The Indian Premier League has reached its midway stage with Faf du Plessis firing on all cylinders, Rinku Singh achieving a miracle and MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings top of the table. AFP Sport pinpoints five highlights so far of the current edition of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament, which reaches its climax on May 28.
– Faf thwacks it –
Six-machine Faf du Plessis has lit up the competition for Royal Challengers Bangalore with a barrage of boundaries including one 115-metre (380-foot) missile into the stands.
The South African veteran tops the batting chart with 405 runs in seven matches, including five half-centuries, and has gelled with fellow opener Virat Kohli with two century stands.
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, also at Bangalore, has similarly been no slouch in the powerhitting stakes with 23 sixes behind Du Plessis’ 25 — the only two to go above 20.
For Chennai, India’s normally more sedate Ajinkya Rahane has been a revelation with a strike rate of over 199 in five matches, including an atomic 71 not out off just 29 balls.
The top-order batsman has earned a recall to India’s Test squad.
– Rinku phenomenon –
Batsman Rinku Singh became an overnight sensation with an incredible five sixes in the last five balls of Kolkata Knight Riders’ against-the-odds chase against a stunned Gujarat Titans.
The never-seen-before blitz, which conjured memories of the four sixes by West Indies batsman Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 T20 World Cup final off Ben Stokes, is the highlight of this IPL.
A son of a hawker, left-hander Rinku has risen from humble beginnings to IPL fame after being picked by two-time champions Kolkata for $97,000 in the 2018 auction.
Teammate Venkatesh Iyer called him “Lord Rinku” after the match-winning unbeaten 21-ball 48 and the 25-year-old followed up his performance with two half-centuries in the next four matches.
– Big buys sizzle –
Punjab made history by picking Sam Curran as the most expensive IPL player for $2.23 million and the all-rounder has more than delivered with some stellar performances including a match-winning 55 on Saturday.
England’s white-ball wizard has also led Punjab in three matches — two wins and a loss — in the absence of injured skipper Shikhar Dhawan.
Australia’s Cameron Green overcame some ordinary scores to hit 64 off 40 balls and took a wicket with his pace bowling for Mumbai Indians last week to live up to his $2.11 million price tag.
Exciting England batsman Harry Brook lit up the IPL with the first century of the season to set up a big win for Hyderabad, who bought the gifted 24-year-old for $1.6 million.
– Warner’s Delhi flop –
Delhi Capitals have now registered two successive victories but after five losses Ricky Ponting’s men remain bottom of the 10-team pile without injured talisman Rishabh Pant.
Skipper David Warner has been among the runs but admitted his struggles with a relatively poor strike rate of 120, well behind the likes of Du Plessis on 165.
After a scrappy first win, Delhi edged Sunrisers Hyderabad in their latest triumph and Warner remains hopeful of making it three in a row in his team’s bid for a first IPL title.
Another disappointment has been Chennai Super Kings’ England import Stokes, who scored seven and eight in the opening two games before being forced out with a toe injury.
– SKY falls in –
Dubbed “SKY” or “Mr. 360” for his all-round hitting prowess including the audacious scoop shot, Suryakumar Yadav smashed his first fifty of the season this weekend but has struggled to meet big expectations.
Suryakumar, previously a T20 sensation, started the IPL with scores of 15, one and a first-ball duck, before scoring a match-winning 25-ball 43 to bring some smiles to his fans.
He also came into the tournament on the back of three successive golden zeroes in the ODI series against Australia last month.
Was nevertheless named Wisden cricketer of the year for a superb 2022.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)