, Punjab never getting to grips with a challenging surface in Mumbai.

Faf du Plessis (36 not out) and Moeen Ali (46) combined for 66 to help CSK ease to their target with 26 balls to spare, winning by six wickets.

Mayank Agarwal went for a two-ball duck to Chahar in the opening over, misjudging a wondrous delivery that pinged the top off-stump.

A direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja saw KL Rahul run out before the West Indian pair of Chris Gayle (10) and Nicholas Pooran (0) each fell to Chahar before the end of the powerplay.

Deepak Hooda tamely chipped to mid-off for Chahar's fourth wicket, leaving Punjab on 26-5 in the seventh over.

Shahrukh Khan's 36-ball 47, which included two sixes, at least made sure Punjab had something to defend, but a lack of support from the lower order meant the target was always one well within CSK's grasp.

Moeen and Du Plessis extinguished any hopes of Punjab claiming an unlikely win, their second-wicket stand allowing the Super Kings to coast to victory despite a 15th-over blitz from Mohammed Shami that saw Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu dismissed.

Chahar makes mark on landmark appearance

Chahar let out a huge roar when he castled Agarwal and he had every right to do so after producing a delivery that nipped away from middle stump to deceive the opener.

The subsequent dismissals owed more to a fine catch from Jadeja to get rid of Gayle and batting errors from Pooran and Hooda, but nothing should be taken away from Chahar after he tilted the game firmly in CSK's favour.

Moeen gets things moving

Moeen and Du Plessis showed Punjab how to bat on the surface with an excellent partnership, the England all-rounder's 46 coming off 31 deliveries, his strike rate of 148.38 the best in the contest.

He recorded seven fours and one maximum, with Du Plessis' sole six coming off a scoop shot in the fourth over. The South African was still in at the end when Sam Curran wrapped things up after a brief wobble.

Brilliant half-centuries openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw inspired Delhi Capitals to an opening seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the India Premier League.

Chennai were asked to bat when Rishabh Pant won the toss and recovered well from the early losses of Faf du Plessis for nought and Ruturaj Gaikwad to post 188-7, Suresh Raina top scoring with 54.

But Dhawan (85) and Shaw (72) scythed into what looked like a daunting chase with a stunning stand of 139 for the first wicket and skipper Pant (15 not out) was there to see the Capitals home with eight deliveries to spare.

Chris Woakes (2-18) and Avesh Khan (2-23) set the tone for Delhi as Chennai slumped to 7-2 and the seamers also returned to fine effect – Avesh persuading veteran captain MS Dhoni to drag on for a duck and Woakes bowling fellow England all-rounder Sam Curran with the final ball of the innings.

Curran plundered 34 from 15 deliveries, including two sixes off brother Tom (1-40), in a breezy effort alongside Ravindra Jadeja (26 not out), their 51-run partnership capitalising upon a rebuilding job impressively helmed by Raina.

The India batsman ploughed Marcus Stoinis over for his fourth maximum to reach 50 off 32 balls and he received useful support from Moeen Ali (36) and Ambati Rayudu (23).

A dire mix-up, during which Jadeja collided with Avesh, saw Raina run out amid a slump of three wickets for 14 runs – a blip that proved costly as Dhawan and Shaw took the Super Kings attack apart.

They motored at around 10-an-over for the majority of their partnership. Shaw had faced only 38 balls, hitting nine fours and three sixes, by the time he skewed Dwayne Bravo (1-38) to Moeen and there was little remaining doubt about the outcome when Dhawan was trapped lbw by Shardul Thakur (2-53).

The Indian Premier League is back on home soil as the 14th season of the Twenty20 tournament begins on Friday.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition was not only delayed until late in the year but also transported away from India, with the United Arab Emirates hosting proceedings.

There was still one constant, however. Mumbai Indians once again came out on top, making it three titles in four years. The reigning champions will take some stopping again this time around, but their rivals will hope some fresh faces can help a different name secure the trophy.

Ahead of a new campaign, Stats Perform News makes use of Opta data to pick out six intriguing players who will hope to make a difference for their franchises in the coming weeks, as well as capitalise on the opportunity to impress with a Twenty20 World Cup to come in India later in 2021.


Kyle Jamieson (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Boom or bust? Bangalore paid a premium in a three-way bidding war to get Jamieson, who became the second-most expensive player purchased at this year's auction, eventually going for 15 crores (around $2million).

The Royal Challengers went all in betting on the potential of a player who, while still in the early stages of his international career, has impressed in all formats for New Zealand. He had played just four T20 games for the Black Caps at the time – and has since endured a tough series against Australia on home soil, during which there was just one wicket at an average of 175.

Jamieson has been one of the top performers for his country in Tests, picking up 36 wickets at a staggering average of 13.27 since his debut against India last year. There have been eye-catching performances at domestic level in T20 outings – he claimed figures of 6-7 for Canterbury.

The pressure will be on to live up to the hefty fee in his first taste of the IPL, while it should help his cause that he can contribute with the bat down the order, too.

Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings)

The numbers do not lie – Malan averages 50.15 in T20 action for England, scoring his runs at a strike-rate of 144.31 runs per 100 balls. His performances have him perched at the top of the ICC batsman rankings, comfortably clear of nearest rival Aaron Finch at the summit.

And yet, for all that the left-hander has achieved, there still remains the odd doubter over his fit in England's XI, particularly as he has often built momentum through an innings, rather than putting the pedal to the floor immediately like so many of his international team-mates.

Still, in the recent series against India, Malan was the third-highest scorer with 148 runs. That tally included 68 in the decider when he showed how he is more than capable of going on the attack from the off.

Despite the impressive numbers, Punjab Kings had no competition to secure Malan's services at the auction. He now joins a franchise who has to deal with a logjam when it comes to top-order batsmen, considering the presence of captain KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle on the roster. 

Moeen Ali (Chennai Super Kings)

The England all-rounder was one of 10 players released by Royal Challengers Bangalore, having featured in only six games in 2020 as the franchise endured yet another disappointing campaign.

However, considering his ball-striking capabilities and capacity to have an impact with the ball, it was hardly surprising to see him find a new home in the auction. Now he is a member of a Chennai Super Kings franchise that has freshened things up after failing to make the play-offs for the first time in their history.

Moeen managed 309 runs and claimed 10 wickets in 2020, posting an economy rate of 7.1 runs per over, but did RCB get the most out of a player whose career IPL strike-rate sits at 158.5 runs per 100 deliveries? The 33-year-old has excelled up the order in the English domestic T20 competition, capitalising on more regular opportunities with two hundreds and 13 half-centuries.

It was perhaps surprising to see him not used in the recent five-match T20 series by England too, considering his off-spin bowling would have added a different dimension to the attack. In T20I games played in India, Moeen has an economy rate of 7.8 runs per over – that is his best in any country where he has played three or more times.

Rahul Tewatia (Rajasthan Royals)

Tewatia had made 20 IPL appearances combined across the previous five seasons before becoming a regular in 2020 with the Royals, who secured the all-rounder via a trade with the Delhi Capitals.

A left-handed batsman who also bowls leg-spin, the 27-year-old had made his debut with the same team back in 2014, then also spent a season with Kings XI Punjab (now rebranded as Punjab Kings) in 2017. However, Tewatia finally fitted in with Rajasthan last year, including claiming 10 wickets in 14 matches while going at a respectable economy rate of 7.08 runs per over.

It was his batting exploits, however, that raised his profile – and one innings in particular against Kings XI. Having laboured to 17 from 23 deliveries in a run chase, he then proceeded to hit six of the next seven he faced over the boundary. The stunning spell of hitting included five maximums in an over off West Indies paceman Sheldon Cottrell, as he helped his team reach a target of 224. 

While picked in India's T20 squad to play against England, Tewatia did not feature in the series. Still, his ball striking – he scored at a strike-rate of 160.3 against pace in the last IPL, with a boundary strike-rate of 19 per cent – could lead to international opportunities in the future.

Shahrukh Khan (Punjab Kings)

To say the IPL auction was a life-changing moment for Shahrukh is an understatement. The 25-year-old batsman eventually went to the big-spending Punjab Kings – who out-bid Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore – for over 50 times his base price, a hefty sum based on his big-hitting potential.

Shahrukh's domestic Twenty20 record is underwhelming, but teams were interested after his exploits for Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, including 40 from just 19 balls in a quarter-final against Himachal Pradesh.

Kings head coach Anil Kumble has been suitably impressed by the new signing during practice sessions ahead of this year's competition, even heaping a little extra pressure on the right-hander's shoulders by saying he sees similarities to Kieron Pollard.

If Shahrukh can translate his domestic results to the IPL stage, it will help balance out a batting line-up that lacked depth, even with KL Rahul finishing as the leading run-scorer in 2020.

Abdul Samad (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

At 19, Samad looks a real prospect in white-ball cricket, having become just the fourth cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to earn an IPL contract when picked up by the Sunrisers in 2020.

A first IPL experience did not have eye-popping numbers in terms of his overall output, finishing with 111 runs in 12 matches. However, a top score of 33 against the Delhi Capitals showcased his talent, including taking 14 runs off three deliveries from South Africa paceman Anrich Nortje.

The right-hander finished up with a strike rate of 170.76 for the season, aided by a boundary strike-rate of 21.5 per cent. 

Hyderabad have tended to front-load their batting line-up, though the absence of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh – the Australian has pulled out of the 2021 season for personal reasons, with opener Jason Roy signed as a replacement – may benefit Samad, if he is given the chance to continue in a middle-order role.

Chris Morris became the most expensive signing in the history of the Indian Premier League as franchises filled out their rosters during Thursday's auction in Chennai. 

Morris was eventually signed by Rajasthan Royals - who he played for in 2015 - following a bidding war that saw four teams battling it out to secure the services of the South African all-rounder. 

His final price finished up at 16.25crore, which equates to around £1.6million, putting him ahead of Yuvraj Singh (16cr) on the list of biggest auction purchases in the global Twenty20 tournament.

"I'm super-stoked, super-humbled to be joining Rajasthan again," Morris said in a video message posted by his new team on Twitter.

"I had an unbelievably good time, and a good season, one of the better times in my cricket career, with Rajasthan in 2015, so I'm unbelievably happy, unbelievably excited.

"We have a very good squad, so joining up with Rajasthan is a very cool experience."

Royal Challengers Bangalore were big spenders in their bid to secure a maiden title this year, getting New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson for 14.25cr (£1.5m) having already signed Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (14cr - £1.4m) for a fraction less than that earlier in proceedings. 

Jhye Richardson also collected a huge deal, snapped up for the same price as compatriot Maxwell by Punjab Kings, who added another Australian paceman to their roster in Riley Meredith, who has yet to play international cricket in any format. 

Having been released by Rajasthan Royals at the start of this year, Steve Smith is now a member of the Delhi Capitals, along with India fast bowler Umesh Yadav and Englishman Sam Billings. 

Moeen Ali saw a considerable rise from his base price, the England all-rounder eventually going for a final sum of £700,000 to Chennai Super Kings. 

While a premium was paid for pace bowling during the auction, the market was a little less frantic for batsmen. 

Dawid Malan – who sits top of the International Cricket Council's batting rankings in the shortest format – will play for Punjab Kings, but English openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy both went unsold. 

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is heading back to the Kolkata Knight Riders for 3.2crore (£315,000), while Krishnappa Gowtham went for 9.25crore (£900,000) to the Super Kings, making him the most expensive uncapped India player ever.

As for Mumbai Indians, the main additions by the two-time defending champions came to their bowling attack as they added Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. 

The 14th edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin during April and run into May. Last year's delayed tournament was staged in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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