Marcus Stoinis has been a surprise in an otherwise sorry display by Kings XI Punjab. In the past few games, the Aussie has produced vital performances with bat and ball.
On Friday, his four-wicket haul broke the backbone of Mumbai’s batting and restricted them to 124 for nine. It was the latest in a string of solid performances from the Australian.
An unbeaten 34 had taken the side to within a run of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 174 in the previous game. Before that, his 52 against Delhi Daredevils saw the side post 181, their highest total of the tournament. All through, his contribution with the ball has been admirable. Against Delhi, he had scalped three wickets.
Against Mumbai, he shifted gear. With a carefully-disguised slower delivery, Stoinis effected four dismissals, including those of Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya, who were settling into a partnership.
Stoinis came in to bowl in the 11th over, but made an impact immediately. He claimed Nitesh Rana (27), who was Mumbai’s top scorer. In his second over, he sent back the dangerous Jos Butler, before crushing Mumbai’s hopes of a competitive total with the wickets of Pollard and Pandya.
After a few games, the 26-year-old was dropped from the side. After KXIP floundered, he was back in the XI. Stoinis has since enjoyed a bigger role in the side.
Last season, he was a part of the Delhi Daredevils, but did not get a start. Stoinis was the top-scorer in the Sheffield Shield in 2014 and has taken home the winners’ medal of the Big Bash thrice.
The performances have helped him get a call-up from the Australia side. However, in the lone ODI and T20I he has played, the performance been uninspiring.
The all-rounder has played just six games in the IPL so far, but has made an impact in the limited opportunities that have come his way.
In the past, Australia have given chances to players who have done well in the IPL, and they travel to the West Indies immediately after the league.
With three games left in the league stage, it will be interesting to see if Stoinis can maintain his all-round display. Kings XI would be hoping he does.