Just a few days old, the Indian Premier League 2017 has already thrown a lot of surprises at us and we have witnessed a couple of nail-biting encounters as well.
The first match between defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and last year’s finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore might not have been as entertaining as expected, but the 2nd match between the Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians surely made up for it with the match going down to the penultimate ball.
We have seen some entertaining and exceptional batting and bowling performances over the past 5 days. There have been some cricketers who were expected to perform well, but failed to do so and on the other hand, we have seen some surprise performances.
In this article, we take a look at the team of the week after the first 7 matches of the season.
Chris Lynn – There was a lot expected of this 27-year-old big-hitting Australian and he did not disappoint as he smashed his way to an unbeaten 93 of just 41 deliveries to help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash the Gujarat Lions in their first match of the season.
His knock included 6 fours and 8 sixes and he was involved in an 184 run partnership with Gautam Gambhir which turned out to be the highest ever opening wicket stand ever in IPL history. He wasn’t as explosive in the second match against the Mumbai Indians but he still managed to score 32.
Unfortunately, he is set for a lengthy lay-off after he injured his shoulder while fielding in the second innings of the match against Mumbai.
Rishabh Pant played an exemplary knock of 57 in his first match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and almost single-handedly took his side to victory but unfortunately was dismissed in the very last over.
What made his knock even more special was that he had just come back from performing his father’s last rites in his hometown Roorkee the day prior to the match. In a side filled with players with a lot of experience, Pant was the only one who showed a lot of maturity in his batting performance.
With the form he has shown over the past 12 months, he could go on to challenge for the top scorers of the tournament.
Moises Henriques has undoubtedly been the best batsman for the Sunrisers Hyderabad after their first two matches. He has scored two half-centuries in two matches and has helped the Sunrisers achieve a victory in both the matches.
His knock of 52 in 37 balls against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of the season went unnoticed due to Yuvraj Singh’s heroics. In the 2nd match against the Gujarat Lions, he formed a 108 run partnership along with David Warner to help his side achieve an easy 9 wicket victory.
Kedar Jadhav has been the standout batsman in an average Royal Challengers Bangalore batting line-up. He threatened to take the game away from SRH in the first match but was cut short by a brilliant piece of fielding by Ben Cutting.
However, he proved his worth in the match against Delhi with a match-winning knock of 69. With the absence of Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, he has carried RCB’s batting on his shoulders and could prove to be extremely vital for India in the ICC Champions Trophy.
Dinesh Karthik has had an exceptional domestic season prior to the IPL 2017 and carried his form into the tournament as well with two good performances for the Gujarat Lions. If he continues to perform the way he has over the past 12 months, he could make a strong point for himself to get picked for the ICC Champions Trophy.
Despite scoring a quickfire 47 in the first match against KKR, his side lost the match by 10 wickets. He followed that up with a steady knock of 30 in the 2nd match against the Sunrisers.
Lower Middle Order
Nitish Rana has been one of the surprise performers after the first two matches of the season. He has provided stability in the middle order of the Mumbai Indians after captain Rohit Sharma failed to impress.
In the first match against the Rising Pune Supergiant, he chipped in with a worthy knock of 34 in 28 balls but ended up on the losing side. However, a 29 ball fifty in the 2nd match against KKR helped MI achieve a nail-biting victory at the Wankhede stadium.
Hardik Pandya has proved his worth as a hard-hitting all-rounder as he finished the innings in style on two occasions for the Mumbai Indians. He brought the tournament to life by smashing Ashok Dinda for 30 runs in the final over of the first innings of their first match against Pune.
Unfortunately, they ended up on the losing side. However, an 11 ball 29 in the 2nd game helped Mumbai clinch a thriller against KKR. He has proved to be a good bowler as well and can even open the bowling given the chance.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has one of the best economy rates after the first week and has proved to be extremely successful by picking up wickets at regular intervals for his side.
He picked up the purple cap last season and with 4 wickets to his name in 2 matches so far this year, he could well be on his way to becoming the first person to win the purple cap in two consecutive seasons.
Rashid Khan is the first Afghanistan cricketer to take part in the IPL and has taken the tournament by storm with 5 wickets in 2 matches. He currently sits on top of the list of highest wicket takers and holds the Purple Cap as well.
He has bamboozled batsmen with his googlies and variations and will be looking to continue to be the strike bowler for the Sunrisers as the season progresses.
Imran Tahir went unsold in the IPL 2017 auction but was eventually picked up by the Rising Pune Supergiant just a few days before the tournament begun. With his performances in the first couple of matches, he could go on to challenge for the Purple Cap. He has taken 5 wickets in 2 matches at an economy rate of 7.12.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been the best bowler for RCB since the beginning of last season. He missed out on the purple cap last year and fortunately continued his good run of form into this year’s IPL as well.
He has a solid temperament and this holds him good stead and his record both home and away is brilliant. He has taken only 2 wickets in 2 matches but boasts a phenomenal economy rate of 5.12
Final Team: Chris Lynn, Rishabh Pant (wk), Moises Henriques, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (captain), Nitish Rana, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Imran Tahir, Yuzvendra Chahal