From left: Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Glenn Maxwell, Dwayne Smith and David Warner © IANS
T20 has always been batsmen’s game and Indian Premier League (IPL) throws up some sensational innings and fightbacks which script a turnaround for the teams. As the tournament came to an end with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) winning the title clash against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Sunday night, Abhijit Banare looks at the top 10 batsmen in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014.
Robin Uthappa: An Orange Cap winner had never won an IPL title. So Robin Uthappa gets thumbs up for that. In his first five matches Uthappa scored 97 runs and since then he moved up the order as an opener, the rest is history. Uthappa scored 563 runs in the other 11 matches at an average of 51.18. Kolkata Knight Riders’ change in fortune ran parallel to Uthappa’s success in IPL 7. He gave solidity to the batting while the bowling was always KKR’s strong point.
Suresh Raina: This is a déjà vu season after season. Raina has been the all-time highest scorer. He has scored 400 plus in each season of IPL. It was expected of the Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) No 3 batsman to fire once again. Raina was consistent in CSK’s fluent run but the big innings came when it mattered the most — CSK taking on Kings XI Punjab in the second qualifier. He could have very well scored the fastest century ever but the joyride was cut off after 25 balls with 87 runs to his name.
Glenn Maxwell: Ridiculed as the million dollar baby in the last IPL, Glenn Maxwell lit the IPL 7 on fire. Right in his first match of the season, Maxwell bludgeoned a 43-ball 95 as Kings XI Punjab chased down CSK’s 205 with ease. Maxwell’s purple patch continued and CSK bowlers, especially Ravichandran Ashwin coming under special treatment. Maxwell single-handedly carried KXIP to victories in many matches. With three 90s and one 89, Maxwell will rue to have a missed a ton four times! Nevertheless, he has now played two consecutive IPL finals.
Dwayne Smith: He was a vital cog in the victory of Mumbai Indians (MI) last season with over 400 runs. However, his aggressive style of batting was yet to meet with consistency and CSK gambled by picking him as the opener. Dwayne Smith rocketed right from the first match. Along with Brendon McCullum, they crushed the hopes of opposition on more than one occasion. The platform they set with the aggressive starts was enough for an already impressive CSK line-up.
Brendon McCullum: Part II of CSK’s opening success. While McCullum’s batting position was experimented with during the business end of the IPL, along with Smith, McCullum gave solid starts for CSK. McCullum scored 406 runs at 31.15.
Lendl Simmons: Probably some a handful of West Indians noticed that someone called Lendl Simmons had been called up as replacement for an equally unknown all-rounder for Mumbai Indians named Jalaj Saxena. By the end of the tournament, Simmons has catapulted his reputation as a fine player in the shortest format. In just eight matches he scored 394 runs at an average of 56.28. With his success, MI’s hopes of qualifying to playoffs kept getting better and better. He also slammed the first hundred of IPL 2014.
David Miller: He stunned everyone with his 38-ball hundred against Royal Challengers Bangalore last season but the best of David Miller was not seen. While Maxwell blazed away right from the start, Miller was the more consistent of two along with George Bailey. Miller scored 446 in 16 matches batting mostly at No 5 and was elevated to No 4 during the last few matches of the tournament. Unlike the notion of ‘in the arc out of the park’ Miller displayed an impressive balance between defense and aggression.
David Warner: He was shuffled in the batting order throughout the season but Warner was most successful in the middle order for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). He remained the top run-getter for teams that didn’t qualify for playoffs. In 14 matches, Warner scored 528 runs at an average of 48 with six fifties to his name.
Karun Nair: One of the finds of this season from the uncapped players’ category. Rajasthan Royals (RR) were once again successful in unearthing an exciting talent. Karun had already made his name hitting a ton in the Irani Trophy. But the IPL provided the platform to get noticed on the big stage. The delightful part about his batting was the elegance with which he scored runs. There was no wild slogging or the innovative T20 shots; reminded more of Ajinkya Rahane’s composed manner.
AB de Villiers: With a misfiring batting unit around him, AB de Villiers was once again Mr. Dependent for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). De Villiers most famous knock will be the unbeaten 89 against Sunrisers Hyderabad which included the match-winning 24-run over off Dale Steyn. In 14 matches, de Villers hit 395 runs.
Some of the other batsmen who impressed were Suryakumar Yadav whose cameos gave good boost towards the end of the innings for KKR. Rohit Sharma came into his own for MI in the Indian leg of the tournament. Manish Pandey was spectacular at the start and ended on a high with that superb 50-ball 94 in the final. Yuvraj Singh was on a roll and looked at his usual best going on a six-hitting spree. JP Duminy was an unsung hero as his team Delhi Daredevils came at the bottom yet he scored 410 in 14 matches.
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)