Rishi Dhawan has been consistent with both bat and ball for Kings XI Punjab © PTI
The first leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) got over on Wednesday with Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad clashing in the 20th match of the tournament. There have been many heroes and zeroes for the IPL sides in the first phase of the IPL 7, but also there are unknown players who have made a strong mark. Devarchit Varma lists them down.
The IPL was initiated in 2008 to bring a global platform in front of the Indian audience, who could see the international cricket stars playing alongside their favourite national icons in the shortest format of the sport. What IPL also provided to those who were new and unknown, and since then there have been many such players who have impressed.
The first leg of the IPL 2014 in UAE has also witnessed some very good performances from the unknown players, who are now expected to make it big when the tournament resumes in India on May 2. Yuzvendra Chahal, Lokesh Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and few more are the stars in the IPL 7 so far. Let’s take a look:
Yuzvendra Chahal has been a key bowler for Royal Challengers Bangalore © IANS
Yuzvendra Chahal: The right-arm spinner spent lot of time warming the bench in the Mumbai Indians camp. The rare feat of making his name among the newsmakers came for him in the final of the Champions League T20 2011 final against the Royal Challengers Bangalore when he had returned figures of 3-0-9-2. Chahal had been a part of Mumbai camp for a long time, but he never got enough opportunities to showcase his talent. In fact, before the IPL 2014, he had played only one IPL match. But all this had no effect on the Haryana youngster as he claimed seven wickets in five matches in IPL 7’s UAE edition. The leg-spinner bowled with tremendous discipline and control, tying down the opposition batsmen to play a key role in RCB’s two wins in five matches.
KL Rahul: A lot of attention was on the Karnataka top-order batsman after he played an immense role in his state’s successful run in the recent past. Rahul has a solid batting technique and can score easily on both the sides of the wicket. The good run in the domestic cricket has given him the necessary fuel to do well in the IPL 7, and he has not disappointed. With 118 runs at a healthy average of 29.50, the right-handed batsman has proved that he can play at the top-level and needs to be nurtured well.
Suryakumar Yadav: Mumbai’s Suryakumar Yadav was earmarked for success since a long time, and IPL 2014 could be the tournament where he enters the big league. With his extraordinary style of batting (he seems to make a mockery of field placements every time), Yadav has done well for the struggling Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) outfit. After a sluggish start to the tournament, he has picked up well to contribute significantly in KKR’s batting performances.
Sandeep Sharma has won back-to-back Man of the Match awards for Punjab © PTI
Sandeep Sharma: A member of India’s 2012 Under-19 World Cup winning squad, Sandeep Sharma too has had a successful IPL so far in the IPL 2014 with the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Sandeep has claimed as many as seven wickets in just three games, and the most important performance being his figures of 3-1-15-3 in the clash against a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In the match against KKR he had claimed three wickets for 21 runs. Sandeep is turning out to be a revelation for KXIP, and he carries lot of significance for them as the tournament heads into the Indian leg.
Akshar Patel: with six scalps in five matches, Akshar Patel has risen to the occasion on the big stage. His consistent performances with the ball has proved that Kings XI Punjab have it in them in this season to go on to win the tournament. The left-arm spinner has been a vital cog in KXIP’s bowling line-up, and his impressive show has provided Punjab some much needed strength in the spin department.
Rishi Dhawan: With four wickets in as many matches, Rishi Dhawan may have not been among the top wicket-takers in IPL 2014 so far, but his impressive economy rate of 6.15 has helped KXIP to make it five wins on a trot. He has been impressive in his line and length, and has not allowed the batsmen to score freely off him.
Kane Richardson took the wickets of AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh off successive balls against the Royal Challengers Bangalore © PTI
Kane Richardson: When Kane Richardson came out to bowl in the tie against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), not many could even identify him as he sported a heavy beard. With six wickets in four matches, the right-arm Australian pacer is perhaps one of the only unheralded overseas players to have made a strong mark in the ongoing IPL 7. He played a key role in Rajasthan Royals’ crushing win over RCB, wherein they had shot out the opponents for a mere 70. Richardson took the wickets of AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh in quick succession.
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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)