IPL 2018: The best of Week 4 including batting, bowling, catches and surprises

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Prithvi Shaw has been the surprise package. Image - IPL/Twitter.

This year’s IPL has been one of the most entertaining in history and the past week’s action was no different.

Matches went down to the wire once again as Sunrisers Hyderabad established themselves as the leaders of the pack with 14 points.

Here, we take a look at the best of the bygone week in the IPL.

BEST INNINGS – KL RAHUL

Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals

KL Rahul has been in stunning form throughout the IPL this year but his match-winning innings of 84 (54) against the Rajasthan Royals on Sunday stands out for its sheer context.

Chasing a modest 153 to win, Kings XI Punjab were put under massive pressure by a desperate Royal who reduced the hosts to 87-4. Rahul had started his innings in explosive fashion but watching his partners depart one by one, he toned down his aggression to stabilize the innings. Once victory seemed near, he tore into the Royals’ bowlers once again with some big and clean hitting to take his side to a six-wicket win.

BEST BOWLING – RASHID KHAN

Sunrisers Hyderabad v Delhi Daredevils

Although Afghan teenager Mujeeb ur Rahman’s 3-27 against Rajasthan on Sunday was equally impressive, his compatriot Rashid Khan‘s spell of 2-23 in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s win over Delhi edges it due to the impact.

Delhi had raced away to nearly 100 runs in the first 10 overs before the Afghanistan leg-spin prodigy turned the game on its head. He dismissed the well-set Prithvi Shaw to spark Hyderabad’s comeback. Bowling as economically as ever, Rashid effected a run-out off his own bowling in his final over before dismissing the dangerous Rishab Pant. Delhi only managed to score 163 in the end as Sunrisers chased down the total with a ball to spare.

BEST CATCH – MAYANK AGARWAL/MANOJ TIWARY

Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals

The trend of mind-boggling catches in the IPL continued with Mayank Agarwal’s stunning effort against the Royals on Sunday to dismiss Ben Stokes. The English all-rounder smashed Mujeeb towards long-off and the ball looked destined to go over the ropes for a six before Mayank latched on to it just on the edge. The fielder’s momentum was about to carry him beyond the boundary but he showed amazing presence of mind to lob the ball towards Manoj Tiwary who had run in from long-on.

SURPRISE – PRITHVI SHAW (DELHI DAREDEVILS)

While big things have always been expected from India’s U19 World Cup winning skipper Prithvi Shaw, the way he has performed in his maiden IPL has been mighty impressive. The 18-year-old has been completely unfazed batting against the best international pros in the business and has had a remarkable week individually. He struck a 25-ball 47 against the Royals before smashing a belligerent 36-ball 65, taking on the highly touted bowling unit of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Clock ticking on Rajasthan Royals as Kings XI Punjab come calling once again

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Royals need to win all their remaining matches. Image - RR/Twitter.

Less than 48 hours after Kings XI Punjab beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets at Indore in the IPL, the two teams will meet once again on Tuesday at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur.

Languishing at the bottom of the table, the Royals have entered the ‘deathzone’ where the next defeat will be the final nail in the coffin when it comes to their chances of making the playoffs.

Kings XI, on the other hand, have returned to winning ways after two successive defeats against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians.

REVENGE THE MINIMUM FOR ROYALS

With nothing less than a victory enough for Ajinkya Rahane’s men on Tuesday, they will need to avenge their loss on Sunday at any cost. Ever since their stunning win over Mumbai Indians, the Royals have slumped to three defeats on the bounce in an alarming slide.

They have previously banked on their formidable record at fortress Jaipur where they have won 24 out of their 33 games before this season. This year, they have won two and lost as many on their home ground. The Royals will need to reclaim their fortress if they are to mount a playoff challenge since three of their remaining five games are in Jaipur.

PLAYERS IN-FOCUS

KL Rahul is in the form of his life and played a remarkable innings of 84 (54) to leads Kings XI to victory on Sunday. His partnership with Chris Gayle has done the bulk of the scoring for Ravichandran Ashwin’s men but such has been Rahul’s showing that he has even started to overshadow the explosive Jamaican.

Rahul is in the middle of a purple patch. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Rahul is in the middle of a purple patch. Image – IPL/Twitter.

He will be the key once again on Tuesday for a Kings XI batting line-up which has been exposed at times when the openers have failed on the rare occasions.

For Rajasthan, Rahane needs to start leading from the front with the bat, given his captaincy is starting to come under the microscope. The skipper started the campaign in decent knick but has since gone off the boil and his struggles have meant that the Royals have been deprived of a good start in most of their defeats.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen, Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, K Gowtham, Jofra Archer, K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat.

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Manoj Tiwary, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Andrew Tye.

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IPL 2018: Ben Stokes and the other biggest overseas flops so far

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Stokes has been one of the biggest disappointments. Image: IPL/Twitter.

The 2018 edition of the IPL is well past its half-way mark with the league table shaping up nicely. This IPL has been like no other with almost every second game going right down to the wire.

There have been countless breathtaking performances from both Indian and overseas players as the race for the playoffs enters a crucial stage. While many players have grabbed eyeballs by punching above their weight, there have been some who have simply failed to justify their high price tags.

Here, we take a look at five overseas players who have been the biggest duds so far this year.

D’ARCY SHORT (RAJASTHAN ROYALS)

The Australian batsman came into the IPL on the back of burgeoning reputation in T20 cricket which saw him break the Big Bash League (BBL) record for the most runs scored in a single edition.

It has not gone to plan for Short in the IPL who has woefully been exposed by spin, with 111 runs in six innings a poor return given that 88 of them came in two knocks.

Short's vulnerability against spin has been horribly exposed.

Short’s vulnerability against spin has been horribly exposed.

AARON FINCH (KINGS XI PUNJAB)

The Australian limited-overs stalwart came into the IPL after just having recently tied the knot but it has been no honeymoon.

He started off with two ducks and a return of 24 runs in five innings has seen Finch displaced from the playing XI. The Aussie’s struggles are the all the more baffling given that he was in the middle of a fine purple patch before the start of the competition.

Finch has simply not arrived. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Finch has simply not arrived. Image: IPL/Twitter.

KIERON POLLARD (MUMBAI INDIANS)

The Caribbean all-rounder has been a stalwart for Mumbai over the years, but he’s been nothing more than a liability this season.

He has scored only 68 runs in six innings while his bowling has been deemed surplus to requirements by skipper Rohit Sharma. This has seen Pollard’s run of 33 consecutive games for Mumbai come to an end with Ben Cutting replacing him in the line-up.

Pollard has been a liability for Mumbai.

Pollard has been a liability for Mumbai.

GLENN MAXWELL (DELHI DAREDEVILS)

The third Aussie in the list, Maxwell has had a miserable time in Delhi. As frustrating a batsman as he might be, Maxwell has just not done any justice to his talents with some shocking dismissals.

Bar one knock of 47, he has looked at sea in the IPL. The Australian has chipped in with five wickets with the ball but has only managed 133 runs in nine innings with the bat.

Maxwell has cut a frustrating figure in the middle.

Maxwell has cut a frustrating figure in the middle.

BEN STOKES (RAJASTHAN ROYALS)

The most expensive overseas recruit has failed to deliver the goods with both bat and ball. The English all-rounder has looked a shadow of his former self having scored just 155 runs in eight innings while picking up just two wickets with the ball.

Stokes‘ flop show coupled with Short’s has been the biggest reason for Royal’s abysmal showing. He has not bowled his quota of four overs even once.

Stokes has been the biggest flop. image - RR/Twitter.

Stokes has been the biggest flop. Image: RR/Twitter.

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