Every year, the Indian Premier League (IPL) brings to the fore some unknown names who make a mark for themselves. This season as well, some relatively lesser-known players have impressed with their performances so far. Here’s a closer look.
Yuzvendra Chahal: The young leg-spinner has been among the few bright spots for Royal Challengers Bangalore this season thus far. With his variations and accuracy, he has troubled most opponents, including some big international games. Even Glenn Maxwell couldn’t outdo him when Kings XI Punjab last met Bangalore. In eight matches, Chahal has claimed 10 wickets at an average of 18.4 and a strike rate on similar lines. His economy rate has also been highly impressive at a little under six. Chahal has constantly chipped away at wickets and, so far, has a best of 2 for 17.
Sandeep Sharma: While Punjab have performed excellently this season thanks to some stupendous batting from Glenn Maxwell, they have also been aided to a big extent by the medium pacer’s probing bowling. On a couple of occasions when the batsmen have failed to deliver, Sharma has been their match-winner. He has the precious ability to move the ball around, and Sharma has proved to be lethal with his swing and accuracy. With 13 wickets in 6 matches, he has been one of the best medium pacers in the event so far. Sharma has grabbed his wickets at an average of 12 and a strike rate of 10. His economy rate of 6.9 is also highly acceptable while his best performance has been 3 for 15.
Akshar Patel: The slow left-arm orthodox bowler from Kings XI Punjab has complemented Sandeep Sharma perfectly in IPL 7 so far. In eight matches that Patel has featured in, he has claimed 7 wickets. And while those are not a lot of wickets, he has mostly kept things tight, not allowing the opponents to go after him. His economy rate of 6.4 has been excellent. While Patel has maintained a strike rate of 26, his average has been 27.5. He has picked up two wickets in a match on three occasions, with a best of 2/16.
Karun Nair: TheyoungRajasthanbatsman has been among the many bright spots for the team in this season. In five matches, he has notched up 138 runs at an average of 34.5 and a strike rate of 124. Nair had a disappointing start to the series with a few low scores, but he made a scintillating unbeaten 73 against Delhi Daredevils, and followed it up with an impressive 44 against Kolkata. Seems like Rajasthan have discovered another young talent.
Suryakumar Yadav: Kolkata Knight Riders have found a good lower order bat in Yadav. He has played some very good cameos for the side and, importantly, in quick time. In 8 matches, he has compiled 127 runs at a strike rate of 138 and an average of 42. Yadav’s key contributions include 24 not out against Bangalore, 34 against Punjab and 31 against Rajasthan.
--By A Cricket Analyst