While the Australian domestic season comes to life in Adelaide a group of players continue to ply their trade at the IPL in the UAE. It's been a mixed week as the points table starts to take a bit of a divide between those pushing for the playoffs and those struggling for momentum. Here's a round-up of some of the highlights
So far it has been an IPL to forget for Glenn Maxwell - he has 58 runs from seven innings (and just 61 balls faced) for bottom-of-the-table Kings XI Punjab. Against the Sunrisers Hyderabad he again walked in with his team in bother at 58 for 3 chasing 202 and could only manage 7 off 12 balls before being run out. Against Kolkata Knight Riders he came in during the penultimate over with the Kings XI having made a mess of another chase and faced his first ball at the start of the last over needing 14 to win. When he was on strike for the final ball a six would have forced a Super Over and he came within inches of doing it, but he couldn't quite get the distance against Sunil Narine. "Shattered," was his succinct response on Twitter.
Shattered... #gameofinches— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) October 10, 2020
Stoinis' new role?
Marcus Stoinis began the IPL by plundering 53 off 21 balls and he has had another productive week for the Delhi Capitals. His second fifty - coming off 24 balls - helped provide a critical late surge against the Royal Challengers Bangalore to propel an innings that had been losing its way although he was given three lives. Against the Rajasthan Royals he produced a telling all-round display hitting 39 off 30 balls before taking 2 for 17. Most of Stoinis' T20 success has come at the top order - Australia coach Justin Langer said that was his best spot - but if he returns from the IPL with another string to his bow it will be very interesting to see where he finds a space in the T20I side to face India having moved around the order against England last month. Before the IPL, his strike-rate at Nos. 5 and 6 was 131.22 but in the this tournament it's up at 175.00.
Finch's Ashwin warning
Aaron Finch almost became the latest run-out backing up victim for R Ashwin when the Royal Challengers faced the Capitals. Australia's limited-overs captain strayed a long way out of his crease as Ashwin prepared to bowl the fourth delivery of his opening over, but was spared when Ashwin offered a smile - and later a stern 'warning' to any other batsmen. There was much made before the IPL began of Ricky Ponting's comments that he did not agree with the mode of dismissal and he, too, wore a smile from the dug out when Ashwin resisted. For Finch himself, he has yet to find his best form with just one significant score - his 52 against Mumbai Indians - in six innings.
Steven Smith started the tournament in strong form after his return from the concussion that curtailed his series in England, but in the last couple of weeks the runs have been hard to come by. In his last five innings he has a top score of 24 amid a misfiring Royals top order and there have been some ugly hoicks among his dismissals. On Sunday he was run out for 5 against David Warner's Sunrisers Hyderabad following a mix-up with Jos Buttler. As captain, though, he is now able to call on Ben Stokes who made his first appearance of the competition after returning from compassionate leave.
Archer gets Warner, again
It is turning into another very consistent campaign for Warner - only one score below 28 in seven innings - although he has not hit the destructive heights he has shown in the past. His innings against the Royals was particularly hard work to begin with as he ended the Powerplay with 8 off 13 balls as part of a very sluggish 26 for 1. He started to move through the gears after that, but just as he was threatening something substantial his 2020 nemesis struck again: bowled by Jofra Archer for 48.
Ins and outs
Alex Carey made his first appearance for the Capitals after Rishabh Pant picked up a hamstring injury and will likely get a few more games with Pant expected to be out for a week. AJ Tye was brought by the Royals but went 1 for 50 against the Capitals (and batted No. 7) before being left out again due to Stokes' return. After two matches in the RCB XI, Adam Zampa is back on the bench. Nathan Coulter-Nile, Daniel Sams, Chris Lynn, Chris Green and Billy Stanlake are still yet to play.