The third week of the Indian Premier League is over and as usual, we are back with our Saturday dose of fun of pulling off the team of the week. From the domination of KL Rahul to Harbhajan Singh turning the clock back and MS Dhoni finishing off the games, here is the IPL team of week 3.
KL Rahul: One of the elegant stroke-makers in the country, Rahul must be a relieved person after what had happened in the last week. A 55 against Chennai Super Kings was followed by two unbeaten innings of 71 and 100 against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians respectively. There is no real challenge to him in the week gone by and the dominating week also ensured that he was the first pick in the team of the week.
Faf du Plessis: The South African skipper is pretty much like the gangster player available among all openers. While the attack has been the world order this IPL, du Plessis resorted to the more traditional approach, yet remained successful in keeping CSK in the run-chase with composed 54 and 43* against Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively. He played cricket with brawn and combined with the fact that the team went on to win the game, Faf makes it to the team of the week.
Shreyas Iyer: When the chips were down, Iyer stepped up to the plate to ensure Delhi Capitals romped home in a canter. After Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed cheaply against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the kind of audacity Iyer showed while scoring runs all around the ground made his knock a special one. The backward point area helped him score more runs, which is indicative of the fact that he moved away from his terrible shot selection process. Also, there is no real competitor for him to be in this team than him.
MS Dhoni: It is a simple selection, isn’t it? MS Dhoni’s calculative mindset was on the show in the last week and the way he took the team to victory from the jaws of defeat was the validation of it. His presence of mind helped the Super Kings topple Kolkata in a game of wits and the plan was further validated against Kings XI Punjab, where his unbeaten 37 was at the centre of win. The best wicket-keeper batsman on the show last week, but I have the reservation of making him the captain after the way he stormed onto the field to argue with the umpire. I will go with Ashwin rather.
Kieron Pollard: After a seven-ball 17 set the ball rolling, a 26-ball unbeaten 46 against Sunrisers Hyderabad gave Mumbai Indians hope and Kieron Pollard vindicated all of them with a sublime 83 that not only changed the game on its head but also made sure that Mumbai could solve their middle-order problem by using the stand-in skipper in top four. He was brute force and that is how IPL has fallen in love with him, over the years.
Andre Russell: This IPL should dedicate itself to Andre Russell. What a tournament the man is having! After a struggling 50 against Chennai Super Kings, which was one gem of an innings for the way he took the responsibility and played according to the situation, the Russell power took Delhi Capitals by storm on Friday night. Although the team eventually ended up on the wrong side of the result, there was so much he could do. The pure calypso power has done enough to merit an automatic selection to this week's team.
Ravichandran Ashwin: For the sheer fact that Ravichandran Ashwin is ready to experiment and hasn’t thrown in the towel yet, he makes it to my team straightaway. The attitude of bringing variations regularly and then ensuring that he remained in the mad world for wrist-spinning pipped him from others this week. Against Chennai Super Kings, if one player kept Punjab in the game throughout, it had to be Ashwin, who marshalled his troop in the perfect manner and brought himself in the back end of the innings to spare three wickets.
Deepak Chahar: Has to be the best Indian pacer in this tournament so far and even though that can be attributed to MS Dhoni’s intelligent usage of him in the powerplay, one can't deny the audacity with which the CSK pacer bowled in the death in the couple of chances that he has got in the last week. Chahar was never famous for the way he operates with the old ball, but by bringing that side to the fore, he made himself the prime enforcer in the team.
Harbhajan Singh: Ageing like a wine, Harbhajan Singh has just put forward a strong message that if one has the zeal to perform, then age is no barrier. The Punjabi off-spinner had the trickery up in his sleeves and he used it in such a way that he not only rendered economical in his four-over spells, but also a nearly unplayable bowler. While the match-up was saying otherwise, by dismissing, Sunil Narine, Harbhajan just proved that T20 cricket is still about instinct and attack, hardly about geometrical planning.
Jofra Archer: If T20 cricket was only about picking wickets, then Jofra Archer might not have made it to the team. But in a team, which has been seeped into mediocrity this season, he has excelled single-handedly and ensured that Rajasthan Royals didn't throw the towel just like that and for that fact alone, the Englishman will make it to this week's team of the week. His performance against Chennai Super Kings was impressive, an economy of 4.50, but it was against KKR, he did his job to perfection. By only conceding 14 runs in 4 overs, Archer ensured that the Royals could afford to have a bad day for others.
Mohammed Shami: The Bengal pacer is a rhythm bowler and once he finds his feet, he becomes the kind of fast bowler one sees in dreams. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings, he was partly out of his rhythm, conceding a total of 71 runs in eight overs while picking just one wicket, but Shami personified his talent against Mumbai Indians. Against the Kieron Pollard-led team, he ended up picking three wickets for 21 runs, with a seam representation that would make Glenn McGrath proud for sure.
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