In another eventful week, we have been treated to blockbuster action that had everything- from nail-biting finishes to surprises to astonishing individual displays, both with bat and ball and in both winning and losing causes. We look at the most potent 11 only made up of Indian players that made impressive contributions to their team’s cause.
Some of these players have consistently found themselves in the top-performing 11 while others made a mark for the first time with some telling contributions. As we approach the business end of the league phase where the race for reaching the playoffs will be heating up, franchises will be hoping for more such impactful contributions.
1. Shikhar Dhawan
The evergreen Shikhar Dhawan became only the second player to amass 6,000 runs in the IPL after Virat Kohli which is a testament to his consistency and longevity. He produced a man of the match performance against CSK with a boundary laden unbeaten 88. Although he had a rare off day against LSG, he still remains one of the most reliable openers capable of playing any role the team requires. He remains the thread that holds an explosive PBKS lineup together, and will be expected to make an impact every innings.
2. KL Rahul
The only batsman providing any competition to runaway Jos Buttler for the Orange Cap, KL Rahul hit another scintillating ton- 103* against hapless MI (his second of the season). Rahul’s prolific performances in this season haven’t come as a surprise to anyone, reiterating the standards he has set for himself. The talisman will be hoping to lead his new franchise to their and his first ever IPL crown, and has the much needed support and depth in his team to excel as a captain as well.
3. Hardik Pandya (c)
Hardik Pandya has been a revelation this IPL, taking to captaincy like a fish to water and shutting down his critics with his impactful performances with bat, ball and as a leader. He has been good enough to play both as a pure batsman and pure bowler in a GT squad that looked thin and inexperienced on paper but are now sitting at the top of the table well into the halfway stage of the tournament. Coming in at number three against KKR, he made another impressive match-winning contribution of 67, as he climbed to no.3 in the Orange Cap race.
4. Nitish Rana
One of the classy India hopefuls with a hefty price tag who made a slow start to the season, Rana has finally hit the ground in the last few matches although still being unable to cause an upturn in KKR’s fortunes. He hit his second fifty of the season, with a quick-fire 57 against DC, the only bright spot that gave a dismal KKR innings some respectability. He would hope to make more such contributions as the season approaches its business end.
5. Ambati Rayudu
Another evergreen player, the 37 year old was at his dynamic and destructive best despite a wrist injury, as he got CSK to within touching distance of a win against PBKS. The middle-order batter has been a mainstay of the two most successful IPL franchises throughout his career and showed us again that he has no intentions of slowing down yet. Rayudu remains a key cog in a faltering CSK line-up and will hold the key to their end of season fortunes.
6. Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
Coming into the side for a faltering Matthew Wade, Saha played an outstanding innings that also turned out to be a match winning contribution. While not the most flamboyant, the 37 year old showed he still has some years of cricket left in the tank. With GT light on wicket keeping options, Saha has potentially cemented his place in the team and it wouldn’t be surprising if we see more such telling contributions.
7. Rahul Tewatia
The man with the golden finishing touch – the man from whom fans are regularly expecting the impossible, Rahul Tewatia was at it again as he helped GT pull off another heist against a strong SRH bowling lineup chasing a steep target. The left-handed batter has been in tremendous touch already winning a few games for GT all by himself. Primarily viewed as a bowling allrounder, he has done justice to the faith Gujarat have shown in him, playing him at five. His unbeaten 40 ensured GT stay on top of the table with a 2 point lead.
8. Arshdeep Singh
Often having gone under the radar, Arshdeep is finally raising heads with his consistent and disciplined performances, especially at the death. Arshdeep put in another solid and extremely underrated performance at the death against CSK which helped Punjab to a narrow win in a game that was slipping away from them. While not amongst the wickets, Arshdeep has almost always been economical.
9. Umran Malik
Umran Malik has wowed everyone with his searing pace, bowling the fastest delivery in every match he has played but it has been his impeccable accuracy and maturity that would’ve impressed fans even more. He was at his destructive best, albeit in a losing cause, as he picked up all 5 wickets to fall in Gujarat’s innings, including cleaning up 4 batsmen with his pinpoint accuracy and express pace. He has just gotten better and better as the tournament has progressed and is potentially on the selector’s radar to form a mouth watering bowling partnership with Jasprit Bumrah in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
10. Kuldeep Yadav
Once an integral part of India’s limited overs set up, Kuldeep has continued an amazing renaissance this season and has kept on impressing selectors and fans alike. Fired up once again against his former franchise, Kuldeep picked up another 4 wicket haul (his second against KKR this season) to climb to second on the leading wicket takers list with 17 scalps, providing stiff competition to his spin twin Chahal. He has also managed to keep the runs down and has clearly been the standout bowler for the Capitals, proving to be an absolute bargain.
11. T Natarajan
Bouncing back from injury amidst a lot of doubt, Natarajan has been at his fluent best this season. His consistency has been standout, as he picked wickets in every innings he has bowled, barring the last one when he had a rare off-day against GT. He was the chief destroyer of the RCB line up as he picked up 3-10, helping SRH get a massive boost to their NRR which will definitely be more relevant as the season progresses.