Delhi Daredevils fast bowler Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the remainder of the IPL season due to a knee injury. The IPL technical committee has approved a replacement for the team, though a player is yet to be named.
Earlier this month, Daredevils had confirmed that Shami was unavailable for selection because he had "a minor knee injury" and was "consulting a specialist to chart a quick recovery process."
During the World Cup, Shami had missed the group game against UAE due to a left-knee injury, but recovered from that setback to finish as the fourth highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 17 scalps from seven matches.
Shami was one of 10 players retained by Daredevils last December when the franchise decided to overhaul the squad and released 13 players.
Munro likely to replace Finch
Colin Munro, the left-hand New Zealand batsman, is likely to replace the injured Aaron Finch in the Mumbai Indians squad. Finch was ruled out for 12 weeks after undergoing surgery for a hamstring injury he suffered during Mumbai Indians' match against Rajasthan Royals on April 14.
Munro has played 14 T20 internationals for New Zealand. He has scored 1216 runs from 70 T20 games at a strike-rate of 140. He has been in prolific form of late, albeit in first-class cricket, with three centuries in his previous four matches, the latest being 281 off 167 balls for Auckland against Central Districts last month. He hit a record 23 sixes during that innings.
Du Plessis 'learning' the finisher's role
Faf du Plessis bats in the top order for South Africa. In previous IPLs, he's opened the batting for Chennai Super Kings too. This season, however, he hasn't batted higher than No. 4 for the franchise, and says he is getting used to the role of a finisher.
"My role is more of gelling the rest of the batting unit together," du Plessis told iplt20.com. "We have so many power-hitters and I am not necessarily one of them. I am a power-hitter when I am opening the batting but coming in at the latter stages and hitting is a different skill. I am not used to it but I am learning. My batting position is flexible in the team. If we lose wickets upfront, I go in at No. 4 and if we have a good opening partnership MS goes in ahead of me."
It is a role similar to what S Badrinath performed for Super Kings before he was let go. Du Plessis batted at No. 6 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, making 33 off 18 balls, and did not get a chance against Sunrisers Hyderabad despite Super Kings losing four wickets. MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo were promoted ahead of du Plessis in that game.
"It is a new thing for me and something that I want to improve on. My whole life I have batted higher up the order and it is good for my game that I have been given an opportunity to learn how to finish games.
"I wouldn't mind going back up the order. But we have such an explosive opening pair now and they are doing a great job. I'll just do whatever the captain and the coach tell me to do, but opening the batting is nice."
Enjoyed taking Dhoni bhai's wicket
One of Royal Challengers Bangalore's best performers in their 27-run defeat to Chennai Super Kings was legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who took 3 for 40. His scalps were those of Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, arguably three of the most dangerous opposition batsmen.
"I enjoyed taking Dhonibhai's wicket," 24-year-old Chahal told iplt20.com. "To get a batsman like him in the slog overs is huge. We know what he is capable of doing in those last few overs."
Dhoni was dismissed for 13 off 13 balls in the 15th over, but Chahal's challenge had begun in the second over of the game. "[Daniel] Vettori sir had told me beforehand that I would be bowling with the new ball," he said. "It was our plan to stifle McCullum with spin early on. I was just trying to bowl accurately with a few subtle variations. I happened to bowl a slower wrong one and it got me McCullum's wicket."
Chahal got hit for three sixes by Raina, but he was not too concerned. "Two of them went from the toe of the bat and this is a small ground. So, I wasn't worried about those sixes." He had Raina caught next ball.
"Virat and Vettori sir have given me a lot of confidence in that regard," Chahal said. "Vettori sir tells us not to think about the ball you've been hit. Forget about it and concentrate on the next ball. That really helps in a T20 game. Virat always tells me not to worry about being hit for sixes. He backs me to bowl whatever I want to bowl and keep a big heart."