Chin up, young man … Cricket world rallies around Kwena Maphaka after IPL ‘baptism of fire’

Cricket legends Kevin Pietersen and Dwayne Bravo have backed Kwena Maphaka, pictured, to learn from his experience after the teenager took a beating in his Indian Premier League debut on Wednesday night.

The cricket world rallied around young Kwena Maphaka after the teenager took a beating in his Indian Premier League debut for Mumbai Indians on Wednesday night.

The 17-year-old went for 66 runs as Sunrisers Hyderabad amassed a record 277/3 in their 20 overs, which was in large part thanks to an unbeaten 80 by Heinrich Klaasen.

After starring in this year’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup, and a few impressive performances in the CSA T20 Challenge, much is expected from Maphaka, who is still in Matric at St Stithians in Johannesburg.

St Stithians is also the alma mater of Proteas fast bowling icon Kagiso Rabada.

One of those who offered a word of encouragement to the Matric schoolboy was West Indies legend Dwayne Bravo, who posted on Instagram: “Keep your head up Champ! Kwena Maphaka I’m sure you will definitely bounce back and don’t let this one off game make you start to doubt yourself,it’s a great challenge for you and you will only get better as the tournament goes on!”

This was followed up by England cricket legend Kevin Pietersen, who said: “I hope Kwena Maphaka wakes up this morning extremely proud of what he achieved last night.

“There are many seasoned international campaigners that try their level best to get picked up in an IPL auction and just at the age of 17, yes 17, he made is debut as a foreign player.

“Forget your figures and love what you achieved.

“You go, buddy!”

Earlier on Thursday, Proteas legend Dale Steyn came under fire on social media for his comment on X regarding Maphaka’s debut.

“Maphaka realizing the difference between U19 and PRO league.

“Baptism of fire.”

On Thursday, Steyn said he hoped the youngster would learn from his experience.

“I woke up feeling for Kwena Maphaka today, but I know he’s surrounded by some amazing people at MI and he’s gana (sic) be absolutely fine,” wrote Steyn.

“His first experience, regardless of result or performance, should still be the most amazing cricket experience he’s ever had.

“At just 17, it’s only upwards from here.

“Well done young man.”

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