For the first time, a mid-season transfer window will come into effect in the IPL starting from Sunday.
Under the rules of the transfer window, teams will be allowed to exchange uncapped players as well as those who have not played more than two matches at the half-way stage of the IPL.
Here, we take a look at five such players who could be in demand.
JP DUMINY (MUMBAI INDIANS)
South Africa’s leading run-scorer in T20I cricket has rarely been called upon by defending champions Mumbai Indians so far with Saturday’s win over Chennai Super Kings being his first appearance of the season.
In his 78-match long IPL career, the left-hander has amassed nearly 2,000 runs at an average of 39.9. This wealth of experience makes him a smart buy for any franchise looking for a stable batsman at the top of the innings.
ALEX HALES (SUNRISERS HYDERABAD)
The destructive England batsman has an impressive strike-rate of over 143 from 173 T20 innings and has all the big shots in the locker to upset any bowling attack. While Sunrisers’ bowling riches make him an afterthought, Hales could yet play a starring role with a bat for teams lacking firepower.
Hales played his first game for the Sunrisers on Sunday and looked good – either way, he will be itching to make his mark whether he stays put or leaves for another franchise.
MOEEN ALI (ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE)
Another Englishman who has failed to get a single game so far, Moeen’s all-round abilities should make him a no-brainer for most IPL sides.
The 30-year-old can strike the ball as clean as anyone with his classical shot-making while his hand off-spinners make him a decent wicket-taking option. After a poor Ashes series, the IPL could just be the tonic needed to express himself once again.
SANDEEP LAMICHHANE (DELHI DAREDEVILS)
The leg-spinner made history by becoming the first Nepal player to earn an IPL contract but so far, he has only been warming the bench.
He might be only be a 17-year-old but the wrist-spinner’s performances during Nepal’s meteoric rise of late have been exemplary. Just like Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for Kings XI Punjab, Lamichhane could surprise a few people if given the opportunity by any IPL franchise.
ISH SODHI (RAJASTHAN ROYALS)
The New Zealand leg-spinner was brought in as a late replacement by Rajasthan Royals but is yet to play a single game. Sodhi is currently ranked fourth in the ICC T20I bowlers’ rankings and has been a steady performer for the Blackcaps in the limited-overs set-up.
With wrist-spinners thriving in the IPL, the 25-year-old will definitely be generating some interest and he could yet play a big part in what is his first-ever tournament in India.
Having been set a target of 170, the visitors looked like they had lost their way before they got it together once again to cross the finish line with two balls to spare.
RAINA SHOWS HIS WORTH AS OTHERS FAIL
While Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina had set up Chennai nicely for the death overs, the former’s dismissal took the sting out of the hosts’ batting. In-form MS Dhoni got off to a good start (26) but he and Dwayne Bravo fell in quick succession as Mumbai staged a mini comeback.
There was no let-up from Raina’s end though as the most-capped player in IPL history continued to land the big blows from time to time. The 31-year-old notched up his 33rd IPL fifty in 35 balls before providing a strong finish to the hosts with a six off the last delivery.
He remained unbeaten on 75 off just 47 deliveries with the help of six boundaries and four towering sixes.
POLLARD’S INCREDIBLE RUN COMES TO AN END
Kieron Pollard has long been a mainstay for Mumbai in the IPL but it has not gone to plan for the West Indies all-rounder in 2018. The 30-year-old had only managed to register a combined total of 63 runs in five innings heading into Saturday’s clash. Pollard has also shied away from bowling duties this year which has seen calls for his axing only increase with each passing day.
Hence, it was only inevitable when Rohit Sharma named a Mumbai playing XI sans Pollard ahead of Saturday’s clash with the defending champions staring down the barrel.
His place in the side was taken by Australian all-rounder Ben Cutting. It meant that Pollard’s incredible run of 33 consecutive appearances for the franchise came to an end.
McCLENAGHAN’S DOUBLE-STRIKE JOLTS CHENNAI
At 143-2 and with the well-set Raina and Dhoni at the crease at the end of the 17th over, Chennai were inching towards a huge first-innings total before Mitchell McClenaghan threw a spanner in the works.
The Kiwi pacer dismissed Dhoni with a full toss with the first ball of the 18th over to give Mumbai some relief. With Dwayne Bravo replacing the skipper at the crease, there was no shortage of explosiveness in the Super Kings’ arsenal.
McClenaghan wasn’t having any of that though as he hurtled a sharp bouncer which Bravo could only miscue to Mayank Markande at point. Those two quick wickets by the New Zealander broke Chennai’s momentum as they could only muster 169-5 in their 20 overs after being in a very dominant position.
ROHIT SHARMA RETURNS TO FORM WITH CAPTAIN’S KNOCK
Chasing 170, Mumbai Indians had started circumspectly but with surety. Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis had given the side a solid start but by the time the latter departed with the score at 128-2, the asking-rate was nearing 11 runs an over.
Hence, the pressure was well and truly on an out-of-form skipper Rohit to see his side home. The Indian vice-captain did just that, producing a fabulous knock under pressure as he brought up his 31st IPL fifty. The right-hander smashed four boundaries in five balls in the penultimate over bowled by Shardul Thakur to pave the way for Mumbai’s second victory in the tournament.
Rohit remained unbeaten on 56 (33) and the abundant relief on his face was evident as the visitors notched up the winning runs.
Since they got their stuttering campaign back on track with a last-gasp win over the Mumbai Indians, the Royals will have been out of action for exactly a week come Sunday.
On the other hand, Kane Williamson’s Hyderabad will be playing their third match in the same time-frame and are on an impressive run with two top-notch victories under their belts.
FORTRESS JAIPUR TO THE FORE
Such has been the Royals’ dominance at Jaipur that their seven-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this season seems like an aberration. Just when it looked like they would lose two matches on the bounce at home, Krishnappa Gowtham turned the game against Mumbai on its head with a stunning cameo.
That means that the Royals have now won 10 of their last 11 games at ‘fortress Jaipur’ and as such, the Sunrisers will have their task cut out despite their red-hot form at the moment.
SUNRISERS’ BOWLING A CLASS APART
In their last matches, the Sunrisers bowling unit has had paltry scores of 118 and 132 to defend. They have managed to do both with gusto, recording a 31-run win in the former and a 13-run victory in the latter. What is even more impressive is that they have done both despite the injury-related absence of pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
While Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan has been the indisputable star in these wins, the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Shakib Al Hasan and Basil Thampi have all made equally valuable contributions as Hyderabad’s bowlers continue to develop a fearsome reputation.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Having started the season on fire with the bat, young Sanju Samson endured a lean patch before bouncing back into form with a half-century against Mumbai. The Kerala man has been the most consistent batsman for the hosts and he will be key once again for them on Sunday against a world-class Hyderabad bowling attack.
Meawhile, Rashid has turned it around splendidly since being taken for some runs with two match-winning spells of 3-19 and 2-11 in his last couple of outings to strike the fear back into the minds of the batsmen. He is looking like the star man for the franchise currently and all eyes will once again be on him on Sunday.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Heinrich Klaasen, Jofra Archerk, K Gowtham, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi, Sidharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma.