Every Indian Premier League (IPL) season there are some players we expect to do well, and some players who surprise us. There are players we have doubts over, and those from whom we expect great thing but they fail to deliver. Here we take a look at some of the stars and the flops, the hits and the misses of the 10th edition of the IPL.
The English all-rounder came into this IPL under a mountain of expectation after he was snapped up for a record Rs 14.5 crore and boy did the fiery Englishman deliver! After a slow start, Stokes showed off his all-round brilliance with several key bowling spells, particularly at the death, some physics-defying catches in the outfield, and a swashbuckling 103 not out of just 63 balls against Gujarat Lions. Stokes’ match winning hundred rescued his side from 10/3 and led the chase of 161. No doubt he justified his hefty price tag.
Afghanistan leg-spinner was one of the unknowns heading into the tournament but he will leave the IPL with everyone knowing his name. The 18-year-old bowled with maturity and skill beyond his years, and his lack of experience didn’t hinder him under the bright lights of the IPL. Rashid’s quick arm action and pace through the air made his variations very difficult to pick and he finished the tournament with 17 wickets and a brilliant economy rate of 6.62.
Jasprit Bumrah is just one of many Indian seamers who impressed during the IPL. Bumrah has earned himself a spot in the Indian limited-overs squads in recent years and cemented himself as his country’s death bowler. In IPL 10, Bumrah enhanced his reputation as a man for clutch situations and has now arguably taken over the mantle from Mumbai Indians teammate Lasith Malinga as the pre-eminent death bowler in world cricket. Where Bumrah really impressed was when captain Rohit Sharma turned to him early in the innings in search of wickets and he delivered with 20 wickets for the tournament.
Delhi Daredevils youngster Rishabh Pant came into the IPL on the back of an astonishing first-class season where he scored 907 runs at 81 with a strike rate of 107. Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan placed a lot of faith in the 19-year-old along with other young Indian batsmen Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair and while Pant wasn’t consistent, he showed he is a star of the future with a few eye-catching innings. His 43 ball 97 against Gujarat led Delhi’s chase of 208 in just 17.3 overs featured nine towering sixes and displayed his immense hitting power. However, it was his 57 in a losing cause against Royal Challengers Bangalore just hours after his father’s funeral that showed the strength and the character of the young man. One to watch for the future.
Sunil Narine — the opening batsman
The IPL has always been a place for innovation and Kolkata’s decision to open the batting with Sunil Narine as a pinch hitter when Chris Lynn went down with a shoulder injury proved to be an inspired one. Wanting someone to provide impetus at the start of the innings in Lynn’s absence, Gambhir turned to the West Indian and he delivered a series of fast starts. His moment of glory came when, batting with Lynn, he outshone the big-hitting Australian and scored the IPL’s fastest fifty of just 15 balls against RCB. Narine has made his name as one of the best T20 spinners in the world, but now opposition teams will be wary of his flashing blade as much as his magic fingers.
RCB and their ‘Big Three’
Royal Challengers Bangalore are always a pre-tournament favourite, largely thanks to their top order that features superstars Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers are a formidable and daunting prospect for any bowling attack, but in this year’s IPL they were more feeble than feared. Captain Kohli and De Villiers’ tournaments were hampered by missing games early through injury and while both showed glimpses of their brilliance, they were well under the high standards they set for themselves. Gayle was dropped throughout the tournament and the self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ failed to find the form that his made him arguably the best T20 batsman of all time.
Australian all-rounder James Faulkner has long been regarded as one of the best limited-overs players in the world, but in recent years it appears the left-armers tricks have been worked out. When Dwayne Bravo was ruled out of the tournament with a severe hamstring injury, Gujarat would have hoped the Tasmanian could fill the all-rounders slot but Faulkner failed spectacularly. He took only six wickets in eight matches with an economy rate just under 10 runs an over. Batsmen have now worked Faulkner out, and his go-to back of the hand slower ball is now being played as if it is his stock delivery and being punished. Faulkner’s batting was just as bad as his bowling, he contributed just 54 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 94.73.
That India’s big Test quick went unsold was not surprising, given his meagre returns in limited-overs cricket and tendency to leak runs at an alarming rate. That Kings XI Punjab then called Ishant up as an injury replacement for Murali Vijay was more baffling. As expected Ishant struggled when called upon, but the extent of his troubles was perhaps more shocking. Ishant played six matches for Punjab, went wicketless, and conceded 179 runs at 9.94 per over.
In a tournament where spinners across the board were quite successful, Delhi will be disappointed in the returns of the experienced Amit Mishra. His 10 wickets in 14 games came at an economy rate of 8.83 but it was the manner in which Mishra bowled any time he came across a big-hitting batsmen that was most disappointing. The wily leg-spinner resorted to firing out flat deliveries out the front of the hand in an effort to avoid being hit, rather than being brave and tossing up his leg break and googly. His tactics allowed batsmen to play him with ease and negate his influence.
The South African southpaw has long been one of the pillars of Kings XI’s batting, and even captained the side in 2016, but his poor returns in the 2017 edition exacerbated Punjab’s lack of batting leadership, leaving too much to the likes of Hashim Amla. Miller scored just 83 runs in five games at the less than impressive strike rate of 103.75. Often coming in at five or six Miller struggled to score and accelerate the run rate against spinners on slower surfaces.
IPL 2017 was another fantastic and entertaining tournament full of some great cricket, as well as head scratching moments and monumental stuff ups. Some players like Hashim Amla and Bhuvneshwar Kumar enhanced their reputations, while others floundered. Like every tournament there were stars and flops, hits and misses, and these were just a few of them.
Updated Date: May 23, 2017 08:27:27 IST