IPL has just been over a week old and there have been already been many thrillers that had made fans glued to their seats. Chennai Super Kings have provided the best thrillers, taking the match to the last over in all their encounters so far. On the other hand, Mumbai Indians have lost all their matches so far in the last over. Cricwizz has compiled a ‘Team of the Week’, taking into account all the in-form players in the past one week.
Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul
Both players have been in terrific form in the second week of IPL. Dhawan of Sunrisers Hyderabad has rode his luck to score 130 runs in 3 matches. He has been ruthless, striking 22 fours and one six in three innings, the most by any player in terms of boundaries and more. Rahul seems like he has a point to prove as he has been repeatedly ignored for India in limited-overs series. He raced his way to fastest fifty in IPL, hitting a 14-ball half-century against Delhi. He has scored 135 runs so far in three innings.
Samson has been consistent in all the three games so far, hitting scores of 49, 37 and 92* in three innings. His 92* against RCB was extremely brutal as he cracked 10 sixes during the knock. He takes the No 3 slot in this playing XI. He averages 89.00, the best so far among top run-getters.
AB de Villiers
Except for the last game against Royals, ABD has had a decent outing in the first two matches, hitting scores of 44 and 57. His 57 helped RCB post a win over KXIP. He has smacked 10 sixes, the third best so far. ABD’s brilliant fielding has always been an asset to the team.
MS Dhoni (Captain/keeper):
It requires the calm presence of ‘Captain cool’ MS Dhoni to script two last-over wins, while the third match was just lost by 4 runs. Dhoni led from the front in the clash against KXIP, but just failed to finish things off. Otherwise, Dhoni led admirably, restricting KXIP from posting a total beyond 200. In the previous two games, Dhoni too had done well to marshall his ageing players to script memorable win. His keeping too was excellent behind the stumps.
Bravo gets to be part of this team as he struck a match-winning 68 against Mumbai Indians in the opener. In the next clash against KKR, he scored valuable 11 runs in the last two overs to take the team through. In the clash against KXIP, he bowled a superb last over to concede just 4 runs and restrict Punjab below 200. It was excellent death bowling.
Narine as opener was devastating in the first clash against RCB. He struck a 17-ball 50 to win the match for his team. His bowling was also top class, taking 4 wickets @ 16.00 with an economy rate of 5.33. Narine should have been continued as an opener, but KKR erred in making him bat in the lower order against SRH. KKR lost the match.
Mujeeb ur Rahman
Mujeeb edged past Rashid Khan to take the spinner’s slot in this playing XI as he has been more consistent than his Afghan teammate. He bowled well in all the three games, and except for the ABD onslaught in his last over, he kept Punjab in the hunt. He took the wicket of Virat Kohli with a blinder, a sharp off-cutter turning sharply to hit the stumps. In the clash against CSK, he came up with bowling figures of 0/18 in 3 overs when all his teammates were going for boundaries and sixes. He has just three wickets to show, but all his victims have been top-class batsmen.
He has been the find of the tournament. He has taken 7 wickets and almost won the game for Mumbai Indians against Sunrisers. He enjoys an average of 12.57 and economy rate of 8.00, which is commendable for a leg-spinner. He has flummoxed top international batsmen such as Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan with his variations and the googly. Markande has a bright future.
He played two matches out of three, but was brilliant in both the innings. He was difficult to score off both in powerplay and death overs. He has four wickets to show for his efforts, but he contributed much more in restricting the opponents from scoring freely. His knuckle balls are difficult to read and score off.
SRH have been blessed with quality bowling line-ups and Kaul stands out despite all the riches around. He took five wickets in three matches. But what stood out for him was his control over his line and length. Mumbai Indians were going hammer and tongs before Kaul took two wickets in Ishan Kishan and Evin Lewis in one over to bring SRH back into the game and restrict the opponents to 147/8. Kaul has been outstanding so far.
IPL 2018: Team of the Week
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mayank Markande, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul.