IPL 2018: Hits and Misses

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Rajasthan Royals team players Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson run between wickets during the IPL T20 cricket match against Delhi Daredevils team at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur , Rajasthan, India on 11th April,2018. (Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

IPL 2018: Hits and Misses

The Eleventh Season of the IPL is in full swing and an early report card shows the young Indian talents have impressed in the early stages of the tournament and the big buys have struggled to make an impact so far. Here are a few hits and misses from IPL 2018 so far:

HITS

Sanju Samson

The 23 year-old wicketkeeper has started the IPL in blazing fashion for the Rajasthan Royals. Bought for a huge sum of 8 Crores, Samson has justified his price tag so far. In five matches so far, Samson has scored 187 runs at an average of 46.75 with a strike rate of 155.83. In the Orange Cap list, the award for the highest run-getter in the season, the top-order batsman is second only to Indian and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli(201 runs).

Samson was at his best against RCB in Match 11 in Bengaluru where he made a scintillating 92* off 45 balls, hitting ten sixes in the innings which took his team to a mammoth score of 217/4. In the opening match of their campaign, Samson top scored with 49 in a rather abject display by the rest of the team. In Match 6, Samson was in great touch during his 22-ball 37. He has been a big success story in the early stages of IPL 2018.

 

Nitish Rana

One of the emerging players while playing for Mumbai Indians last season was Nitish Rana. Picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for 3.4 Crores at the Auction, Rana has been consistent with the bat and has been a trump card with the ball and already has two Man of the Match performances in five games. During the opening game, Rana bowled just the single over but prized out two of the biggest wickets in World Cricket: AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli of successive deliveries and followed it up with a 25-ball 34 to help KKR start the campaign with a win.
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In Match 13, the 24-year old hit a 35-ball 59 to take KKR to 200/9 against Delhi Daredevils. In Match 15, Rana again showed his effectiveness with the ball by picking the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and D’Arcy Short before steering his side to a comfortable win with an unbeaten 27-ball 35. Fourth in the Orange Cap list, Rana has scored 162 runs at an average of 40.50 with a strike rate of 138.46 and has taken four wickets at an average of 5.50 with an economy rate of 7.33. He has started the season very well and is integral to KKR’s title bid in IPL 2018.

 

Mayank Markande

The IPL always has an unknown player rise to prominence, and in IPL 2018 it is Mumbai Indians’ leg-spinner Mayank Markande. His season has been nothing short of magical so far. He is the current Purple Cap holder, the award for the most wickets in a season.

In four games, Markande has eight wickets already.

In the opening game of the season against Chennai Super Kings, Markande took 3/23 in a spell of fantastic spin bowling, including the dismissal of MS Dhoni with a delightful googly. He followed it up with figures of 4/23 in the next game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. While Mumbai have just won the single game so far, Markande has taken eight wickets at an average of 14.13 with an economy rate of 7.53. If Mumbai are to make a strong comeback, this 20-year old will have a big role to play.

 

KL Rahul

A change in scenery has seen KL Rahul play at his best so far. Joining the Kings XI Punjab for a huge fee of 11 Crores at the IPL 2018 Auction, Rahul has shown his aggressive best in his new role as opener. In the franchise’s first game of the season, Rahul made history by slamming the fastest fifty in IPL history, off 14 balls against the Delhi Daredevils in a brutal innings of 51 off 16 balls. He followed this with a 30-ball 47 against RCB and a 22-ball 37 against CSK.
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Seventh on the Orange Cap list, Rahul has scored 153 runs at an average of 38.25 with a strike rate of 171.91, the fifth best in the league.

With the Kings XI showing impressive form in the opening exchanges of the tournament, Rahul has quickly cemented himself as one of the key players for his side and he will be called upon when the season reaches it business end.

 

Andre Russell

After missing last season due to a doping test rule breach, “Dre Russ” has made a stunning comeback to IPL 2018 for the Kolkata Knight Riders. At his murderous best so far, the West Indian giant has league by storm with his brutal hitting.

In the second match of the season, Russell bulldozed his way to a 36-ball 88* against CSK, a knock which included eleven sixes and just one four. In Match 13 against Delhi Daredevils, Russell hit a belligerent 41 off 12 balls hitting six sixes in the process.

These exploits see him sixth on the Orange Cap list, scoring 153 runs at an average of 76.50 with a strike rate of 239.06, by far the best in the league. He has already hit 19 sixes in the tournament, the most yet. Yet to make a defining impact with the ball, Russell has more than made it up with his explosive batting. Russell is a big contender to finish the season as the tournament’s ‘Most Valuable Player’.

 

Misses

Ben Stokes

The most expensive player at the auctions for the second straight year, Ben Stokes is way short of the big impact he made last season at IPL 2018. Bought for a whopping 12.5 Crores by the Rajasthan Royals, Stokes has had a rather forgettable season so far. In five games, Stokes has just managed to make 107 runs at an average of 21.40 with a strike rate of 120.22.
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He has had a poor time with the ball, picking up just one wicket so far with an economy rate an expensive 10.63. With the Royals experiencing inconsistent form so far, Stokes need a quick turnaround for himself and his side and justify his huge price tag.

 

Jaydev Unadkat

Another big buy at the auction, Jaydev Unadkat was bought by Rajasthan Royals for 11.5 Crores, the most expensive Indian at the IPL 2018 auction. Unadkat has had a horrible time so far in his five games. He has only taken two wickets at a very poor average of 80.00 and has gone for 10.66 runs per over which means that he has neither picked up wickets nor has he contained the run flow.

With the big price tag on his head, the pressure of expectations has clearly got to Unadkat and Rajasthan will hope he rectifies his mistakes quickly if they are to make it to the playoffs.

 

Kieron Pollard

Mumbai Indians used their Right To Match Card on ever present Kieron Pollard at the IPL 2018 Auction and have yet to see the big man anywhere close to his best. Scoring just 33 runs in the four games so far, Pollard has been massively short of his high levels in previous seasons. Scoring at an average of 11.00, Pollard’s strike rate is very low too at 106.45.
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An all-rounder by trade, Pollard hasn’t been used with the ball so far this season. With Mumbai losing three in their first four games, Pollard has massively underwhelmed and will need to step up big time if Mumbai are to defend their crown.

 

Yuvraj Singh

What was billed to be a homecoming for one of the land’s biggest icons, it has been a rather painful watch so far. Yuvraj Singh, bought by the Kings XI Punjab for 2 Crores, has looked completely out of sorts in the four games he has played. The opening game of the season saw Yuvraj struggle in his innings of 12 off 22 balls.

His next two innings have seen him score 4 off 4 balls and 20 off 13 balls which aggregates to 36 runs in three games at an average of 12 and a strike rate of 92.31 in IPL 2018. Batting at number four, these numbers show a very poor picture of an absolute legend of the limited overs game.

 

Mohammed Shami

One of India’s best seamers in ODIs a little while back and an instrumental member of the Test side, Mohammed Shami has so far had a torrid time at IPL 2018. Bought by the Delhi Daredevils using the Right To Match Card for 3 Crores, Shami has been expensive and has not picked up many wickets too in his four games.

In these four games, Shami has taken only three wickets at an average of 48.00 with an economy rate of 10.40 which is extremely high. With Delhi’s bowling setup centred heavily around him and Trent Boult, Shami needs to pick himself up very soon for Delhi to turnaround their faltering season.

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