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Batsmen dominate 1st fortnight of IPL 2024

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has once again taken cricket enthusiasts on a rollercoaster ride of thrilling matches. After the end of the second week, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are the only undefeated teams in the competition. The five-time champion Mumbai Indians (MI) is at the bottom of the points table and yet to register their first win.

Till now, this season has been about explosive batting, with mammoth scores being put on the board. There have been two 270- plus totals already, and no longer is the coveted 200- run mark regarded as a safe score. One notable team making waves this year is the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who revamped their coaching staff and welcomed back franchise veteran Gautam Gambhir.

His return has sparked praise from experts and fans alike, especially following KKR’s dominant and unbeaten run in the first three matches. Beyond the victories, it’s the commanding manner in which KKR has vanquished its opponents that underscores the squad’s growing confidence and determination.

KKR batsmen have shown remarkable aggression, consistently pummelling opposition bowlers to post imposing totals. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SH) made headlines just the previous week by setting a record-breaking score of 277, a feat that appeared unassailable until Kolkata Knight Riders threatened to break the record when they put up 272 against Delhi Capitals. KKR opener Sunil Narine showcased his prowess with the bat, scoring a blistering 85 off just 39 balls, while Andre Russell’s quickfire 41 off 19 added the finishing touches to KKR’s explosive batting.

The other team at the top of the table, Rajasthan Royals (RR), has been equally formidable. Unlike KKR, Rajasthan has not just been a battingdominant side but has also been the best bowling team in the tournament so far. In their first couple of matches, they were able to defend totals under 200, and then restricted the powerful MI side to just 125 for 9 to win their third match on the trot.

Trent Boult has been in excellent rhythm, making run-scoring in the powerplay rather difficult against RR. He took three quick wickets against MI to derail their batting effort. Yuzvendra Chahal has also shot into the limelight just before the T20 World Cup. His six wickets from three games have come at an impressive economy rate. These two have been the pillars of RR bowling who have transformed RR into a lethal outfit which can lift the trophy this IPL!

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has stamped his authority as the leading run-scorer of IPL 2024, crossing the 200- run mark after four games for Royal Challengers Bengaluru. While his team has had a modest start to the season, Virat has made a resounding comeback, assuring his berth for the T20 World Cup team. With two half-centuries under his belt, Kohli leads the batting charts ahead of Riyan Parag of Rajasthan Royals and Heinrich Klaasen of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The Purple Cap is currently held by Mustafizur Rahman of Chennai Super Kings, who leads the wicket-taking charts with seven scalps from three games at an impressive economy rate of 8.83. Following closely is Mohit Sharma of Gujarat Titans, also with seven wickets but from four games. However, it’s the young sensation Mayank Yadav of Lucknow Super Giants who has caught everyone’s attention with his express pace, claiming six wickets from just two games at an astonishing economy rate of just 5.12!

Mayank’s exceptional shows, which included bowling deliveries above 150 kph consistently to dismiss key players, earned him two consecutive Player of the Match awards. He has earned praise from Glenn Maxwell, who was one of his victims, and has compared Mayank’s raw pace with ex-Australian pacer Shaun Tait. But overall, this season has so far belonged to the batsmen. Even KKR star pacer Mitchell Starc stated that it has been difficult to contain runs given the size of the grounds, and the T20 format can be brutal on bowlers.

For Indian cricket fans, the most heartening aspect of this season is the return of Rishabh Pant to competitive cricket following his car accident. Despite Delhi’s struggles in IPL standings, Pant’s stellar performance has brought smiles to the faces of cricket lovers all over the world. Overcoming adversity, Pant has been in fine form and has already scored two 50s in four matches. Importantly, he has kept wickets in all the matches, and his trademark shots have not only showcased his batting range but also alleviated concerns about his fitness. With the T20 World Cup in sight and the Test series with Australia at the end of the year, India would be hoping for peak Pant form and fitness.


Siddhaarth Mahan The writer is a specialist on Sports and Cinema who works as an actor in the Hindi film industry

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