IPL 2018: Pressure on Kings XI to field Mujeeb ur Rahman against Mumbai Indians

Sudhir Gupta 16/05/2018
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Mujeeb is carrying an injury to his bowling hand. Image: BCCI.

Kings XI Punjab have no option but to field Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman as they play Mumbai Indians in the IPL on Wednesday.

Mujeeb missed the previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore as he had failed to recover from injury to his bowling hand. In the match against Bangalore, Kings XI batsmen lost the plot completely as the team were bowled out for a mere 88 to not only lose the match by 10 wickets but also damage their net run rate.

With just two more matches to go in the round-robin phase for Punjab, Ravi Ashwin will be inclined to field Mujeeb even if the bowler is half fit as defeat would put extraordinary pressure on the team for their final match – against Chennai Super Kings.

Likely line-ups

Mumbai Indians: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), JP Duminy, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Mayank Agarwal, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot

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IPL 2018 Report Card: Jos Buttler shines while Sam Billings disappoints among England players

Ashish Peter 16/05/2018
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Buttler has been the stand-out England player. Image - IPL/Twitter.

This year’s IPL has seen the maximum representation from England in the tournament’s 10-year history. As many as 13 players from England are currently in action in BCCI’s mega-rich T20 competition.

Despite the likes of Test skipper Joe Root going unsold in the auctions, England are well-represented this year. With England’s Test series against Pakistan set to get underway on May 24, plenty of English names will be departing Indian shores soon.

Here, we rate the performance of the 13 Englishmen in the IPL this year.

SAM BILLINGS – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

RATING – 4/10

Sam Billings’ IPL 2018 started with a bang with his match-winning knock of 56 from just 23 deliveries against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Since then, it has all gone downhill for the 26-year-old batsman with only one double-digit score (27) in the six subsequent innings for the Super Kings. Despite his failings, the right-hander is still finding a spot in the playing XI which speaks volumes about the lack of batting alternatives for the franchise.

Billings has only fired once. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Billings has only fired once. Image – IPL/Twitter.

MARK WOOD – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

RATING – 3/10

Mark Wood got his first taste of the IPL this year after being picked up by the Super Kings. Unfortunately, it has been one to forget for the England pacer who played just one game before being dropped.

His lone outing came in the side’s win over Kolkata Knight Riders. Wood started off brilliantly, conceding only 11 runs in his opening two overs before being taken to the cleaners by Kolkata’s batsmen. The pacer ultimately ended with figures of 0-49 from his four overs and that meant the end of his days in the playing XI. The Englishman ultimately returned home to Durham after Lungi Ngidi came back into the side.

DAVID WILLEY – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

RATING – 5/10

David Willey was brought in as late replacement by Chennai Super Kings after they lost Mitchell Santner and Kedar Jadhav to injury. The 29-year-old all-rounder has since played three games for the franchise although he is yet to put in any notable performances.

He too started off well with figures of 1-24 from his four overs in his side’s win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. That has been followed by expensive spells of 0-24 (off two overs) and 1-47. Though he hasn’t been called into action with the bat, his bowling has been decent at best.

JASON ROY – DELHI DAREDEVILS

RATING – 4/10

Like Billings, Jason Roy’s IPL got off to a dream start as the England opener led Delhi Daredevils to a thrilling win over Mumbai Indians. Roy slammed an unbeaten 91 off 53 balls to help his side chase down the target of 195. However, just like Billings, Roy has since gone off the boil with a combined score of 29 runs in four subsequent innings.

LIAM PLUNKETT – DELHI DAREDEVILS

RATING – 6/10

The England pacer initially went unsold in the auction but was brought as a late replacement by the franchise for the injured Kagiso Rabada. Plunkett too, started the IPL with a bang with excellent figures of 3-17 in his side’s four-run loss to Kings XI Punjab.

The pacer has been up and down since then with three expensive outings thrown in among two economical spells. He has added just the one wicket to his three-wicket haul in the first match.

Plunkett was excellent in his IPL debut match. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Plunkett was excellent in his IPL debut match. Image – IPL/Twitter.

TOM CURRAN – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

RATING – 5/10

It has been a season where both of Kolkata’s overseas pacers in Mitchell Johnson and Tom Curran have failed to fire. The Englishman has, at least, been among the wickets despite having an economy-rate of 11.6 from six outings.

Curran has managed to pick up six wickets in the five matches with his best performance coming in the side’s win over Rajasthan Royals where he ended up with figures of 2-19 from his two overs. He hasn’t completed his four-over spell in any match which is a testament to his below average showing.

JOFRA ARCHER – RAJASTHAN ROYALS

RATING – 8/10

The all-rounder is from the Caribbean but plays his cricket in England. Archer has lived up to his billing as one of the hottest prospects in T20 cricket. With some serious pace to burn, Archer has taken the art of bowling yorkers to a whole new level with some lethal toe-crushers.

Mixed with his cleverly disguised slower balls, Archer’s bowling has been a nightmare for many teams. The 23-year-old has picked up 13 wickets in eight outings at an economy-rate of 8.23 including a best of 3-22 against the Mumbai Indians. The all-rounder has been disappointing with the bat though with only 15 runs at an average of under four runs an over.

JOS BUTTLER – RAJASTHAN ROYALS

RATING – 9/10

Jos Buttler has without doubt been the best England player this year in the IPL. He started off slowly but ever since he was promoted to open the batting, Buttler has been unstoppable.

The 27-year-old equalled Virender Sehwag’s IPL record of five-consecutive fifties and has single-handedly carried the Royals’ batting this year. His tally of 548 runs in 13 innings at an average of 54.80 and a strike-rate of over 155 saw the right-hander earn an England Test recall for the first-time since December, 2016.

Buttler has been on fire in the second-half. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Buttler has been on fire in the second-half. Image – IPL/Twitter.

BEN STOKES – RAJASTHAN ROYALS

RATING – 6/10

Ben Stokes came into the IPL this year as the most expensive overseas purchase but his performances have been anything near the level expected from the star all-rounder.

While he has been decent at best with the ball (eight wickets from 13 matches at an economy-rate of 8.19), Stokes has been pretty ordinary with the bat. The Englishman has managed to score just 196 runs in 13 innings at a dismal average of 16.33 with two knocks of 40 odd being his only decent returns.

CHRIS WOAKES – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

RATING – 5/10

The England all-rounder started his IPL campaign in impressive fashion with figures of 3-36 and 2-36 in his first two outings. That was followed by two expensive performances (2-47 and 0-40) which saw Woakes being moved out of the Royal Challengers playing XI.

His eight wickets in five matches have come at an economy-rate of 10.36 while he has hardly been called into action with the bat.

MOEEN ALI – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

RATING – 6/10

Moeen Ali has had to warm the bench for his side’s first nine fixtures this season. The all-rounder has now enjoyed a run of three consecutive appearances for the Royal Challengers in which the side has gone on to win on two occasions.

He has been highly miserly with his off-spin which has fetched him two wickets in three games at an economy-rate of 6.21. It is his batting which has been a major let-down so far with only 11 runs in two innings.

ALEX HALES – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

RATING – 6/10

It was only in the second-half of this year’s IPL that Alex Hales was given a role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s playing XI. He started off with two explosive knocks of 45 runs each against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils but his performances have tapered off since.

Hales has only managed to score 21 runs in three subsequent innings for the franchise.

Hales has gone off the boil of late. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Hales has gone off the boil of late. Image – IPL/Twitter.

CHRIS JORDAN – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

RATING – NA

Chris Jordan’s IPL this year has been one to forget too but only for reasons beyond his control. The 29-year-old featured in only one match for the franchise where he finished with respectable figures of 0-31 from his four overs.

Since then, Jordan has not got a single look-in due to the riches at Hyderabad’s disposal and has been warming the bench.

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IPL 2018: Kuldeep Yadav's four wickets trump Rajasthan's 10 boundaries in a row as KKR edge ahead in playoffs race

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Kuldeep picked up 4-23 against Rajasthan. Image: BCCI.

Kolkata Knight Riders kept their IPL playoffs alive as they cruised to a six-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.

Both teams entered the match with six wins under their belts, meaning the pressure was on to move ahead as five teams fight it out for thee two remaining playoffs sports following Sunrisers and Chennai’s qualification and Delhi’s exit.

Left-arm chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav broke Rajasthan’s back as he picked up four top order wickets (4-20), including that of dangerman Jos Buttler to restrict Rajasthan to 142.

The target was always within reach once Kolkata decided to  slow down and not take too many risks. They won by six wickets with two overs in hand.

RAJASTHAN ON THE ATTACK

Buttler missed out on his sixth straight IPL fifty. Image: BCCI.

Buttler missed out on his sixth straight IPL fifty. Image: BCCI.

Rajasthan opened the innings with Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi. It was as if they knew spinners were going to be the main threat on a sluggish surface at the Eden Gardens. Since Kolkata opened the innings with two rookie pacers – Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna – Rajasthan went after the seamers with everything they had.

Tripathi threw the bat around and got edges to fly off his bat as he raced to 27 from 15. Buttler was in even more adventurous mood, probably celebrating his recall to the England Test side. He moved around the crease in the third over and played cuts and scoops to great effect, taking 28 runs – all through boundaries – off Mavi.

In fact, from the third ball of the second over – bowled by Krishna to Tripathi – to the six balls faced by Buttler off Mavi’s next were all dispatched to the boundary. The ten balls were hit for seven boundaries and three sixes.

SPINNERS PULL THINGS BACK

Once Tripathi was dismissed off a short ball from Andre Russell (2-13), the wheels started to come off Rajasthan’s innings.

Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane played all around a full ball from Kuldeep to get bowled while attempting a reverse sweep. Top scorer Buttler (39) too departed in similar fashion as he failed to connect with a reverse sweep off Kuldeep properly to get caught at short third man.

Narine got Sanju Samson out lbw on a review while Kuleep had Stuart Binny stumped off a googly as the Royals went from 63-0 in 4.5 overs to 96-5 in 11.

Kuldeep finished off a superb night by catching the leading edge of Ben Stokes as Royals lost seven wickets for 44 runs in nine overs.

KOLKATA’S MANIC START

The Knight Riders took a leaf out of Rajasthan’s book as opener Narine took 20 runs from the first four balls of the innings bowled by off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham.

However, Narine went for one shot too many as a pull off Stokes resulted in a top edge to cover that ended his seven-ball 21.

KNIGHT RIDERS TAKE IT EASY

Kolkata knew all they needed to do was play out the overs as a required rate of seven an over was not beyond them. Even though they lost the wicket of Robin Uthappa after the dismissal of Narine, they did not panic. Chris Lynn (45 from 42) batted well within himself, as has been the case this IPL, while captain Dinesh Karthik finished things off with an unbeaten 41 from 31 deliveries.

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