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Match Analysis

Brevis, Tilak, Jitesh show how youngsters are outshining seniors in this IPL

They are among a few unknown young batters who have shown from the word go that they know the IPL terrain

Nagraj Gollapudi
IPL matches come and go. We remember a few of them for a long time while majority recede into the memory bin even before we wake up the next morning.
Wednesday's contest between Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings will probably fade away from our memory soon. But the memory of Dewald Brevis taking on Rahul Chahar will stay fresh in the mind for a long time. The way Jitesh Sharma turned the game back in Kings' favour immediately after Jasprit Bumrah had delivered a superb 15th over will be spoken about by the cricketing fraternity each time the Vidarbha batter comes up for discussion. And the way Tilak Varma showed both boldness and composure once again in his maiden IPL season will not only make the Mumbai scouts happy but also have the national selectors keep an eye on his progress.
The beauty of a 10-team IPL is well known: not only does it spread talent across the board, but it also provides opportunity to many more players, especially newcomers. To encash that opportunity is one thing. To do it in an enthralling fashion by playing nerveless innings that enervates the opposition is what has made some of the young batters stand out this IPL.
At 18 years and 350 days, Brevis is the youngest player to have featured in a playing XI so far this IPL. When Mumbai, impressed by his batting technique and boldness at the Under-19 World Cup, picked Brevis at the auction in February, the South African youngster was pinching himself in disbelief. He was flown business class and his journey was scripted into a video blog by the franchise. Brevis was straightway introduced to the IPL life: it was as much about cricket but also about doing things outside your comfort zone. To his credit Brevis, stood up to the task and was not shy to take on the challenge.
But Brevis, who came with the moniker of "Baby AB" as his batting technique resembles that of his countryman AB de Villiers, was yet to announce himself this IPL until Wednesday. In Mumbai's last match, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Wanindu Hasaranga had snapped him with a wrong 'un for 8.
When he walked in against Kings, Mumbai had been numbed by the quick fall of their opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan in a space of four deliveries. Brevis felt he could just swing his bat and the ball would fly. He failed to open his account after the first eight deliveries he faced. He was charging at the bowlers, but soon he calmed down. Arshdeep Singh angled a short delivery away from length and Brevis stepped back to cut fiercely for his first four. Next ball was driven hard for another four. Next over, responding to a short ball from Odean Smith, Brevis swiftly pulled his first six over deep square leg.
Brevis' strength at the Under-19 World Cup was his batting against spin. When Chahar came on to bowl, Mumbai needed 136 runs from the final 12 overs. The first ball Brevis faced from Chahar was the second of the over. Brevis crouched, just like de Villers used to, he lined up for the short and straight delivery and sent it to the straight boundary like a tennis player hitting a forehand down the line with a horizontal bat. Class and finesse.
The final four deliveries of the overs were all sixes and with every passing delivery, Chahar's plan fell apart. His last ball was a floating legbreak, which pitched outside off but Brevis stepped out and thumped it so high that it now is the biggest six - at 112 metres - recorded so far in the tournament, according to host broadcaster Star Sports. Brevis' strike rate against spin in the game was 414.28. Mumbai's win percentage had suddenly jumped from 13.3% to 48.5% after that Chahar over. It took Brevis five deliveries to turn the match.
Brevis and Tilak Varma were playing in the same fashion as Kings' batters this IPL - going with gusto at every delivery. When Vaibhav Arora bowled fast and short at Tilak Varma's body immediately after the time out which was taken after the Chahar over, the Hyderabad batter did not flinch and instead pulled - the top edge sailed over the wicketkeeper for another boundary. When Smith sprayed a short and wide delivery outside off, Tilak Varma leapt at the opportunity and swatted a fabulous six over deep point.
Brevis and Tilak Varma would certainly be distraught that despite helping Mumbai back into the game, their team eventually faltered and fell short by a mere 12 runs. But their efforts will not go unnoticed by the captain and the staff, for sure.
Jitesh will be thanked by the Kings team management for playing the catalyst to help them finish on a formidable score when at one point it appeared they had suddenly stalled. At the end of the 15th over, Kings were 132 for 3, after Bumrah had bowled one of the best overs of the tournament including the searing 143 kmph yorker that pegged back Liam Livingstone's off stump. But Jitesh proved how an innings can turn in a few balls when he picked 23 runs off Jaydev Unadkat's over including three sixes, the best of which was a reverse shovel over short third man.
Brevis, Tilak Varma and Jitesh are among a few unknown young batters in this IPL and from the word go they have shown that they know the terrain. On Tuesday evening, an unknown Goan batter Suyash Prabhudessai played a cameo that nearly upset Chennai Super Kings' march to their first win of the tournament. Ayush Badoni, Anuj Rawat and Abhinav Manohar are some of the other batters who have shown they can match the best and play against the best bowlers without breaking sweat.
We have not even reached the halfway stage of the 2022 IPL yet, but this season has shown how the young, bright talents have outshone their experienced seniors in the team.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo