Lungi Ngidi. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

  • The Proteas will hope Lungi Ngidi’s excellent start to the IPL is a sign of things to come with the ICC World T20 looming later in the year.
  • The 25-year-old quick delivered a brilliant spell in a tussle between Chennai and Kolkata that was otherwise a batting feast.
  • Ngidi credited West Indian T20 legend Dwayne Bravo for helping him hone and showcase his vast array of skills during the game.

His bowling performances in South Africa might’ve been a tad lukewarm, but Lungi Ngidi would have heartened the Proteas selectors with a fine start to his IPL campaign for 2021.

The strapping quick took 3/28 in Chennai Super Kings’ nervy 18-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday night, a haul rendered all the more impressive by the fact that a massive 422 runs were scored between the two teams.

To put that further into perspective, Australian talisman Pat Cummins conceded 58 runs in his four overs, while impressive Englishman Sam Curran delivered identical figures except for the single wicket he took.

Particularly impressive was the variations that Ngidi showed off – a well-directed, faster shorter ball accounted for Rahul Tripathi and a sublime slower ball caught a rampant and dangerous Dinesh Karthik plumb in front.

The 25-year-old Protea though unashamedly took a leaf out of the book of the man he had to replace, the grizzled and eternally cool West Indian Dwayne Bravo, who previously formalised his nickname “The Champion” on his playing shirts.

“I have worked very closely with Bravo on the slower bowls at the death,” Ngidi told the IPL website.

“One of the slower bowls he has been teaching me for a long time came off and got us a wicket. There was a lot of pressure, Bravo has been doing very well for CSK. So, I had to come in and fill his shoes.”

On a typically easy batting surface in Mumbai, Ngidi admitted to being nervous to receiving a similarly merciless treatment from the batters before settling down and just building on the fine platform set by Deepak Chahar, who took 4/29.

“Deepak was on fire so I just tried to back him up a bit. Throughout the innings, I just tried to chip away at their batsmen,” he said.

“They were flowing at a stage, hitting boundaries for fun. I just tried to keep taking wickets.”

The fruits of that labour were certainly bountiful.  

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