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IPL 2014: JP Duminy unfolding as the Mr Consistent for Delhi Daredevils

JP Duminy has smashed two half-centuries in the IPL 2014 so far © IANS
JP Duminy has smashed two half-centuries in the IPL 2014 so far © IANS

Between timing and brutal hitting lies the skillful touch of JP Duminy, which promises to take Delhi Daredevils to success at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. Abhijit Banare looks at the value that Duminy brings to a team.

Against the Rajasthan Royals, two Kings XI Punjab players with contrasting batting styles once again redefined aggressive batting. On one hand, there is this uncomplicated clean hitting by Glenn Maxwell and then there is David Miller, who packs a powerful lunch in most of his shots. In the midst of all the power and exuberant dominance, never forget the fact that between graceful shots and a brutal assault lays the sedate batting style of Jean-Paul Duminy. Depending on the the situation of the game, the South African southpaw will tune his batting to answer the calls of his teammates.

At times, Duminy is an underrated player. He hasn’t had a very consistent run in Tests and is often eclipsed by the likes of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla in one-day cricket, which is Duminy’s territory. But, he does add calm in the middle and is a flexible batsman. Such players are invaluable to any team, but their contributions may not be celebrated.

The batsmen at No 5 or No 6 need to have the ability to balance between caution and aggression. He has to essay a fluent innings which has to include the ones and twos along with the regular boundaries. Those who possess that ability would undoubtedly succeed at that spot. In Delhi Daredevils’ previous match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Duminy looked as though he was barely catching up with the required rate but suddenly snatched the match away in the 18th over. His planning, calculated risks and ability to find the gaps makes him a delightful watch.

After two matches in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, looking at the way Delhi’s batting has shaped up, the team could do itself a big favour by promoting Duminy up the order. He is one of the batsmen who can anchor the innings well and Delhi does need some solidity at the top. Once Kevin Pietersen returns, the two can be a solid wall for the opposition. In a short format like T20s, it always makes sense to get your best batsman ahead rather than keeping him for the perfect finish. Ross Taylor and Dinesh Karthik are good enough for the big flourish in the death overs and they can be kept for later.

Emerging successfully out of close finishes in  IPL is not new for Duminy. He has done well with Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers in the past. The bowling attack of each franchise is different and a batsman needs to adapt according to the bowler at the other end. Duminy has managed to balance it well.  On Monday, when Delhi face Chennai Super Kings, Duminy will have to handle the task of facing more of spin in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. That should be an interesting battle. As the season unfolds, if Duminy manages to score consistently, Delhi will certainly make space for him at the top at the cost of big names. It’s the momentum that matters than potential in a long tournament like this.

It’s yet to make news in the IPL but Duminy is a reliable part-time off-spinner. In T20s, apart from flight and turn, the spinner’s ability to bowl those darts under pressure is equally important. Duminy has hown the ability to do that. And not to forget the fact that he is an excellent fielder. Delhi have done well to pick him and they would hope he continue his good form to rally the side all the way.

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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

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