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News Analysis

Australians at the IPL, week two - Smith v Cummins, Pattinson v Finch and Watson finds form

There have been some lively head-to-heads over the past week in the IPL

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Team-mate battles
There were a couple of full-throttle head-to-heads between Australia (and state) colleagues this week. First of all limited-overs captain Aaron Finch went up against James Pattinson when Royal Challengers Bangalore played the Mumbai Indians. Finch's final tally of 52 off 35 doesn't quite tell the story of his two-over duel with Pattinson, who struck Finch a painful blow in the box, edging over slip and almost finding fielders three times.
A couple of days later there was another compelling (if brief) confrontation between Steven Smith and Pat Cummins. Smith, who started the tournament with back-to-back half-centuries, was worked over in the space of five balls: he defended the first, was beaten by the next two, played an ugly swipe over mid-off and then nicked a wild heave to leg. Cummins would go on to bowl three consecutive Powerplay overs for just 13 runs - a key part in Kolkata Knight Riders' big win.
Pattinson keeps chipping in
The pace bowler is building up a very solid IPL campaign. While his eventual figures of 0 for 51 against RCB were his second-most expensive in T20, he bounced back with a brace of important performances to help Mumbai Indians sit top of the table after wins against Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad. In the first of those matches he took 2 for 28 including the key scalp of Nicholas Pooran who was Kings XI's last chance of salvaging the match. Then against the Sunrisers he removed Australia team-mate David Warner to end any hopes of the target being chased down. After five matches Pattison was among the second group of leading wicket-takers with seven scalps - the fact his team-mates, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, have seven and eight respectively a key reason for Mumbai's strong position.
Maxwell struggles to get going
Glenn Maxwell came into the IPL having played one of the finest innings, the century that helped seal the ODI series against England. However, he hasn't quite been able to kick his tournament into gear yet. He came under scrutiny this week for his innings of 11 off 18 balls against Mumbai Indians when chasing 192. It's worth noting he came in with the chase in a difficult spot at 60 for 3 in the eighth over, but when he departed in the 15th the asking rate had blown out to 17 an over. Overall, his IPL batting average of 22.46 is considerably down on his career number of 27.16, although the strike-rate is actually up a fraction at 157.84 compared to 153.34
Watson helps CSK back on track
Shane Watson has an outstanding IPL record - he is the fourth-leading run-scorer among overseas batsmen behind Warner, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle - but after a quiet start to this edition, and Chennai Super Kings' overall struggles, there were rumblings about whether he remained the right man to open the batting. That was put to bed, at least for now, with a thumping 83 off 53 against the underperforming Kings XI as part of an unbroken opening stand of 181 with Faf du Plessis - just four short of the IPL record opening partnership of 185.
Around the teams
With Dwayne Bravo being fit again for CSK, Josh Hazlewood lost his place in the starting line-up. Adam Zampa was brought into the RCB side and was given a tough start with 1 for 53 against Mumbai Indians (although RCB prevailed in the super over) and was part of another victory against the Royals. Marcus Stoinis hasn't been able to recapture the impact he had on the opening game for the Delhi Capitals.
Warming the bench
Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Green, Daniel Sams, AJ Tye and Chris Lynn continue to be in the dugout for their franchises.
Performance of the week
For his two consistent back-to-back displays to put Mumbai top of the table, it's James Pattinson. Albeit used in a different way, he's doing a fine job of filling the shoes of Lasith Malinga

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo