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News

Morkel sees the rise of foreign players Wood and Mayers as 'a bonus'

Wood has already picked eight wickets and Mayers has displayed two stunning shows of power-hitting

Kyle Mayers is right on top of the Total Impact list on ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats at the moment  •  BCCI

Kyle Mayers is right on top of the Total Impact list on ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats at the moment  •  BCCI

Lucknow Super Giants may have lost to Chennai Super Kings on Monday night after leaking 217 runs, but their bowling coach Morne Morkel sees the rise of their two international players as "a bonus" in the IPL. Mark Wood has already picked up eight wickets after hauls of 5 for 14 and 3 for 49, and Kyle Mayers is only behind Ruturaj Gaikwad on the run-scorers' list following scores of 73 off 38 and 53 off 22 balls.
"There's a lot to like about Mark Wood. He's running in, he's bowling at 150, that aggressive length," Morkel said after the match. "He's a strike bowler for us. It's only his third game in the IPL. He's still finding his feet in the subcontinent, especially in the IPL, where the margins are quite tough and it's a lot of quality players. So, for me, it's just talking through different periods where he's possibly going to bowl and ensure he's clear with his plans.
"But one thing about Woody is that he's won a World Cup, he's got a lot of experience, he's played for years in the England team that knows the recipe for success. So, yeah, my advice for him is not to over-think it now that he's playing in the IPL. He's been picked for a reason - he's bowling pace; make use of that as best as possible and, yeah, target certain batters to really go and express himself."
Wood has certainly done that in the two matches this season. Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Sarfaraz Khan and Axar Patel were among his five against Delhi Capitals, and against Super Kings, he had Devon Conway, Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni.
It's not been a bad start for Mayers either. He is currently top on ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats for Total Impact, with 235.52 impact points, with Gaikwad (212.51) at No. 2 and Wood (156.75) at No. 3. (Click here to read about ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats)
"Very happy to see Kyle [perform]. I have played with him a little bit at St Lucia Zouks back in the day [in the CPL]. It's amazing to see him sort of move on, he's progressed into a quality white-ball player," Morkel said. "Saw him in Durban [in the SA20 league] and he played these sorts of innings where upfront he really puts the bowlers under a lot of pressure. And to see him now in top form is also great."
It's no secret that Mayers' form has caused a happy headache in the Super Giants camp. After all, he was only the back-up for Quinton de Kock, who should be arriving soon for them after finishing the Netherlands ODIs at home. What happens then?
"How we're going to work that out, luckily that's not for me to think about," Morkel said. " But yeah, it's fantastic to see him (Mayers) upfront, firing, and playing well and in form."
However, Super Giants fell short in their massive chase despite powering to 79 for 0 in 5.2 overs before Mayers got out. Even though they got close in the end, their Nos. 3 and 4 - Deepak Hooda and Krunal Pandya - fell for just 2 and 9 in the next two overs. On ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time:Out show, Tom Moody, said the fall of the first wicket was the ideal time to send out Nicholas Pooran. Super Giants instead batted Pooran at No. 6, when they were 105 for 4 and needed 113 off the last 10.
"They had a good start with Mayers and KL Rahul… got them off to a flier, really more courtesy of Mayers' beautiful striking. At that point, when the left-hander got dismissed [in the sixth over], Nicholas Pooran had to come in at that point," Moody said. "Because that was the last over of the powerplay and at that point, MS Dhoni had no choice really but to play a left-arm spinner at some point, whether a Santner or Jadeja. And Pooran has got a phenomenal record against left-arm spin.
"I know that he's selected to be that middle-order finisher but this is a different situation, this is where you're chasing a huge total, you need your trump card."