This was another week of non-stop action at the IPL, topped off by surprises on the points table. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) made light work of arch nemesis Mumbai Indians (MI) on Wednesday before receiving a taste of the same medicine against the Delhi Capitals (DC) on Sunday. MI had slumped to their fourth successive defeat with another underwhelming outing a day before against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who were seen off by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for their first win of the season on Tuesday. CSK themselves had gone down to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) earlier in the week, with SRH also ending the winning streak of the Gujarat Titans (GT) on Monday. The other new boys, the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), had a mixed bag, beating DC on Thursday before losing out to Rajasthan Royals (RR) in a close match on Sunday. The Punjab Kings (PBKS) were in action only once during the past week, crumbling under pressure against Rahul Tewatia and Co. in a humdinger on Friday.
With the results recap done and dusted, it is time for My Kolkata to select the third IPL team of the week for 2022, with all matches between April 6 and 12 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.
Quinton de Kock (LSG)
When we had predicted that de Kock would be one of the players to watch out for at this year’s IPL, we had envisioned something similar to what the South African southpaw conjured up against DC last Thursday. In pursuit of 150, de Kock balanced class and composure to stroke his way to 80 runs off 52 balls, a knock that also earned him the man-of-the-match prize. His opening stand with K.L. Rahul, which de Kock dominated, set the tone for LSG, ensuring a comfortable chase for the men in turquoise. De Kock was among the runs again on Sunday against RR, though his innings of 39 was not enough to see LSG hunt down RR’s total of 165.
Shubman Gill (GT)
When you are chasing 190 on a track that has something in it for the bowlers, one of your openers needs to lay the foundation. That is exactly what GT’s Gill did and more against PBKS, with arguably his best T20 innings so far. With just one six, but no less than 11 fours, Gill displayed batting of the highest order, dexterously finding gaps with impeccable timing and placement. Even though he fell short of a maiden IPL ton — he was dismissed for 96 off just 59 — this was a match-winning performance, one that Gill’s admirers have been forecasting ever since he burst on to the scene with KKR.
Suryakumar Yadav (MI)
MI may be struggling this IPL, but not SKY. Against both KKR and RCB, it was Suryakumar who guided MI to a respectable total. His 52 off 36 provided momentum on Wednesday while his 68 off 37 on Saturday steadied a faltering batting display. In both games, Suryakumar’s efforts were not enough to deliver victories, but he did set an example for the rest of MI’s heavyweights to follow.
Liam Livingstone (PBKS)
For the second week running, Livingstone provided the muscle power to the PBKS middle order that has been in short supply ever since a certain Glenn Maxwell exited their ranks. Against GT, Livingstone’s 64 off 27, albeit in a losing cause, was a spectacle to behold. Had he not been restrained by Rashid Khan, Livingstone could well have followed his compatriot Jos Buttler’s footsteps to notch up an IPL century.
Shivam Dube (CSK)
It is a peculiarly RCB trait to fail to get the best of a player whose potential seems to be unlocked effortlessly elsewhere. The latest example comes in the form of Dube, who played for RCB last season only to torment them for CSK this year. His hammer and tongs approach in the middle order yielded a thumping 95 not out off just 46 balls on Tuesday, with eight shots going beyond the fence. After the early loss of Rituraj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali cheaply, Dube combined with Robin Uthappa to put on 165 for the third wicket, a partnership that batted RCB out of the game and got CSK off and running on the points table.
Rahul Tewatia (GT)
Of all the finishers in the IPL now, nobody can quite close a chase with the same inevitability as Tewatia. Against PBKS, Tewatia entered proceedings in the last over, after Gujarat had lost their captain and big hitter Hardik Pandya through a needless run out. After a misdirected throw yielded a single for Gujarat and got Tewatia on strike, the 28-year-old from Haryana simply got his right foot out of the way and smashed Odean Smith over midwicket for a six. The next challenge for Tewatia was to repeat the trick off the last ball of the match, which he executed with even greater aplomb, sending the ball into the stands for an even bigger maximum to write another memorable chapter in his role as the IPL’s best closer.
Pat Cummins (KKR)
Yes, we agree that Cummins had a week to forget with the ball, conceding 100 runs in his eight overs across two games for KKR. But it is Cummins the batter we are acknowledging with a place in our weekly XI. After what he did against MI — scoring the joint-fastest IPL fifty — there was no way Cummins was not making this week’s lineup. His counter-attacking blitzkrieg plumelled MI’s bowling and confidence, and fast-tracked a complicated chase for KKR. While Brendon McCullum and Shreyas Iyer would be concerned about Cummins leaking runs with the ball, his exploits with the bat are good enough to make him an indispensable part of our team.
Shardul Thakur (DC)
It has been clear for some time that Shardul can be a useful pinch hitter down the order. Against KKR, he exceeded expectations by getting 29 off 11, with three sixes. And he was not done with that. In his main role as a provider of wickets, Thakur got the prized scalp of Andre Russell alongside cleaning up tailender Rasikh Salam in the last over to further increase DC’s margin of victory in a largely one-sided contest.
Rashid Khan (GT)
It felt odd not to see Rashid’s name in our team in the first two weeks. But, after a somewhat slow start to IPL 2022, one of the format’s all-time greats is back in his element. Rashid was brilliant against PBKS, picking up the all-important wickets of Shikhar Dhawan, Livingstone and Shahrukh Khan, giving away just 22 runs in his four overs. Then, in GT’s next game, Rashid was once again a constant thorn in SRH’s side, though he could only manage one wicket.
Yuzvendra Chahal (RR)
Despite going at more than 10 runs per over in his spell for RR against LSG, Chahal is an automatic pick for this team because of his four wickets, three of which were vital breakthroughs achieved at crucial junctures. After claiming Ayush Badoni, Chahal removed the on-song de Kock, before proceeding to disturb the woodwork of Krunal Pandya. A couple of overs later, he trapped Dushmantha Chameera leg before wicket to further impede the LSG chase, which fell short by three runs.
Kuldeep Yadav (DC)
If Chahal has booked his place, can his spin twin Kuldeep be far behind? Completing the Kul-Cha duo in our weekly XI is the vastly improved Kuldeep, who pocketed four wickets against his former team KKR on Sunday. This included dismissing a set Iyer and getting rid of Cummins before he could get a measure of the track. Kuldeep was also among the wickets in DC’s defeat to LSG, during which he picked up both K.L. Rahul and de Kock to continue his climb up the Purple Cap standings.