CAPE TOWN - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has heaped praise on young fast bowler Lungi Ngidi after his impressive Indian Premier League debut.
Du Plessis is, of course, a long-time stalwart at the Chennai Super Kings and has been joined by the Proteas tearaway this season at the Lions den. Ngidi had to wait though to make his IPL bow after being forced to head home mid-way through the campaign due to the recent death of his father Jerome.
But after returning to India this week, Ngidi made an immediate impression for his new team with figures of 1/24 from four overs in the victory over the Delhi Daredevils.
His figures are even more impressive due to the 22-year-old delivering his overs during the most frenetic periods of the match – two in the Powerplay and two at the death.
Ngidi ensured the Daredevils could not gain any momentum at the beginning of their innings by keeping the explosive New Zealand opener Colin Munro in check. The lengths of his deliveries were the key, with Ngidi not offering up anything full or short.
“It was obviously a difficult time he went through losing his father, but he has been bowling really well. He was very close to playing before he left,” Du Plessis said.
“He was smashing those lengths, just bowling really hard lengths. On a pitch like this that’s the way to go. He bowled really well, you could just see he was confident leading up to the game. He bowled well in the nets.”
Not only did Ngidi claim the match-turning wicket of Rishabh Pant, but he also held his nerve in the final over. Delhi required 28 runs off the last six balls, and although he delivered two wides and was struck for a six off the second ball, Ngidi finished strongly with a couple of wide yorkers to close out the game by 14 runs.
The Proteas have long struggled for a consistency at the death and the way Ngidi closed out the match for CSK, Du Plessis believes the experience can only be beneficial.
“We had some inexperience bowling at the death, but we were in a position to give them an opportunity, and that’s great. You always to create an opportunity where guys can learn from whether it is good or bad. There will be learning from that,” Du Plessis said.