Aussies abroad: Labuschagne, Renshaw and Harris make their mark
Tim David was finally recalled by Mumbai Indians but it was a largely quiet week for those in the IPL
With Australia's international commitments done for the season, some national-side members as well as those aspiring for a place or a return to the team ply their trade in different formats across the world. Here is how they fared last week.
The world's No.1 ranked Test batter Marnus Labuschagne returned to his run-making best for Glamorgan with scores of 130 and 85 in a cracking division two clash against Derbyshire. Labuschagne's century in the first innings helped edge Glamorgan to a lead but he made a sensational near run-a-ball 85 in the second as Glamorgan fell just 21 runs short of chasing 331 in 55 overs on the final day. They held on for a draw. Michael Neser took 4 for 63 in the first innings at Derby.
Matt Renshaw made a statement for Somerset scoring 129 in their innings rout of Warwickshire at Taunton. The left-hander was the only player in the match to pass 71 as he set up Somerset's match-winning score of 458. It was Renshaw's 14th first-class century and his first as an opener since his last century for Somerset at Taunton back in 2018. Australia's chair of selectors George Bailey took notice of his return to form at the top of the order after he was named in the Australia A squad to tour Sri Lanka.
Not to be outdone, Marcus Harris produced his second century of the English summer in a run-feast against Surrey at Bristol. After Surrey piled up 603, Harris made 124 in reply for Gloucestershire sharing in a 296-run opening stand with Chris Dent. Harris has scores of 136, 67 and 124 in his first three county matches of the season, although his first two performances came on far tougher surfaces, as Gloucestershire and Surrey scored 1046 runs in three days for just 12 wickets in the draw before rain washed out the final day.
It wasn't a great week for the Australians at the IPL with very few outstanding performances. Mitchell Marsh produced his best score of the tournament to-date after an interrupted start due to injury and Covid-19. He looked in superb touch as he smashed 37 off 20 balls on Sunday for Delhi Capitals against Lucknow Super Giants. He feasted on Jason Holder and Dushmantha Chameera with three cracking sixes but fell to the spin of Krishnappa Gowtham as Capitals fell short in the chase. David Warner missed out making just 3 while Marcus Stoinis made 17 not out of 16 deliveries in a far from fluent display. He struck a boundary first ball and a six off his penultimate delivery but scored just seven runs off the bat from the other 14 balls he faced and was dropped at deep midwicket. Stoinis managed just 1 off four balls in his previous outing against Punjab Kings.
Warner's low score was his first in six matches after smashing 42 off 26 balls with eight boundaries in Capitals' win over Kolkata Knight Riders last week. Marsh made 13 off seven in the same game but Aaron Finch, on return from a shoulder issue, missed out for KKR, clean bowled for 3 off seven trying to launch one across the line.
Tim David was finally picked for Mumbai Indians, having been left out of the previous six games, and delivered with a match-winning 20 not out from nine balls to guide Mumbai home to their first win of the tournament over Rajasthan Royals. He struck two fours and a six and was out there with Daniel Sams as he hit the winning six in the final over. Sams took 1 for 32 from his four overs with the ball. Riley Meredith also bowled superbly taking 2 for 24 from his four overs to help restrict Royals to just 158 for 6.
Glenn Maxwell produced a special cameo for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Gujurat Titans cruising to 33 from 18 balls. He launched Mohammed Shami over square leg twice for six and then switch-hit Rashid Khan for four over cover, with the ball landing just short of the rope. He then sliced a Lockie Ferguson yorker over backward point for four but fell trying to go again in the 19th over. However, RCB were unable to defend 170 with Josh Hazlewood delivering a rare expensive spell giving up 36 runs in 3.3 overs without a wicket. This came after he took 2 for 19 against Royals last week including the prized scalp of Jos Buttler in a wicket-maiden. But RCB failed to chase 145 with Maxwell falling for a first-ball duck.
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Pat Cummins has been running the drinks in KKR's last two matches. He was left out of the loss to Gujarat Titans last week with suggestions he was being rested due a niggle. But he was not selected for KKR's clash against Delhi with Tim Southee preferred after Cummins had been too expensive with the ball in his first four games of the tournament. He is also going to be rested from Australia's T20I series on the multi-format tour of Sri Lanka in June.
Finch did have a shoulder issue that had forced him out of KKR's line-up last week for one match after making a half-century against Royals. But he recovered quickly to take his place in the side against Capitals and there are no concerns long-term.
Performance of the week
Renshaw's century for Somerset was the standout performance of the week, in both the context of the game and of his career. He was the only player in the match to pass 71 making 129 in a game where only four other half-centuries were scored across three innings. But it was significant in that it was only his third innings back opening the batting having spent the past two years batting at Nos. 3-5 after he was dropped from Queensland's Sheffield Shield team back in 2019 and took a break from cricket. With a Test hundred under his belt in 2017 as an opener, and Australia's current opening pair of Warner and Usman Khawaja both set to turn 36 this year, the 26-year-old is returning to his best at the right time.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo