SA superstars look to light up IPL ahead of T20 World Cup

KAGISO Rabada bowls during the IPL 2023 match between Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals. | IANS

KAGISO Rabada bowls during the IPL 2023 match between Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals. | IANS

Published Mar 23, 2024


THE Indian Premier League is upon us again.

Cricket’s biggest show attracts superstars from all over the world and is the one tournament where players look to shine before a global audience.

This year’s tournament will have even greater significance with the T20 World Cup set to be staged in the Caribbean and United States of America later this year.

Independent Newspapers takes a look at the South Africans looking to make an impact.

1. Kagiso Rabada – Punjab Kings

“KG” is an IPL superstar with 106 wickets in 69 matches at an average of 20.06. But the Proteas spearhead enters the 2024 tournament in uncertain fashion after not being a regular in the starting XI for the first time last season. Having originally arrived late at the tournament due to helping the Proteas assure World Cup qualification, Nathan Ellis performed admirably in Rabada’s absence and subsequently held on to his place. Rabada is a proud individual and will be determined to get back into the Kings’ XI.

2. Anrich Nortje – Delhi Capitals

The Capitals – and the Proteas – will be breathing a sigh of relief that Nortje is back on the park after not playing since being ruled out through injury last October. The Uitenhage Express has proved his fitness in a couple of domestic T20 matches since for the Warriors. At his best, Nortje is a genuine match winner and hopefully as the tournament progresses can work his way back up to the speeds we all know he is capable of.

3. Faf du Plessis – Royal Challengers Bangalore

Du Plessis has been a stand-out performer in the IPL for over a decade and showed last season that he remains a force to be reckoned with as he amassed 730 runs at an average of 56 for RCB. However, heading into his 40th year, Du Plessis is showing signs of weariness as he is working his way back from injury. He still desperately wants to play in this year’s T20 World Cup though, and knows a good IPL is probably his last chance of forcing Proteas coach Rob Walter’s hand.

4. David Miller – Gujarat Titans

An IPL winner two years ago, Miller is a major part of the Titans line-up. He will play an even bigger role now that former captain Hardik Pandya has moved back to Mumbai Indians.

5. Aiden Markram – Sunrisers Hyderabad

Markram is fresh off leading the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to back-to-back SA20 titles. But this was not enough for him to hold on to the leadership reins at Sunrisers Hyderabad, with Australian skipper Pat Cummins taking over for the new season. Hopefully being freed off the responsibility will lead to Markram being able to express himself with the bat.

6. Heinrich Klaasen – Sunrisers Hyderabad

Arguably the No 1 T20 middle-order batter in the world, Klaasen has been in supreme form the past two years. He now also boasts a maiden IPL century and will take that form into what is hopefully another successful season for the master blaster.

7. Quinton de Kock – Lucknow Super Giants

Having retired now from ODI cricket along with Test cricket, De Kock’s primary focus is now the shortest format. However, he has not delivered the expected results since, with a quiet Big Bash in Australia followed by another poor stint in the SA20 for Durban’s Super Giants. De Kock needs a big IPL to convince Walter that he still has the motivation to go to the T20 World Cup in the US and Caribbean later this year.

7. Marco Jansen – Sunrisers Hyderabad

A blue-chip all-rounder who bowls left-arm seam in excess of 140km/h and hits a very long ball. Any T20 side would bend over backwards to get Jansen into their starting XI, although Jansen may face a challenge this season at Sunrisers with the arrival of the Aussie skipper Cummins. The youngster is pure gold dust though should he be used correctly.

8. Gerald Coetzee – Mumbai Indians

Another rising Proteas star, Coetzee was snapped up by Mumbai Indians for a hefty sum at the auction. Unfortunately, the fast bowler has not played since the Boxing Day Test against India due to injury – thereby missing the entire SA20 – and will only make his comeback at the IPL. Big things are expected from Coetzee after he finished as the Proteas’ leading wicket-taker at the 50-overs World Cup in India.

9. Dewald Brevis – Mumbai Indians

The golden boy of South African cricket’s lights have dimmed in the last while, after a quiet SA20 Season two. He will be determined, though, to force his way into the MI starting XI, especially as he is still regarded very highly in the Mumbai camp.

10. Rilee Rossouw – Punjab Kings

The veteran left-hander has been more miss than hit in recent times. And that could affect his chances of going to the T20 World Cup. However, Rossouw remains an X-factor player who can win matches single-handedly, which is why Punjab Kings broke the bank for him.

11. Tristan Stubbs – Delhi Capitals

The brightest young batting talent in the country across all formats, Stubbs has moved away from just being viewed as a slogger at the backend of a T20 innings. Over the past few months, Stubbs has made a Test debut, finished as the championship-winning Sunrisers leading run-scorer in the SA20, and struck an undefeated triple century in first-class cricket. He will be desperate to continue this form at the IPL if afforded the opportunity.

12. Nandre Burger – Rajasthan Royals

The wildcard in the Royals squad, the left-arm seamer has been delivering thunderbolts for Western Province and Joburg Super Kings this past season. It led to international debuts across all three formats for the Proteas within the space of 10 days. It will be his first visit to India.

13. Donovan Ferreira – Rajasthan Royals

Ferreira is another young South African prospect hoping to make an impact at the Royals. Having also had his first taste of international cricket last year, Ferreira will be hoping for an opportunity to showcase his big-hitting ability.

14. Kwena Maphaka – Mumbai Indians

Last, but definitely not least, is teenage pace sensation Maphaka. The star of the recent ICC U19 World Cup held in South Africa, Maphaka has shown maturity beyond his 17 years. The left-armer has pace to burn and an unerring yorker. He will love the environment at Mumbai Indians and come back stronger for it.