Gibbs played his first game of this year’s IPL competition last week, having sat out due to a combination of a broken finger and Mumbai preferring James Franklin and Richard Levi, but if people thought the 38-year-old’s T20 career was on the wane, he quickly disabused them of the notion with a well-considered 66 not off 58 balls against the high-flying Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Western Cape star played the perfect supporting role to Rohit Sharma, who made a sensational century, as they added 167 off 106 deliveries for the second wicket, the third highest partnership in IPL history.
With Gibbs back to form a dangerous opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai now seem to have the batting to back up their powerful bowling attack and you would have to tip them as one of the favourites for the title.
It was another satisfactory week in terms of South African performances in the IPL, with lanky fast bowler Morne Morkel still top of the pole in terms of wickets taken.
Morkel locked down top spot by taking two wickets in three matches, although the Delhi Daredevils spearhead did go for more runs than he has previously, with figures of 1-35 against Kolkata, 1-32 against the Chargers and 0-31 against Chennai.
His brother Albie made an impressive return to action for the Super Kings after going home for Louis Vorster’s funeral, hitting two towering sixes as he lashed 18 not out off six balls as the defending champions beat the Rajasthan Royals in an exciting finish. He has also settled back nicely into his role of new-ball bowler, providing good support for Ben Hilfenhaus with figures of 0-19 in three overs against the Royals and 1-15 in four overs against the lethal Delhi Daredevils top-order.
Jacques Kallis continues to perform, without any airs or graces, for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
He starred with the bat in the loss to the Mumbai Indians, scoring 79 off 60 balls, although 40 runs would come off his four overs.
Kallis bowled superbly against the Delhi Daredevils, however, removing deadly openers David Warner and Virender Sehwag and conceding just 20 runs in his four overs, before scoring 30 off 27 balls in the succcessful run-chase and winning the man of the match award.
It would be an extremely frustrating week for South Africa’s other two major stars at the IPL – AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.
Because he is inexplicably being batted so low by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the marvellously in-form De Villiers would bat just once in his two matches and face just four balls, scoring nine not out.
Du Plessis did not play for the Super Kings last week due to illness and would like to climb back up the run-scorer’s table after initially holding the Orange Cap but now slipping down to 11th place.
Dale Steyn returned to action for the Deccan Chargers after a foot niggle and tried his best to deny the Punjab Kings XI victory in their thriller at Mohali, but his outstanding figures of 2-26 in four overs were not supported at the other end.
Off-spinner Johan Botha also returned to action and fine form for the Rajasthan Royals, bowling 12 overs for just 73 runs and taking three wickets, sending him into the top 15 of the most economical bowlers who have delivered at least 25 overs.
Other South African performances: Wayne Parnell – 2* & 2-0-12-1 Pune Warriors v Rajasthan Royals; David Miller – 28* off 18 balls Punjab Kings XI v Deccan Chargers; Juan Theron – 4-0-29-0 & 7* Deccan Chargers v Punjab Kings XI; JP Duminy – 13* off 9 balls Deccan Chargers v Delhi Daredevils; Alfonso Thomas – 4-0-46-0 & 7 Pune Warriors v Bangalore Royal Challengers; Roelof van der Merwe – 3-0-17-0 Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings.
Did not play: Marchant de Lange (KKR), Robin Peterson (MI), Faf du Plessis (CSK), Richard Levi (MI), Gulam Bodi (DD), Kyle Abbott (PK), Davey Jacobs (MI), Charl Langeveldt (BRC), Rilee Rossouw (BRC).