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News Analysis

Australians in the IPL, week one: Steven Smith the opener and Marcus Stoinis steals a Super Over

A look back at the main talking points from the opening week of the tournament

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
The IPL has completed its first week and it has already thrown up some eye-catching cricket ranging for boundary-fests in Sharjah to a Super Over. The Australians have been well-represented although it has been a mixed bag for them on the field. Here's a round-up of how it's gone
Smith slots back into top gear in a brand new role
Steven Smith's concussion that he suffered before the one-day series against England was a bit more severe than appeared the case and he arrived in the UAE with some doubt still surrounding his health. However, he passed the required protocols and showed no ill-effects as he made 69 off 47 balls opening for Rajasthan Royals in their high-scoring victory over Chennai Super Kings. Notably, it was the first time in his entire career across all formats that Smith had opened the batting and he carried that into the second match against Kings XI Punjab where his 50 off 27 balls laid the foundation for a record IPL chase by the Royals.
Stoinis (somehow) steals a Super Over
It's fair to say Marcus Stoinis started the IPL with a bang, although he also provided a reminder that it's so often not the good deliveries that take wickets in T20. First of all he rescued Delhi Capitals' innings from 96 for 6 as he plundered 53 off 21 balls, batting in a middle-order role that is not viewed as his ideal T20 position, which included 30 off the final over. Then after R Ashwin had dislocated his shoulder he was called onto bowl more than may have been expected and was ultimately required to defend 13 off the last over. A six from Mayank Agarwal appeared to have sealed the game with the Kings XI needing 1 off 3 balls, yet somehow a dot was followed by two wickets off full tosses to earn the tie-breaker which the Capitals won comfortably.
Cummins bounces back, Pattinson makes his mark
James Pattinson wasn't an original selection for Mumbai Indians, instead being picked when Lasith Malinga was ruled out of the tournament, but he has twice bowled impressively with figures of 1 for 27 and 2 for 25. Across the eight overs in the two games he sent down 23 dot balls. Meanwhile, it was a tough start for Pat Cummins as he was clobbered for 49 off three overs against Mumbai Indians but, as great bowlers do, he responded in his next outing against Sunrisers Hyderabad with 1 for 19 - a performance that came top of ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats analysis.
Marsh's tournament over
Already there is one Australian on a plane home. Mitchell Marsh's tournament was over barely before it had started when he injured his ankle in his opening over for the Sunrisers. He hobbled out to bat at No. 10 to try and salvage the game, but the signs weren't good well before he was ruled out of the tournament. After Covid-related logistical challenges Marsh was able to secure a flight back to Perth where he will quarantine for two weeks as he begins his rehab but there is hope he could be available for the Sheffield Shield next month.
What about the rest
Australia's limited-overs openers, Aaron Finch and David Warner, have made starts so far without quite dominating: a brace of 20s for Finch and 36 off 30 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders for Warner. Josh Hazlewood came into the CSK side against the Capitals and bowled his four overs for 28. It's been a bit of a slow start for Glenn Maxwell with two single-figure scores and then he only faced nine balls in the run-glut against the Royals on Sunday. Josh Philippe, perhaps a little unexpectedly, found a starting place for Royal Challengers Bangalore, initially in the middle order before moving to No. 3.
Warming the benches
Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile (who is reported to have a few injury niggles), Chris Green, Chris Lynn, Daniel Sams, Billy Stanlake, AJ Tye and Adam Zampa have yet to be selected by their respective franchises.
Reading round-up
Performance of the week
There's a few worthy of consideration, but for the sheer impact he had across the whole game it's hard to look past Marcus Stoinis

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo