If South Africa was not playing an ODI series at home against Netherlands at the moment, Kyle Mayers would probably have had to wait longer for his IPL (Indian Premier League) debut.
Since Quinton de Kock is on national duty, the West Indian got his Lucknow Super Giants cap on Saturday night. He made it count. Coming as it does from someone who scored a double-hundred on Test debut, a promising start to his IPL career could not have been entirely ruled out.
Mayers’ brilliant 73 off 38 balls (2x4, 7x6) powered the host to 193 for six after being put in to bat by Delhi Capitals at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cricket Stadium. Then a fiery spell of express pace by Mark Wood – he struck twice in as many balls – put the brakes on the chase of Capitals, which went on to lose by 50 runs.
Wood not merely ended the opening stand of 41 between captain David Warner (56, 48b, 7x4) and Prithvi Shaw, he removed the dangerous Mitchell Marsh with his next ball. Both the batters were beaten by pace and Wood would finish with five for 14.
Once Rilee Rossouw (30, 20b, 3x4, 1x6) fell leg-before to Ravi Bishnoi, on review, it was going to be an uphill task.
Earlier, Super Giants could make only 30 for one from the PowerPlay. With the new ball, Khaleel Ahmed and Mukesh Kumar got some swing. But before long, it was Mayers who was swinging the bowlers out of the park.
The left-handed opener was dropped on 14 by Khaleel off Sakariya. That proved a turning point in the match. Mayers looked majestic, as he displayed timing, power – even outside edges went for the maximum – and the unmistakable Caribbean flair.
The excellent home crowd got to watch more of that left-handed flair a little later on, as Nicholas Pooran slammed a 21-ball 36 (2x4, 3x6).
Their flair then would be complemented by Wood’s fire.
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