As the IPL regular season passes the midway point here’s a look at how the Australian contingent are tracking and the implications for what is to come for some of them
One of the major narratives from an Australian point of view has been Warner’s form and it has provided a curious situation. His strike-rate has come under significant scrutiny amid Capitals’ poor start to the competition, but he has consistently produced runs with four fifties. While conditions in the IPL could not be further removed from those that will confront him in the Tests, strike-rate will be less of a concern come June (notwithstanding Bazball). His most recent half-century, a 41-ball 57 against KKR, was much more fluent. Whatever happens over the next few it’s unlikely to be dull.
After a somewhat uncertain start, Green has hit his stride – certainly with the bat – scoring back-to-back half-centuries against Sunrisers and Punjab Kings. The second of them came in defeat, but the first was part of a matchwinning all-rounder display. Ahead of the WTC final and Ashes the selectors will have an eye on his workload and the quick transition from T20 to Test cricket could yet provide challenges for a player who has not made that switch often.
After looking a million dollars in the ODI series against India, it’s been a lean time with the bat for Marsh which has contributed to Capitals’ early-season woes. He started with four single-digit scores either side of returning home for his wedding, but getting back into the fray with the ball has been a good sign and will have helped in him earning a recall for the Ashes.
For someone who suffered what was not far off being a career-threatening injury late last year, the sight of Maxwell launching the ball to all parts has been a heartening story in this IPL. He is not yet back to 100% and continues to play through some pain, but has looked very much like his old self with the bat. Two of his half-centuries have come in defeat as the regular debate about a top-heavy RCB order is revived, but the 77 off 44 against Royals was a matchwinner.
Stoinis is putting together a handy tournament for LSG. He produced a brilliant 65 off 30 balls against RCB to conjure remarkable chase of 213 after they had been 23 for 3 and has chipped in elsewhere without quite matching that display. In the last couple of matches he has bowled for the first time in the season and with excellent results, playing a key role in a relatively low-scoring affair against Royals (where he was Player of the Match) and again proving effective against Titans.
David has perhaps not hit the heights that he has become known for, but he has still produced some useful displays for Mumbai Indians. He and Green got them over the line in a tight chase against Capitals then David helped ice a substantial target against KKR which they made look relatively simple. He had a big part to play in the field against SRH where he claimed four catches, one short of the IPL record.
Ellis has continued to enhancing his T20 reputation. He produced a Player of the Match performance against Royals with 4 for 30 in a high-scoring game, including the key wicket of Jos Buttler. Then in a contest against Mumbai Indians with over 400 runs, where he was brought in as the Impact Player, he got the better of Australia team-mate Green at a vital moment.
Hazlewood, whose Test career has hit the buffers over the last two years, has yet to make an appearance following his delayed arrival as he continued his recovery from the Achilles injury that ended his India tour. George Bailey, Australia’s chair of selectors, said that four-over spells in the IPL would be a good gradual return to action ahead of the Test matches although questions remain about whether he’ll be ready. He had an extensive bowl off his full run-up in a recent training session.
Among the other Australians at the IPL, Jason Behrendorff has picked up eight wickets for Mumbai Indians although his economy rate has touched 10 an over. Matt Short, the BBL Player of the Tournament, hasn’t quite been able to hit his stride for Punjab Kings although a brace of 30s showed what he can produce. In a Royals outfit featuring R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa has not found a regular starting spot and has played just twice – once as the Impact player. Matthew Wade, who is with defending champions Titans, and Daniel Sams (LSG) have yet to make an appearance.