IPL 2017 Stars of the week: Batting blitzkrieg

The final few league phase games from the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League provided enough entertainment.

Ambati Rayudu wielded the willow with panache for Mumbai Indians on his return from groin Injury against Kolkata Knight Riders   -  K. R. Deepak

Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad sealed the top two spots to earn themselves a double chance at making the final, while Kolkata Knight Riders and Rising Pune Supergiant secured the other two play-off berths. We take a look at the top performers from the final round of league phase matches.

Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad sealed the top two spots to earn themselves a double chance at making the final, while Kolkata Knight Riders and Rising Pune Supergiant secured the other two play-off berths. We take a look at the top performers from the final round of league phase matches.

The final few league phase games from the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League provided enough entertainment. The matches saw some spectacular batting — from Suinil Narine, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha and Glenn Maxwell — unimaginable collapse from a position of dominance (Gujarat Lions), spirited bowling — from the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar — and multiple matches that went the distance. We take a look at the top performers from this round of matches.

Ambati Rayudu (Mumbai Indians)

Mumbai Indians had long sealed its place in the play-offs and its last league matched afforded the team an opportunity to cement the top spot. MI thought it wise to give a match-fit Ambati Rayudu — who suffered a groin injury during the team’s first match of the season and hadn’t played since — a chance to wield the willow against Kolkata Knight Riders. And he did it with panache. The right-handed batsman took time to find his flow, but effortlessly upped the tempo and battered the bowlers from the 16th over to the finish, scoring 63 runs (37 balls) to guide his team to 173. The score proved to be just enough and Mumbai won by nine runs.

Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders)

If opponents had thought that they had unravelled the mystery of Sunil Narine the spinner, Kolkata Knight Riders decided to unleash the batsman in him, and that too as an opener this season! In a match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the West Indies player tore apart Samuel Badree and S. Aravind to race to his half century in just 15 balls and equal the record for the fastest fifty in the IPL. By the end of the Powerplay, he and his opening partner, Chris Lynn, had erased 105 of the 159-run target. There was nothing down-in-the-dumps RCB could do thereafter.

Wriddhiman Saha (Kings XI Punjab)

Trust the IPL to make even the most conservative of batsmen go bonkers. This time, it was Kings XI Punjab’s wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s turn to satiate his beastly wishes with the bat. Promoted to open the innings against Mumbai Indians, Saha scored four fours from the first seven deliveries he faced. It was a sign of things to come as he matched the destructive Martin Guptill and Maxwell in terms of strike rate to wreck the Mumbai attack. Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga bore the brunt of Saha’s viciousness. Saha notched up an unbeaten 93 as Kings XI reached 230, its highest total this season.

Mohammed Siraj (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

In a must-win game for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Gujarat Lions was coasting to a mammoth total. The team had posted 111 for the loss of one wicket at the end of the 12th over. Mohammed Siraj, who had conceded 22 runs in his first two over, bowled the 13th, and picked up the wickets of Ishan Kishan and opposition skipper Suresh Raina. He followed it up with the wickets of James Faulkner and Pradeep Sangwan to finish with figures of 4-32, as Gujarat succumbed to 154.

Rahul Tewatia (Kings XI Punjab)

Rahul Tewatia played his first match of the season for Kings XI Punjab against the visiting Kolkata Knight Riders in Mohali on May 9. He was called in to bolster the spin department of a batting-heavy Kings XI in the must-win game. After chipping in with valuable 15 runs (unbeaten) at No. 8, the leg-spinner supplemented it with the crucial wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa to finish with a match-winning effort of 2-18 as his team successfully defended a modest total of 167/6 to stay alive in the tournament.

Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Daredevils)

It was yet another season of disappointments for Delhi Daredevils as it missed out on a play-off berth. The team, however, can take heart in the performances of its young Indian batsmen. After Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson’s heroics in the previous match against Gujarat Lions, it was Shreyas Iyer’s turn to impress. Chasing a difficult target of 196 against Gujarat Lions, Delhi kept losing wickets at regular intervals. But Iyer marshalled the lower order effectively, sharing a 61-run partnership with Pat Cummins for the seventh wicket. He fell for 96 in the last over, but Amit Mishra ensured the attacking batsmen’s efforts didn’t go in vain.

Compiled by Anjana Senthil (IPL matches from May 7-14)

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