With every IPL team having played at least half a dozen matches, the points table is starting to take shape with the pretenders and the drifters gradually becoming more noticeable. The obvious headline is that the Mumbai Indians (MI) are still winless in IPL 2022, after being bettered by the Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Wednesday and then by the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) on Saturday. At the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) camp, the mood is not too different, after the men in yellow endured another losss on Sunday, this time in a nailbiter against the Gujarat Titans (GT), who also beat the Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Thursday to continue their sensational string of results. Fellow new boys LSG followed their victory over MI with a defeat on Tuesday against an increasingly resilient Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who were also the superior team against the Delhi Capitals (DC) over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have turned around a miserable start to the IPL with consecutive seven-wicket triumphs against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Punjab Kings (PBKS). For KKR, the week went from bad to worse as a loss to SRH on Poila Baisakh could not be assuaged by another one, albeit in an IPL classic, to RR on Monday.
With the results recap done and dusted, it is time for My Kolkata to select the fourth IPL team of the week for 2022, with all matches between April 13 and 19 taken into consideration. As usual, the emphasis is on balance, with a maximum of four overseas players allowed in the lineup. Additionally, no more than three players from the same franchise can make it to the weekly XI. With that in mind, here is our pick of the players from the latest week of games in the IPL.
Jos Buttler (RR)
It has been another prolific week in the IPL for RR’s man in form, who accumulated more than 150 runs in two games. Against GT, Buttler’s quickfire 54 threatened to take the game away from Hardik Pandya and Co. before an untimely dismissal at the hands of Lockie Ferguson. But the Englishman more than made up for that against KKR, scoring his second century of the season in style. Should Buttler continue at this rate, with RR scheduled to play at least eight more games this season, there is a chance that he would equal or better the record for the most number of IPL hundreds in a season, which currently belongs to Virat Kohli, who scored four IPL tons in 2016.
K.L. Rahul (LSG)
After struggling to find his rhythm in the opening games of the season, K.L. Rahul silenced his critics (quite literally with his celebration!) by notching up one of the most swashbuckling hundreds in IPL history against MI. Rahul’s nine fours and five sixes were an exhibition of his versatility and range of shots. The fact that he carried his bat through the innings was a testament to his determination to take LSG to a match-winning total, something he was not always able to do for PBKS over the past two years. While some, including a certain Sunil Gavaskar, took exception to Rahul’s gesture of drowning out the noise after getting his hundred, there is little doubt that the LSG skipper has laid down a statement of intent with his belligerent brilliance against the IPL’s most decorated team.
Shreyas Iyer (KKR)
KKR may have lost both their fixtures this week, but it was not due to a lack of batting heroics by their skipper. Against SRH, Iyer struggled to get into the flow but hung around for a fighting 28. Three days later, with a mountain of a target set by RR, Iyer had no option but to swing for the fences from the get go. His 85 off just 51 will go down as one of the best counter-attacking innings of this season’s IPL and his partnership with Aaron Finch looked poised to take KKR home at one stage. Even though Iyer could not finish the job, runs under the belt under tremendous pressure bodes well for the KKR captain.
Dewald Brevis (MI)
MI may be having the most wretched season in their history, but the 18-year-old from South Africa is vindicating the franchise’s bets at the auction earlier this year. First against PBKS and then against LSG, Brevis, or Baby AB, showcased his outstanding arsenal of shots, and more importantly, his composure when launching into overdrive with the bat. Striking at over 210 this week, Brevis has filled in for the absence of the Pandya brothers and is even compensating for Kieron Pollard’s lean patch with the bat. The 18-year-old could well become one of the most exciting T20 batters in the world before he is out of his teens.
David Miller (GT)
At 32, David Miller may be a veteran, but he is definitely not a T20 has-been. He has not had a great run with the bat over the past few seasons, but he still has what it takes to win a game all by himself. Against CSK, Miller turned back the clock with a scintillating 94 not out off just 51 balls. Rashid Khan also chipped in with a valuable cameo to take GT over the line in a pulsating chase. Just like any finisher in the modern game, Miller thrives on confidence and GT will be hoping that his performance against CSK is a sign of things to come.
Dinesh Karthik (RCB)
Just like the IPL becomes a stage for unheralded youngsters to show their talent, it also reminds fans and critics that some old timers are far from done. Ahead of this year’s IPL, many would have preferred to see Karthik in the commentary box with his witticisms instead of on the pitch. But Karthik has proved everyone wrong and how! Relishing in his role as finisher for RCB, Karthik has been on fire this season and produced his finest knock of the campaign so far by hammering 66 off 34 against DC. Once again, Karthik’s exploits came in a game where neither Faf du Plessis nor Kohli had got going. DK’s calm head on wise shoulders absorbed the pressure and propelled his team to an imposing total, which turned out to be more than enough.
Hardik Pandya (GT)
Captaincy can often act as a catalyst for charismatic players to take their game to the next level. This is precisely what is happening at GT with junior Pandya, who is revelling in an atmosphere where he is allowed to express himself without being weighed down by leadership responsibilities. After impressing with the ball early in the IPL, Pandya did what he does best against RR. Coming into bat at 15 for two in the third over, Pandya not only showed technique and patience to weather the RR storm, but proved that his muscle power has not been diminished by injury, as he bolted his way to 87 off just 52 balls. Pandya’s explosive partnerships with Abhinav Manohar and Miller gave GT the cushion they needed for their bowlers, who ultimately did enough to secure a comfortable win.
Dwayne Bravo (CSK)
CSK may have lost out in a tight affair against GT, but Bravo stood out for an impeccable spell of bowling in which he conceded under six runs per over in his four overs and picked up three crucial wickets. By getting rid of Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan and Alzarri Joseph, Bravo nullified one end of the crease even as Miller was firing on all cylinders at the other. In the end, a champion spell from IPL’s all-time highest wicket-taker was not enough to hand CSK the two points, but Bravo’s consistency should provide hope to the CSK bowling department as they look to get back on track against MI on Thursday.
Umran Malik (SRH)
After pocketing the prizes for the fastest delivery of the match, Malik has decided to throw his hat in the ring for man-of-the-match awards as well. An economic spell against KKR, during which he got the key wickets of Shreyas Iyer and Sheldon Jackson, was followed up by one of the performances of the tournament against PBKS. Having already got the better of Jitesh Sharma in his first spell, Malik returned to complete the first innings of the PBKS-SRH encounter with a slim margin for error. His last-over numbers read zero runs and three wickets, all a product of batters being too late in their shots against premium pace. Only 22, Malik could bowl even faster in future if he can keep his head both on and off the pitch.
Avesh Khan (LSG)
Even though he did not have the most memorable of days against RCB in his latest game, Avesh was on hand last weekend to peg back the MI innings every time it seemed to acquire momentum. His figures of three for 30 in four overs in a game where both teams scored at close to 10 runs per over was exceptional. But what earned Avesh a place in the team of the week were the scalps he earned against MI, with the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Brevis in particular proving crucial to turning the tide of the game in LSG’s favour.
Yuzvendra Chahal (RR)
By his standards, Chahal had a mediocre outing against GT earlier in the week, with things getting even worse against KKR as Aaron Finch tore into the leg spinner in the latter’s first over. However, as usual, Chahal did not let big hits rattle his nerves, as he came back to turn the game on its head. Bowling a match-deciding 17th over, Chahal deceived Venkatesh Iyer in flight before trapping a dangerous Shreyas Iyer leg before wicket. The next ball saw Shivam Mavi hold out in the deep off a flighted leg-break. With Pat Cummins on strike for the hattrick ball, Chahal stuck to his guns and his preferred line on middle and off stump, which produced a thick edge off Cummins’s bat and a fine catch by Sanju Samson. A hat-trick, five wickets and the man-of-the-match award wrapped up an almost perfect evening for the Purple Cap holder.