As we reach the business end of the IPL group stage, it is time to highlight some of the competition’s best performers so far. We have witnessed some truly exceptional performances from some of the world’s most prolific T20 players in the United Arab Emirates.
From destructive batting to effortless balling and thrilling nail-biters, this edition of the 2020 Indian Premier League has already its fair share of incredible moments. While several elite players have lived up to their billing, this IPL has also allowed relatively unknown players to make an impact for their respective teams on the big stage. Here we take a look at five of the best performers of the IPL so far.
Kagiso Rabada – Delhi Capitals
Kagiso Rabada is often considered to be one of the best bowlers in test cricket. But his performances in this year’s IPL have shown that he is just as lethal in the shortest format of the game. The right arm pacer has a league-high 21 wickets to his name in just seven games at an average of 14.33 runs per wicket. He also has an economy rate of 7.58, not bad at all for someone who bowls the majority of his overs either in the powerplay or at the death.
His performance in Delhi’s Super Over win over Kings XI Punjab set the tone up for his side perfectly, and gave them the momentum to go on an impressive run which saw them win five of their first six games. And if Rabada can continue his excellent form over the coming weeks, Delhi will fancy their chances of finally ending their trophy drought in this year’s IPL.
Rashid Khan – Sunrisers Hyderabad
Rashid Khan has lived up to all the hype surrounding him once again, proving to the world why he is one of the best spin bowlers in the world when it comes to T20 cricket. The leggy from Afghanistan has been almost unplayable at times, conceding just 5.52 runs per over in the first nine games. He has also taken 11 wickets for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, making him one of the most impactful bowlers in the IPL.
His variations, accurate lengths and fast arm action make him a handful for even the world’s best batsmen. He is so good that opposition teams have now started to try and see out his overs instead of taking him on. There was talk of dropping him early in the season, but without him in the side, the Sunrisers Hyderabad would have already been out of play-off contention.
Rahul Tewatia – Rajasthan Royals
Tewatia has been the biggest surprise of the tournament so far, rescuing Rajasthan from improbable situations twice with the bat in hand. His incredible 31-ball 53 inspired the Royals to pull off an improbable heist against the Kings XI Punjab, as they chased down 223, the highest successful run chase in IPL history.
What makes that knock even more special is that at one point he was struggling at 8 runs in 19 balls. But then he struck five sixes past Sheldon Cottrell, and the rest is history. Tewatia then showed his composure under pressure once again, as he hit an unbeaten 45 to take Rajasthan from the brink to defeat to victory over the Sunrisers. Tewatia also has seven wickets to his name, including three key strikes in their opening game against Chennai.
It is not easy to stand out in a team which contains the likes of Steve Smith, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. But Tewatia’s performances have helped him go from an unknown entity to a household name in the space of only a few weeks, and they have meant that the inaugural winners of the IPL still have a chance of making the play-offs.
Yuzvendra Chahal – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Bangalore seem to have turned the tide in the IPL this year, and one of the big reasons behind their impressive run has been the form of leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal. The 30 year old has been one of the most consistent bowlers in the IPL, both in terms of wickers and economy rate.
He is the fourth highest wicket tacker in the tournament at the moment, with 15 wickets to his name at an economy of just 7.23. The aggressive spinner likes to take batsmen on, and his googlies, variations and ability to flight the ball mean that even the best of batsmen struggle against him. These attributes have made him the Royal Challengers’ strike bowler both in the early overs and at the death. And he has lived up to captain Virat Kohli’s trust by coming up with the goods time and time again.
KL Rahul – Kings XI Punjab
While the same cannot always be said about his captaincy, KL Rahul’s batting so far in the IPL has been exceptional and he leads the run scoring charts as of this writing. The Kings XI Punjab captain has scored 540 runs in just ten innings at a strike rate of 135.67, averaging 67.50, with five fifties and a hundred to his name. While some have been frustrated by his lack of intent in the early stages of his innings, Kings XI certainly would have been a lot worse off without his batting displays in the top order.
There are a number of other players who have made a big impact in the IPL so far this season, but just miss out in this list. Honorable mentions include Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan, Rajasthan Royals’ Jofra Archer and Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard.