Is your club’s expensive signing flopping? Is the 20 lakh bargain tearing it apart? Is your IPL franchise’s marquee player injured? Well, it’s time to find it all in this week’s #IPLWatch. From Pollard to Rashid, we give in-depth info about how ‘your’ IPL club’s players have fared thus far in CPL.
Chennai Super Kings
Dwayne Bravo - 5 wickets at an ER of 7.78
After starting the tournament off in rather inauspicious fashion, returning figures of 2/118 in the first three games, DJ Bravo turned up the heat in the second week of the tournament versus the Zouks and the Warriors, against whom he combinedly returned figures of 7-0-3-30. Like Dhoni, TKR’s club captain Pollard, too, has been using Bravo exclusively in the latter half of the innings and this is something that will please the CSK camp, who will view CPL 2020 as a warm-up of sorts for their talisman. What will, however, concern CSK is the lack of game-time for Bravo with the bat, given he has, thus far, faced just three balls all tournament.
Imran Tahir - 11 wickets at an ER of 6.41
Dwayne Bravo’s performances might be encouraging, but there is every reason for the CSK management and the fans to be on cloud nine over the form of Imran Tahir. Predominantly bowling as the first/second change bowler - sometimes even in the powerplay - Tahir has been a revelation for Guyana this season. Aside from bucketing wickets aplenty, the veteran has, thus far this CPL, kept the noose tight on the batsmen and has made life difficult for them by mixing up his pace and variations. After six games, he stands tall as the second-best bowler in the competition.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell - 116 runs at SR of 116; 3 wickets at ER of 8.18
If the 4 games he’s played thus far in CPL 2020 is anything to go by, then Andre Russell is far from the best version of himself. Across the 100 balls he’s faced thus far, Russell has perennially struggled to time the ball to perfection and the same haunted the Tallawahs in their first game against the Warriors, where the Jamaican, chasing 119, played seven consecutive dots and failed to get his side over the line. The good thing for KKR is that Russell is, at least, getting to spend ample time in the middle. His fitness remains a concern, nevertheless.
Sunil Narine - 4 wickets at ER of 4.58 and 111 runs at SR of 135.36
Before we get to the good part, there will be a few nervous faces in the KKR camp sweating over Narine’s fitness, given he’s missed each of TKR’s last 3 games due to an undisclosed injury. What they won’t be bothered about, however, is the all-rounder’s form. It won’t be an overreaction nor will it be erroneous to call Narine the MVP of CPL 2020. With the bat, opening the batting, the KKR man struck two match-winning fifties in the 3 games he played and with the ball, he conceded under 20 in each of the 3 games. If anything, he’s looked too good for the CPL. Fair to say, if fit, Narine will open the batting for KKR in their first encounter.
Chris Green - 5 wickets at ER of 6.20
Heading into CPL 2020, there were question marks surrounding Green’s effectiveness with his new, remodelled action but the Aussie has put everything to bed with his performances in the first half of CPL 2020. While an ER of 6.20 in T20 cricket is remarkable in itself, what’s more astonishing about Green’s returns is that in each of Guyana’s first six games, he took the new ball for his side. He might not be a starter for KKR, but Green sure has done his best to capture the club and the fans’ imagination with his showing thus far in the CPL.
Kieron Pollard - 132 runs at SR of 206.25
The Windies’ showing post the 2019 WC showed that Pollard is someone who thrives as captain and the first half of CPL 2020 has reaffirmed the same. Barring the fact that TKR have gotten off to a perfect start (6/6 wins) under his captaincy, Pollard has been outrageously good with the bat this season. His 28-ball 72 versus the Tridents on Saturday is already being talked about as one of the greatest T20 knocks of all time and playing the role of the finisher, Pollard has, thus far in this CPL, looked the best he has in ages. More incentive for Mr Ambani to tie the Trinidadian up to a lifetime contract.
Chris Lynn - 73 runs at SR of 121.66
In stark contrast to Pollard, Chris Lynn’s form will be a major cause for concern for Mumbai. He has averaged a meagre 12.16 in his first 6 games - with a high score of 19 - and he has, in all fairness, been found out. On five of the six occasions, Lynn has been dismissed by spinners and given the IPL will be played in not-so-different, slow wickets in the UAE, you suspect teams will now use the spin-ploy versus Lynn, should MI decide to field the Australian. He is someone in desperate need of a turnaround in the second half of the tournament.
Sherfane Rutherford - 38 runs at SR of 79.16
For Mumbai, there is not much to infer from Rutherford’s performances other than the fact that he is not a very good finisher - yet. Predominantly asked to bat at No.7 for the Warriors, the youngster has struggled to get going and that he’s hit just 4 boundaries in 48 balls paints a sorrow picture in itself. What will equally rankle Mumbai is Rutherford not having bowled a single ball all season. Expect him to warm the bench for most of the IPL season, then.
Mohammad Nabi - 9 wickets at ER of 4.80; 120 runs at SR of 144.57
In fact, I take my words back about Narine. Mohammad Nabi has been the true MVP of CPL 2020. Astonishingly, Nabi, opening the bowling, has conceded under 20 runs in each of his six games and it was only three days ago that he became the first bowler to clinch a five-wicket haul in CPL 2020. What’s absurd is that he has been equally destructive with the bat and has had a winning hand in at least three matches. It’d be pretty fickle of SRH to not pick Nabi in their first game of the season.
Rashid Khan - 8 wickets at ER of 7.42
By his own world-class standards, Rashid has had a quiet tournament of sorts. Unlike his compatriot Nabi and even unlike the likes of Green, Tahir and Narine, Rashid has struggled to find control throughout the tournament and has uncharacteristically leaked plenty of boundaries. What will encourage SRH, however, is that he has, nevertheless, continued picking wickets in spite of leaking plenty every now and then. Like Lynn, Rashid would also be hoping for a much better second half of the season.
Kings XI Punjab
Sheldon Cottrell - 4 wickets at ER of 8.25
Kings XI Punjab showed enormous faith in Sheldon Cottrell by shelving INR 8.5 crore for the left-armer in the auction, and fair to say his form, heading into the IPL, is not so encouraging. After kick-starting the tournament in trademark fashion, with a fine 2/16 versus the Tridents, Cottrell’s form fell off a cliff in the succeeding three games and the left-armer returned underwhelming figures of 2/116 after the bright start. He has both failed to strike with the new ball and has struggled to keep the run-flow in check at the death and this has resulted in him largely rendering ineffective for his side. KXIP will be hoping for a quick turnaround from the Jamaican.
Mujeeb ur Rahman - 13 wickets at ER of 3.87
Mujeeb might have blown hot and cold for KXIP in his IPL career but make no mistake, he will enter IPL 2020 as the hottest property of the entire tournament. Through his skiddy variations, the Afghan youngster has made a mockery of the entire CPL and has mind-bogglingly maintained an ER of 3.87 whilst opening the bowling. Such has been Mujeeb’s metronomic, proficient consistency that he has conceded over 15 runs in his spell just twice all tournament. You suspect he has already booked a place for him in KXIP’s starting XI for their first match.
Nicholas Pooran - 106 runs at SR of 117.77
Nicholas Pooran’s form in this CPL has been a massive disappointment, but after looking scratchy in his first three games, he did show glimpses of his best in his 68 versus the Zouks - this is something that will encourage the Punjab camp. While Pooran has undoubtedly been a shadow of his own self, it is also hard to put the blame entirely on him, for Guyana have also failed to extract the best out of him by sending him in at No.5, below Ross Taylor. Perhaps KXIP can correct the wrongs of Guyana come IPL 2020 and get the best out of the southpaw.
Sandeep Lamichhane - 9 wickets at ER of 4.83
Sandeep Lamichhane, like a Nabi or a Mujeeb, might not have opened the bowling for his side, but he’s been every bit as effective as the other slower bowlers. The youngster, after six matches, boasts the third-best economy rate in the competition and he has particularly used his googly to great effect, to bamboozle the batsmen. What will encourage Delhi is that he’s shown exquisite control throughout the tournament. A mouth-watering Lamichhane-Ashwin partnership might just be on the cards.
Shimron Hetmyer - 169 runs at SR of 131
After a bludgeoning start to the competition, scoring 71 and 63* in the first two games, Shimron Hetmyer racked up three single-digit scores and a 26 in his next four games and this is something that will concern the Delhi Capitals camp. What will also concern the Capitals is Hetmyer’s fitness, which did not please bowling coach Samuel Badree too much, as the leggie borderline fat-shamed the southpaw on air. Given the Aussies are set to take on England next week, Hetmyer, in the second half of CPL, might directly be competing versus Marcus Stoinis for a spot in DC’s first XI.
Keemo Paul - 7 wickets at ER of 6.70
Keemo Paul was quite the utility player for Delhi in IPL 2019, and with his performances thus far in CPL 2020, he has given Shreyas Iyer every reason to once again consider him to be a part of the first team. 7 wickets at 6.70 are very good numbers for a seamer, but it becomes all the more greater when you consider the fact that Paul predominantly bowls at the death. His off-cutters and knuckle-balls have been a handful for the batsmen in the slow and low Trinidad wicket and you imagine he’ll be more than a handful on similar wickets in the Middle-East.
Oshane Thomas - 0 wickets at ER of 14.00
Rajasthan re-purchasing Oshane Thomas for 50 lakh was considered a ‘steal’ by many, but it has taken all of 3 overs from the West Indian this CPL to hurt his own chances. That the speedster was left out by the Warriors in 4 of their 6 games this season speaks volumes of how badly Thomas fared in the chances he was offered. No excuses, really. Andrew Tye and Tom Curran must be having a wide grin on their faces.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Fortunately or unfortunately, RCB are the only side to have no squad members partaking in the 2020 edition of the CPL. They will, however, have multiple players in action in the bilateral series between Australia and England, so stick around, we shall be back with RCB updates next week.