The VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 has entered its second week and we’ve already witnessed some fine performances from players who are here with a point to prove. Even though there hasn’t been an individual 100 or a five-wicket haul yet, still there are a few players who have done exceedingly well and impressed one and all. Be it fiery cameos late in the innings, or some superb display of fast bowling, or even some breath-taking catches, these 12 days have seen it all.
The action now shifts to the humongous Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, where hosts the hosts Rajasthan Royals take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 15. Both the sides boast off an impeccable batting order and an-inform bowling lineup. Apart from the two teams competing with each other, it’ll also be interesting to see a few individuals performing for their teams on the big stage. Here are 5 players to watch out for in what promises to be another exciting encounter between two great sides.
1. Sanju Samson:
The Kerela batsman has been in red-hot form this season, having mustered 178 runs from three matches at an astonishing average of 89 and a strike rate of 163. In his previous encounter with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Samson scored a mighty 92* off just 45 balls which included 10 huge sixes. After three matches in the league, it looks like the Rajasthan batting order depends heavily on Samson to contribute with the bat, as the others haven’t yet performed to their potential.
2. Andre Russell:
The West Indian all-rounder entered this league after serving a one-year ban and immediately took everyone by surprise with his devastating knock off 88* off just 36 balls against Chennai in KKR. In the last match as well, against Delhi, Russell played a crucial cameo of 41 in 12 balls. He currently leads the charts for the highest strike rate (239.06) and most sixes hit (19) this year and forms an integral part of the bowling lineup as well.
3. Ben Stokes:
The prolific English all-rounder who was, for the second straight time, the most expensive player at the auction this year, is yet to prove his worth in the competition. With only 48 runs and just one wicket under his belt in 3 matches, Stokes will be itching to finally come to the party and deliver for Rajasthan. With some really fine batsmen around him, Stokes can afford to spend some time out in the middle and get used to the conditions before finally unleashing himself in the death.
4. Sunil Narine:
The Carribean Magician crossed 100 wickets in the IPL in his last match. Having picked 7 wickets in the four matches, at an unbelievable economy of 5.47, skipper Karthik uses him as a trump card in the crucial stages of the match where he comes in and breaks partnerships. With the bat, however, Narine hasn’t been able to replicate his performances at the top of the order, after his 50 off 14 balls against RCB in the first match.
5. Shreyas Gopal:
The Karnataka leggie, who’s modelled his action after his idol and fellow statesman, Anil Kumble, Gopal has been a very economical bowler so far in the IPl giving just over 5 runs every over. In the last match, however, Gopal turned the match around for Rajasthan after picking up the two big fish in the RCB batting lineup: Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in successive overs. The spotlight will now be on the 24-year old again, after he gave a match-winning performance in the last match.