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Feature

What David Miller, Kagiso Rabada's IPL form means for South Africa

ESPNcricinfo examines the roles of various South Africa players via their recent IPL performances

South Africa's squad that is currently on tour in India has ten players who were part of different franchises in IPL 2022. That experience could help South Africa maintain their strong white-ball record in India: they have not lost a white-ball series in the country since 2010. ESPNcricinfo looks at their IPL form and the roles they are expected to play for the national side.
David Miller
Runs: 481 Average: 68.71 Strike rate:142.72
Miller had a fixed role for Gujarat Titans and played it so perfectly that he had his best IPL season. He remained not out in nine matches and was one of the best finishers this IPL. Of the 58 batters to face at least 500 balls across the six IPL seasons from 2016 to 2021, Miller had the second-lowest strike rate - 118.65. He, however, turned it around this season with impressive strokeplay against spin and stated that the role clarity he had with the Titans was instrumental in his success. Miller plays a similar role for South Africa and he will be hoping that he can continue his scintillating T20 form.
Quinton De Kock
Runs: 508 runs Average: 36.28 Strike rate:148.95
Having retired from Test cricket, de Kock has now turned his focus to white-ball cricket. He may not get the top billing that other IPL superstars get but he has averaged 36.28 and struck at almost 150, with three fifties and one century, this season. Powerplay performance is usually key to setting the foundation and de Kock did the job during this phase by striking at 136.7 with 12 sixes.
Only Jonny Bairstow and David Warner scored at a faster pace than him among overseas openers. Most oppositions look to match up de Kock with offspin as he has struck at only 124 against this type of bowling. de Kock will look to remedy this in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup.
Kagiso Rabada
Wickets: 23 Average:17.65 Economy rate:8.45
No pacer has bowled more balls than Rabada across formats since 2016. Also, no bowler has conceded more sixes than Rabada across the last three IPL seasons. Since start of 2020, Rabada has 98 T20 wickets at an economy rate of 8.23. In IPL 2022, Rabada was the most prolific wicket-taker among pacers, picking up 23 wickets at an average 17.65. However, Rabada was below par in a couple of areas: taking wickets in the powerplay and keeping it tight at the death. Since January 2020, Rabada has struck only once every 24 balls in the powerplay and has conceded 9.45 an over at the death. He, however takes wickets at the death, striking once every 10 balls. South Africa will be hoping for early wickets and death-overs bite from him in the forthcoming series.
Aiden Markram
Runs: 381 Average:47.62 Strike rate:139.05
Markram was a surprise addition to the Punjab Kings set-up in the second half of 2021. Many players from various countries were not willing to fly to the IPL, citing bubble fatigue, while Markram was ready to fly in from Sri Lanka. The move proved a turning point in his T20 career.
In IPL 2022 he hit higher notes, scoring 381 runs at a strike rate of 139.05 for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Markram has played only 18 T20Is so far and will look to build on that. He now plays one of the toughest roles in T20 cricket - batting at No.4 or 5. In his short T20I career at this position Markram has done an excellent job. Since June 2021, only five batters have scored more T20 runs than Markram while striking at over 135 and averaging over 35. Markram also is a good player of spin and can be handy with his own offspin.
Marco Jansen
Wickets: 7 Average:39.14 Economy Rate:8.56
Jansen is yet to make his T20I debut but in his short T20 career, he has shown that he is ready for the big stage. In IPL 2022, Jansen took seven wickets at an economy rate of 8.56. He is best suited to bowling three overs upfront; in the recent IPL season he went at just 7.7 an over during the powerplay while taking five wickets. His left-arm angle could pose a threat to Indian players who often struggle with this type of bowling.
Anrich Nortje
Wickets: 9 Average:24.51 Economy rate:9.71
Nortje's return to Delhi Capitals from injury seemed a bit rushed as he could not replicate his form from IPL 2020 and 2021. Nortje played only six matches this season, conceding 9.71 an over. He ended up giving up 12 runs or more in an over on nine occasions. Returning from an injury can be particularly hard and hence South Africa need to manage his workload well. Nortje is at his best when he is paired up with Rabada. However, if he continues to leak runs for the national team as well South Africa may turn to other options.
Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorious, Tristan Stubbs and Lungi Ngidi were the others who had IPL gigs but did not get enough games to prove their worth. They will be looking to push for T20 World Cup selection if they get more opportunities against India.

Gaurav Sundararaman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo