With the 12th edition of the IPL well underway, we have a look at the second game of the tournament. KKR and SRH, both have some genuine match winners on either side and here are a few you need to watch out for.
Following the underwhelming start to the Indian Premier League last night where we witnessed probably one of the most one-sided opening games in the history of the IPL. Fans of the tournament will be hoping that the second game would live up to the high expectations the IPL has set for itself across the years. So here are a few player battles in the KKR vs SRH game that could see the quality of the game increase exponentially.
Sunil Narine vs Bhuvaneshwar Kumar: The battle at the Top
Over the last couple Seasons of the IPL Sunil Narine has proved himself as a quality all-rounder who not only bowls a disciplined four overs but someone who is extremely explosive at the top. Narine is absolutely fantastic in the powerplay overs and has very often gotten KKR to a blistering start. The onus will be on SRH strike bowler Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who is easily one of the best new ball bowlers in the IPL, to stop Narine from exploiting the field restrictions in the first six overs. This player battle will set the tone of the game and is a battle a lot of us will be looking forward to.
Andre Russell vs Vijay Shankar: Which All-rounder will prevail?
Andre Russell is probably the best all-rounder the Indian Premier League has ever seen. Bold statement, but just have a look at his numbers for KKR, 890 runs in 50 games in the IPL at a mind-blowing strike rate of a 177.29 to go with that Russell has 44 wickets with an average of 28.43. These are some special numbers but the SRH will be hoping that new acquisition Vijay Shankar can come out on top in the all-rounder battle. Shankar is a relatively inexperienced IPL player having bowled only 6 overs in his whole career and has scored only 313 runs. But his recent exploits with bat and ball for the Indian team have really set the expectations high for the 28-year-old. This all-rounder battle will be an exciting one.
David Warner vs Shubman Gill: Critical phases for both players
A peculiar player battle I know, but hear me out. I would tout these two batsmen as the most important batsmen for their respective sides and not only based on skill but also based on the phase in their career. David Warner has almost won everything the game has to offer but post his year-long suspension, Warner enters a very critical juncture in his career where he would be looking for redemption and also has the perfect opportunity to prove his point. Gill, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the spectrum a 19-year-old with a bundle of talent. Gill is almost India’s prodigal son, the heir to the Kohlis and Sachins, not to put any pressure on the teenager but these comparisons have come out before. Gill and Warner will have a point to prove and to show that they belong here and for that, there is no better stage than the IPL
Brendon McCullum gave the perfect start to IPL when he recorded the first century of Indian Premier League in the very first match of IPL season one in 2008. He scored a blistering 100 from just 53 deliveries and remained unbeaten on 158 off 73 balls. His innings included 13 sixes and 10 boundaries. It was just a matter of time for Kolkata Knight Riders and they won the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore by 142 runs.
Then Appeared The Pathan
During a match of IPL 2010, after a daunting total of 212 by Mumbai Indian, Rajasthan Royals were struggling at 66 for 4 in 9.2overs. Yousuf Pathan appeared on the occasion to change the course of the game. He smashed 100 off 37 balls with 9 fours and 8 sixes. It was for him that Rajasthan almost won the match but Yusuf got run out suddenly and Rajasthan lost the match by 4 runs only. His gripping innings took all the attention and he was awarded the man of the match despite his team losing the match.
It rained briefly, then it rained sixes and never stopped. Chris Gayle, take a bow! 175* (66b 13×4 17×6), unlikely to be ever breached #RCB
During IPL 2013 Chris Gayle played an incredible knock when RCB had won the toss and opted to bat first. Gayle scored the fasted Twenty 20 hundred in just 30 balls and scored unbeaten 175 off 66 balls. Royal Challengers Bangalore put a mammoth target of 263 for Pune Warriors. It was also the highest individual T20 score that included 17 sixes and 13 fours. After Gayle’s blast and destructive batting, it was an easy match for RCB and they won it by a huge margin of 130 runs. and posted 263/5 in 20 overs.
The deciding match between CSK and KXIP at Wankhede stadium in IPL 2014 saw a mesmerizing century from Virender Sehwag that helped Kings XI Punjab to score a mammoth 226 in 20 overs. While chasing with the required run rate of 11 at the start of innings, Chennai Super Kings seemed to lost the match after losing their first wicket in the very first over. Then came Raina; and scored an incredible 87 off just 25 balls in the first six overs. His innings included 12 fours and 6 sixes. The game suddenly seemed very easy for CSK but they lost the match after losing Raina’s wicket.
Manish, The Anchor
In IPL 2014 finale Kings XI Punjab scored 199 runs in 20 overs with an unbeaten 115 off just 55 balls from their wicketkeeper-batsman Wrisshiman Saha. In reply, Kolkata Knight Riders came to chase their second IPL title and lost their dependable bat Robin Uthappa in the first over. Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey took the charge and added 53 runs partnership for the second wicket. Gambhir was dismissed for 23 but it didn’t affect Manish’s momentum. He continued to play the role of an anchor while losing his partners at regular intervals. He scored 91 off just 50 balls to ensure KKR’s second IPL victory.
Unstoppable Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has played for only one franchise since the inception of IPL when he was picked up as U-19 star by Royal Challengers Bangalore, just after leading U-19 Indian cricket team to a world cup win. In next 11 seasons he had many memorable performances for the team but definitely, the highlight was 2016 season where he scored 973 runs with four hundreds. His 113 against KXIP is his highest T20 score and a phenomenal effort. In a rain-curtailed match, the pressure was on Kohli and Gayle to make a total which should not be too easy for the chasing team. What followed was absolute carnage, when Kohli reached his 100 in 47 balls, with 12 fours and 8 sixes. RCB reached 211 in 15 overs with the run rate touching 14 runs per over.
Delhi Daredevils remains one of the perennial underachievers of IPL and finished last two seasons at the sixth position. DD have a young team and after treading some of their young players for Shikhar Dhawan.
Now Delhi Daredevils have a solid top order in IPL with Dhawan, teen sensation Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Colin Munro. The bowling is their weak link. DD lack a quality spinner and their pace attack consisting of Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris and Trent Boult are injury-prone and may take time off keeping in mind the upcoming World Cup.
Following are the players Delhi Daredevils can consider in the auction:
One of the regular picks in IPL, Corey Anderson has played for multiple franchises including Mumbai Indians and RCB.
He was also part of Delhi Daredevil squad in 2017 with moderate success and can provide the balance in the middle order in Glen Maxwell’s absence. The owner of the record of fastest ODI hundred at a time, Corey can smash any bowling attack on his day.
For spin bowling, Adam Zampa will be a good option. Zampa also has prior experience of playing IPL for Rising Pune Supergiants in two seasons during one of which he has one 5 wicket haul.
Zampa had a successful World T20 in India with 5 wickets in the tournament, maximum for any Australian bowler. Zampa was also quite successful in Big Bash League and with all his variations can be an asset for any team.
In case, they want a cover for their premier all-rounder Chris Morris then Chris Woakes can be a very good like-to-like replacement.
Opening fast bowler and an attacking batsman, Woakes is generally a handy option for every stage of the game and can provide various options for the team management with respect to team combination and balance. Woakes was part of the last two IPLs for KKR and RCB respectively.
Another domestic spin bowling option for Delhi Daredevil to consider could be Axar Patel. Indian national team’s spinner is quite a good option in the shorter format of the game with his tight bowling, handy batting, and electrifying fielding.
Axar was a star for KXIP from 2014 to 2017 and was the only player to be retained before the 2018 auction. However, he is released before this season can be a good option for DD who would require a steady spinner to arrest the flow of runs in the middle order.
Rajasthan Royals performed quite admirably on their return in the IPL last year.
Foreign imports of RR especially Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer made a good impression and should provide a key contribution in 2019 also. Rajasthan Royals also have Steve Smith, who missed the last IPL due to his ban but still retained by the franchise before the 2019 IPL auction. They finished fourth last time and would surely like to improve in their position for which they can consider some of the below players in the upcoming auction.
Rajasthan Royals has released key batting options like D’Arcy Short and Heinrich Klaasen and can consider Root as a possible replacement. One of the best batsmen in the world, Joe Root is currently part of the fabled ‘Fav four’ and definitely going to become an English great by the time he retires.
Although he was not picked in the last IPL auction he has a good T20 record with a Strike rate around 127. His match-winning 83 against South Africa during last world T20 in Mumbai was a memorable inning which helped them chase 230 in 20 overs with ease. With Buttler and Ben Stokes in the top order, Root will surely find it easy to adapt and get along with the team.
One of the weak links for Rajasthan Royals was their pace bowling attack that resulted in a good amount of runs for oppositions and hence players like Jaydev Unadkat and Ben Laughlin were released. One potential replacement could be Mustafizur Rahman who himself was released by Mumbai Indians.
Although ‘Fiz’ has not performed as well as expected for MI, he is considered to be one of the better limited over bowlers when remaining fit. Earlier His spell with Sunrisers Hyderabad was a successful one and can provide the much-needed variety in Rajasthan bowling attack.
Another English player who can be considered for a pick by Rajasthan Royals team management is Chris Jordan. Jordan has experience of playing IPL for two different teams and also played in Big Bash League and Pakistan Super League.
A handy bowler and an attacking lower order batsman, Jordan is specialized in death-bowling and has many significant bowling performances throughout his career to show. He has been released by Sunrisers due to the multiple pace bowling options they have but Jordan’s recent performance shows that he can do a good job if he gets picked by any of the franchise.