Moments of The Day: Positive Faf-Gaikwad Shine Light On Warner-Pandey’s Conservative Approach
Here are my moments of today:
David Warner & Manish Pandey once SRH’s strength are now the weakness. For once we will not be talking about Manish Pandey’s slow going. After being dropped from the SRH XI, he came back with a relatively positive 35-ball 50. On the other hand, sluggish 57 (55) by David Warner was the difference between the two sides. In his own words, “I batted slow…I take full responsibility…I took too many balls.” At the end of the day, a 106 (87) partnership should not be losing you too many games.
Kane Williamson’s finishing skills comes to the forefront. After SRH’s slow approach, Williamson began his famous rescue act. With four 4s & one six, he ended up with 26*(10) and received some good support from Kedar Jadhav, who hit 12* (4) with one six. 37 runs were scored in the last 13 balls to lift SRH to 171, but unfortunately it was too little, too late.
Ruturaj Gaikwad & Faf du Plessis are key to CSK’s revival. Gaikwad now has had 6 innings of note in his short IPL career. He was going neck and neck with Faf at one point, but when the spin duo Suchith-Rashid arrived, Gaikwad went berserk, ending with a score of 75 including 12 classic fours. Faf is enjoying a second wind after retiring from Test cricket and relieving South African captaincy. Mr. Ultra Consistent, he has been diving around the field and has now become the Orange Cap holder in IPL 2021. With scores of 0, 36*, 33, 95*, 50, 56, Faf just keeps on getting better.
Highlight of the Day
The best part of their fifties was the celebration from the dugout. Everyone stood up with Robin Uthappa (who may not get a game if Gaikwad keeps on going well) clapping with a smile and the best of the lot – whistles from Deepak Chahar. CSK’s team spirit is growing game by game and are slowly approaching unstoppable status.
Honorable Mention: Rashid Khan expensive but among the wickets; Lungi Ngidi’s 2 wickets; Faf’s catch & boundary riding
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: Sunrisers Hyderabad Bench
While Pandey & Warner were stitching singles in the middle overs, I could not help but wonder how Jason Roy, Mohammad Nabi, & Jason Holder would go about in the situation. In my pre-tournament previews, I had SRH in my top 4 due to their flexibility and bench strength. Yet, they have not been able to figure out their balance. It is time that Warner rests himself for a couple of games, Williamson take on the captaincy mantle, & SRH unleashes the Roy-Bairstow opening combination.
In the last game, Warner implied that he did not know why Pandey was dropped for Virat Singh, and today he questioned Williamson’s #4 position.
David Warner’s post-match conferences are suddenly being scrutinized. Cryptic for sure. Is there a power struggle in SRH’s dugout? Who is making all the decisions?
IPL 2021 Points Table, Orange Cap, & Purple Cap Leaders
No need to go elsewhere for the Points Table, Orange Cap, & Purple Cap. We will keep updating it in every article!
Shikhar Dhawan has been dethroned! Faf du Plessis up at the top now.
Faf du Plessis – 270 runs (CSK, 6 matches)
Harshal Patel – 17 wickets (RCB, 6 matches)
Net Run Rate
1. Chennai Super Kings
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore
3. Delhi Capitals
4. Mumbai Indians
5. Kolkata Knight Riders
6. Punjab Kings
7. Rajasthan Royals
8. Sunrisers Hyderabad
IPL 2021 Points Table
Mumbai Indians take on Rajasthan Royalsand Kolkata Knight Riders take on Delhi Capitals in double header day.
Also, if you have not yet read our IPL Previews, here is a list of all of them! Check them out and share ahead:
Apart for Faf du Plessis’s acrobatics and consistency at the top of the order and the revelation in Sam Curran, nothing is going right for the Chennai Super Kings. Even Ravindra Jadeja is dropping catches and missing direct hits.
Let us find out why.
After the 7th game, here are 7 Reasons Why CSK Are Struggling.
Botched chases have been common for CSK this year. Taking the game deep is no longer an option. Here is CSK’s score at the halfway stage (10 over mark) in each of their games:
70/2 chasing 163 vs. Mumbai Indians (Won)
82/4 chasing 217 vs. Rajasthan Royals (Lost)
47/3 chasing 176 vs. Delhi Capitals (Lost)
44/4 chasing 165 vs. Sunrisers Hyderabad (Lost)
101/0 chasing 179 vs. Kings XI Punjab (Won)
90/1 chasing 168 vs. Kolkata Knight Riders (Lost)
47/2 chasing 170 vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore (Lost)
Two phrases that have come up in every post-match analysis thus far?
Lack of urgency and lack of intent. On air, Kevin Pietersen was extremely critical of Ambati Rayudu’s absence of intensityand energy in running between the wickets in his innings of 42 (40) against RCB.
In each game lost, there has been similar innings’ from the middle order.
Dhoni 9(12) (before hitting 3 sixes to get to 29 (17) and the team to 200 vs RR)
Vijay’s 10 (15) and Watson’s 14 (16) vs DC
Dhoni and Jadeja pushing the required rate up. Needed 78 off 24 before accelerating vs. SRH
Kedar Jadhav’s 7 (12) vs. KKR
Rayudu’s 40 (42) vs. RCB
The lack of game time is causing each batsman to bide their time, which is hurting the team’s overall performance. Maybe Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja should be pushed up the order in the next few games.
You can play for the Net Run Rate as much as you want….but you need the points on the Points Table in the first place for all that to even matter.
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni are known to back people even when they are struggling. The most famous example is the team management persisting with Shane Watson. Watson repaid the faith in 2018 qualifiers/finals and almost took them home in 2019 as well.
Even this year Shane Watson came back with an unbeaten 83*(53) after struggling initially.
The downside of backing match-winners? Players of the quality of Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Santner are warming the bench and young Indian talent like Jagadeesan not getting many chances.
And of course, the older the squad, the lower the fielding standards.
Where Can CSK Go From Here?
Is there still hope? Yes. CSK fan’s are recalling the 2010 campaign, when they came back from a similar position to win their maiden IPL trophy.
The Chennai Super Kings can still win, but they need to up their intensity, correct their batting order, put faith in youngsters, utilize the mid-season transfer window wisely, and some magic.
My take? Every great team has its ebbs and flows. Even a once-in-a-generation Spain football (soccer) team of the 2010 FIFA World Cup glory had to bow out in the group stages after an unbeaten run.
Every good thing comes to an end.
Some people are calling Shane Watson to retire. Others have been calling for Dhoni’s. I think it is time that the entire CSK team just retire.
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni have led CSK to greatness consistently for over a decade. It is time the Chennai Super Kings start afresh again.
2020 has been a grim year. CSK not qualifying for the playoffs will just set that in stone.
In this world, nothing is certain except death, taxes, and South Africa failing to win a World Cup. Faf and ABD know this too well. South African fans know this too well. The 2015 semi-final still hurts (as if the 1999, 1992, 2007, and 2011 World Cups were not bad enough).
Just to rub salt in the wound, even England (and kind of New Zealand) won in 2019 while South Africa endured a dismal campaign.
This image still resonates. Dale Steyn on his knee, Grant Elliot in a moment of great sportsmanship. On the other side, captain AB de Villiers in tears and Morne Morkel—completely shattered.
Faf and ABD: Tale of Two Heroes
Fast forward to September 2020. The IPL is back. So are Faf and ABD.
Usually it is the West Indians who dominate T20 leagues, but this IPL has been South Africa’s so far. In IPL 2020, Anrich Nortje has been a revelation, while Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock continue to show the world why they are South Africa’s torchbearers to the next generation.
Initially, I was going to write two separate articles about Abraham de Villiers and Francois du Plessis, but that is not possible. You just cannot separate them. They are like brothers from another mothers. If AB is the graceful artist, Faf is the resilient leader. Both are legends of South African cricket.
Today we will talk their careers, their friendship, the heartbreak, what could have been, and what could still be.
While AB De Villiers has retired from international cricket (for the time being), Faf continues on. Can Faf fulfill the broken dream of ABD and win South Africa a trophy?
*as of 19 November 2021, AB De Villiers has retired from all cricket because “the flame no longer burns.” Faf Du Plessis himself was ignored from South Africa’s team for the 2021 T20 World Cup and has retired from Tests.
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AB de Villers and Faf Du Plessis have been competing on and off the cricket field since middle school. They both went to the same school and university – Afrikaans High School (Affies) and University of Pretoria respectively. Over the years, their friendship has evolved with AB becoming Faf’s best man in his wedding.
Although their personal lives carried smoothly, their careers took vastly different routes.
The South African team under Graeme Smith was the only team that could challenge Australia at their home and would rise to the No.1 Test rankings. With the great Jacques Kallis, Boucher, Ntini, and Pollock, breaking into this team was not an easy task. AB was recognized early as a prospect and was tracked into the national team in 2004. In a couple of years’ time, he had established himself and by 2008, the Perth special guaranteed his journey into greatness.
On the other hand, Faf had to toil his way through domestic cricket, season after season. He even temporarily played in England with a Kolpak deal. Although Faf was becoming disillusioned, AB encouraged him to keep the hope alive with the imminent retirements of Smith and Kallis.
7 years after AB, finally Faf’s day came. It started with an epic.
Faf du Plessis had to wait for his turn in international cricket. When he did get his turn, he took his chance and followed a first innings 78 with a valiant fourth innings match-saving century against Australiain Adelaide.
Ab De Villiers will go down as one of the All-Time greatest ODI players. Not only is his statistics out of the world – an average above 50 and strike rate above 100, it is the manner in which he changed the game. Hewas an innovator with his unconventional shots and created the idea of a “360 degree player.” A versatile cricketer, he could adapt to any format, situation, or challenge at hand. He could score 149*(44) or defend 43(354) in a blockathon. Apart from his batting, he can keep wickets, field in any position, and captain.
Can also play hockey, football, rugby, badminton, swim, win science competitions, sing, and has written an autobiography.
Faf is one of the most underrated batsman in the current era. He is known for his strong character through his ability to counter tough situations. Like AB, he easily adapts between formats, from blockathons and saving Test matches to becoming a successful T20 batsman with shots like the scoop. Although he is a dependable batsman, he is known for his captaincy – the ability to guide South Africa through tough rebuilding phases as well as the reformation time. And of course, his fielding.
Records: Centuries in all formats as a captain, first player to score century in a day-night Test
Test: 65 matches, 3901 runs, average 39.80, best of 137, 9-100s/21-50s
ODI: 143 matches, 5507 runs, average 47.47, 88.60 strike rate, best of 185, 12-100s/35-50s
T20I: 47 matches, 1407 runs, average 34.31, 134.12 strike rate, best of 119, 1-100/8-50s
The Match That Broke South Africa
24 March, 2015. New Zealand vs. South Africa at Auckland. The Proteas were arguably the favorites. Since South Africa were in the semi-finals, there had to be the obligatory rain and net run-rate calculations.
South Africa posted an excellent total with Faf, ABD, and Miller finishing the innings well. In response, McCullum blazed away against Dale Steyn, briefly collapsed, and recovered with the Grant Elliot-Corey Anderson steady partnership. Five needed in two, and Elliot hit Dale Steyn over long on for the victory.
The great South African generation broke down, both mentally and physically. It was a slow degeneration over the next four years.
Kyle Abbott picked the Kolpak route as a direct result of being dropped for Vernon Philander on the eve of the match due to political pressure and the quota system. Other talents like Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, and Duanne Olivier would follow.
Vernon Philander himself would wane off in a couple of years. Dale Steyn, a fast bowler who was rarely injured for over a decade began picking up freak injuries. Morne retired from international cricket early for Kolpak while ABD retired early to manage T20 leagues loads, a year before the 2019 World Cup.
2019 was a disaster. Numerous injuries, media reports, and the end of illustrious careers of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, and Imran Tahir.
Faf symbolizes resilience and commitment. After the crushing 2019 campaign, Faf had the choice to hang up his boots but he decided to give back to South African cricket.
The rest of the golden era had retired. What did Faf do? He remained in the game and stayed as captain to absorb all the pressure and criticism. He worked extremely hard, transitioned towards a new team, and inspired the youngsters around him. All with a smile.
Since Faf had to wait seven more years for a South African cap, he cherished every moment as a South African cricketer and realized the struggle of others that have to wait in the wings or are thinking about going to England.
AB De Villiers was the catalyst to South Africa’s fortunes and changed cricket forever with his inventive batting. His premature retirement and the controversies around picking and choosing gained a lot of traction among critics and fans alike, but he had a point. More than anything, he was a victim of an overkill of cricket—it does take a physical and mental toll on you. He gave 14 years to South Africa, playing all formats continuously, and we should appreciate that.
What Can We Learn?
Cricket is unpredictable, a dropped catch or run-out can change the game. Similarly, life is unpredictable. Sometimes the best do not end up victorious, but how an individual responds to tough situations is important.
Faf just never gave up. Whether saving a test match, dealing with ball-tampering allegations, or managing captaincy issues, he just never gave up. Even if the ball is traveling with speed and is seemingly going for a six, just keep your nerve and hang on. You never know, you may pull off a catch.
What does ABD teaches us? Never stop learning and improving. He was regarded as the future of South Africa pretty early on, and he put in everything for them. He kept wickets despite back injuries, opened the batting, finished innings, and captained tough situations, and learned to evolve with time.
Your only competition is with you. Even when AB was at his best, he continued to reinvent self. Your best can always get better.
They both did it differently, but Faf and AB have been inspirational in their own rights. When they batted together, you realized that South Africa was in good hands. They were just a delight to watch, and we hope the very best to them and South Africa in the future.
Where can the Proteas go from here?
Although domestic talent is continuously drained into the Kolpak system, the quota system has been controversial, and systemic discrimination has to be dealt with, all is not lost.
This IPL has shown that Faf is ever dependable, ABD still has some magic, and de Kock is ready to take more responsibility. With stars in Kagiso Rabada, Nortje, and Chris Morris, who knows, 2021 T20 World Cup is where South Africa bounces back.
For South Africa to succeed in 2021, Faf needs ABD, and ABD needs Faf. South Africa and cricket fans around the world— we want them both together, one final time.
Comment below on your thoughts about the article or your favorite memories of AB De Villiers and Faf Du Plessis.
CSK All-Time XI, let us start with the obvious. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – the twin retirements that shook the world. Now that international cricket is off their mind, who knows they might play even better!
In the All-Time CSK XI, Thala and chinna thala are the two pillars of CSK, but who else is a guarantee?
Even after the two year exodus, CSK has come back with the ‘Dad’s Army’ and won it in style. How long can do they with these old stars? Only time will tell.
CSK has ALWAYS made it to the playoffs—they are just that good. When the odds are in their favor, they win. When the odds are not in their favor, they definitely win.
Anyway, VOTE BELOW AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!
Meanwhile, here is our All-Time CSK XI.
*Note: CSK were banned between 2016-2017, so these players played for other teams then.
In slow turning Chennai pitches, Ashwin, Jadeja, Jakati, and Harbhajan have all played monumental roles – can you fit all four of them in?
At the top of the order, it seems CSK have a revolving door of Australians – Matthew Hayden made way for Mike Hussey, who was eventually replaced by Shane Watson (there is a Faf in the mix too). Who do you pick?