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Cricket | IPL

Saffers shine in IPL league phase

David Miller was the star South African performer during the league phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) but his efforts were not enough to prevent the Kings XI Punjab from missing out on a place in the playoffs.

The league phase of this year’s IPL ended on Sunday with the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and the unfancied Sunrisers Hyderabad ending in the top four positions and a place in the playoffs.

Miller’s Punjab ended in sixth place, four points off a playoff place, but it was not for a lack of effort from the 23-year-old Miller who scored 418 runs in 12 matches at an average of 59.71 and a strike-rate of 164.56.

The highlight of Miller’s competition was undoubtedly his 101 not out against Bangalore but in the last week of the league phase he gave yet another exhibition of his powerful hitting as he smashed 44 not out off a mere 24 balls as Punjab beat the Delhi Daredevils.

Miller was, arguably, the South African who most enhanced his reputation on the international stage after his exploits at this year’s IPL.

AB de Villiers was another South African batsman to impose himself on the IPL with the Proteas’ one-day international captain scoring 360 runs at an average of 36 and a strike-rate of 164.38.

However, De Villiers’s efforts were not enough to help Bangalore into the playoffs with the Royal Challengers ending fifth on the table.

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Dale Steyn was the top South African performer with the ball as the paceman nabbed 18 wickets for Hyderabad at an average of 20.15 while conceding just 5.65 runs to the over.

Steyn proved his worth for his team as he captured 2-24 against the Kolkata Knight Riders as the Sunrisers won the last league match of the season to secure their place in the playoffs.

Jacques Kallis may be 37 years old but he proved that he is still an all-round force as he scored 311 runs and took 16 wickets for Kolkata although his efforts were not enough to prevent the Knight Riders from crashing out of the competition.

All-rounder Chris Morris enjoyed a fine debut season with the ball for Chennai and he justified the $625 000 that Chennai paid for him in the player auction.

Morris ended with 13 wickets for Chennai and established himself as a key component of a powerful Chennai outfit which ended at the top of the table after the league phase of the competition.

Morris and Albie Morkel with Chennai and Steyn, with Hyderabad, are the only South Africans, playing on a regular basis with their franchises, left in the tournament.

Chennai play Mumbai on Tuesday, May 21 for the right to advance straight to the final before Rajasthan and the Sunrisers meet in an elimination match on Wednesday.

The winner of that game will play against the loser of the Chennai-Mumbai clash for the right to play in the final in Kolkata on May 26.


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