Monday, June, 17,2024


It’s been a thrilling 17th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) so far with recordbreaking totals, soaring run rates and countless sixes being quite the flavour of the season. As the race for the playoffs gets almost complete with three spots being clinched by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), the dominance of bat over ball has been more than obvious. In a virtual knock out clash, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) will battle for the final spot on 18th May.

Besides the humongous totals, this season will also be remembered for excellent consistency by some players. IPL 2024 so far has had 1,133 sixes, making it the season with the highest number of maximums. Yet, there have been a few bowlers who have made life difficult for batsmen.

Top on this list is Jasprit Bumrah. He is just 2 behind Harshal Patel with 20 wickets but has been phenomenal with his control all through. His average of 16.80 is the best but even his economy rate is stunning - 6.48! To understand it in a better perspective, this is the lowest among all bowlers this season!

In fact, Bumrah was the highest wicket-taker till Harshal crossed his tally in the last game. Experts suggest that might be because most batsmen try to play out the ‘dangerous Bumrah spells’ and not give their wicket away. It is a hallmark of his genius and control that despite that Bumrah still manages to scalp so many wickets. In a season where Australian pacers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are also present, it is Bumrah who has been the dominant fastbowler of the season!

Among the spinners, Varun Chakaravarthy has been brilliant along with Indian regulars- Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Varun has taken 18 wickets so far and will potentially take a few more since his team (KKR) is already in the playoffs. He has been one of the main reasons why KKR find themselves at the top of the points table. His mystery spin has bamboozled most batsmen.

While it has been a season of comebacks, fans would be happy to see the return of the KUL-CHA jodi back in action for the T20 World Cup. Kuldeep is in great form over the last year but Yuzi Chahal has made his presence felt due to his performance in this IPL. He has picked up 17 wickets so far but what is more impressive is the way he has taken those wickets. Chahal has invariably been introduced in the middle overs when there is a strong partnership on and the batsmen have got their eye in. He not only throttles the run scoring but also breaks set partnerships with his wily leggies.

Meanwhile, Kuldeep has been consistent and has 16 wickets but at a miserly economy rate of 8.6. Although his team, Delhi Capitals (DC) is out of the competition, Kuldeep’s contribution kept them in the race for the playoffs spot till the very end. Indian fans will pray that he maintains his bowling form in the World Cup as well.

But it’s the batsmen who have provided the special thrills. On the batting side, no one comes even close to the champion himself, Virat Kohli. Many doubted his credentials in the shortest format of the game but Kohli proved his detractors wrong once again by scoring 661 runs in 13 matches. This includes a century and 5 fifties and a strike rate of 155 to go with it. RCB were down and out in the middle of the season but Kohli’s brilliance dragged them back in the knockouts’ race. Now, he will once again be the key in the must win game against CSK to decide the final spot in the top 4.

Rituraj Gaikwad, Riyan Parag and Travis Head are the others in the run scoring list behind Kohli. But Head deserves a special mention for the sheer impact he has had for SRH at the top of the order. His 533 runs have come at an average of 53 but at a strike rate of 200! Australia will hope that he remains the ‘destroyer-inchief’ even in the T20 World Cup!

The most valuable player of the season, however, is Sunil Narine. He has 461 runs along with 15 wickets against his name. While he has been at the crease, KKR has posted mammoth totals despite the middle order not performing at their best. It is unfortunate that cricket fans will miss his presence in the World Cup since he has retired from international cricket and recently dismissed suggestions of any comeback. Given his exceptional all-round form, Narine may just propel KKR to their 3rd IPL title!


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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