Sehwag makes his move
As IPL 2012 went past its halfway stage in the previous week, the focus was clearly on the form of Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders. Both teams have displayed consistency with both bat and ball. Among the batsmen, Virender Sehwag, who is one of the leading run scorers across the five seasons, has hit a rich vein of form, scoring four consecutive half-centuries, while Gautam Gambhir has provided Knight Riders with the much-needed batting boost given the poor form of Yusuf Pathan. With most teams enjoying a good run with the bat in the last week, few bowlers were able to make a mark. Dale Steyn was spectacular again with a stunning spell of 2 for 10 against Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring encounter. Sunil Narine, who has proved to be extremely difficult to read for most batsmen, was highly economical in the game against Royal Challengers, finishing with impressive figures of 2 for 11 off his four overs. The stand-out performance of the week, however, came from the lesser known KP Appanna (Royal Challengers), who spun out Rajasthan Royals with a remarkable spell of 4 for 19 off his four overs.
In the analysis of batting performances in this tournament so far, AB de Villiers takes over the top spot from Ajinkya Rahane for his unbeaten 59 against Royals. de Villiers came in with Royal Challengers in trouble at 67 for 3 in the 12th over. He smashed 59 off just 23 balls at a strike rate of 256.52 and shared a 122-run stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan in just 50 balls to lift Royal Challengers to a winning total of 189. de Villiers' strike rate was well above the combined strike rate of the rest of the batsmen in the game (146.37). Gambhir's 93 against Royal Challengers helped Knight Riders post a massive 190 on a sluggish pitch in Kolkata, He scored at a strike rate of 182.35 while the rest of the batsmen managed to score at a strike rate of just 121.69.
Sehwag, who became only the fourth player to score four consecutive half-centuries in Twenty20 matches, cracked 87 against Pune Warriors to enable Daredevils to win the return fixture after Warriors had won the first game by 20 runs. In a comfortable eight-wicket win, Sehwag scored his runs off just 48 balls (strike rate 181.25) while the other batsmen scored at a strike rate of only 116.07. Cameron White, who recently lost his place as Australia's Twenty20 captain, set up Deccan Chargers' first win with 78 off 46 balls (strike rate 169.56) in a game where the other batsmen scored at a strike rate of 122.68.
All tables updated till the end of the matches on April 30, 2012
|AB de Villiers||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Rajasthan Royals||59||59.31|
|Ajinkya Rahane||Rajasthan Royals||Royal Challengers Bangalore||103||54.25|
|Kevin Pietersen||Delhi Daredevils||Deccan Chargers||103||53.46|
|Gautam Gambhir||Kolkata Knight Riders||Royal Challengers Bangalore||93||52.82|
|Virender Sehwag||Delhi Daredevils||Pune Warriors||87||52.09|
|Owais Shah||Rajasthan Royals||Royal Challengers Bangalore||60||49.83|
|Ajinkya Rahane||Rajasthan Royals||Kings XI Punjab||98||47.72|
|Chris Gayle||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Kings XI Punjab||87||46.16|
|Cameron White||Deccan Chargers||Pune Warriors||78||46.14|
|Dwayne Bravo||Chennai Super Kings||Deccan Chargers||43||45.35|
Sehwag and Gambhir have both been extremely consistent for their respective teams in this IPL and as a result, they have taken the top two positions on the list of top batsmen in IPL 2012. Gayle, who is one of five batsmen to score over 300 runs so far in this IPL, is ranked third followed by the leading run-getter Rahane. Faf du Plessis, who has excelled as an opener for Chennai Super Kings scoring three half-centuries, is ranked eighth followed by Steve Smith, who has scored over 200 runs for Warriors at a strike rate of 157.
|AB de Villiers||9||19.89|
|Faf du Plessis||9||19.84|
Appanna's superb display against Royals is the only bowling spell from last week's matches that features in the top ten IPL 2012 bowling performances. He bowled his four overs for just 19 runs (economy rate of 4.75) in a game where the scoring rate was 8.30. His bowling performance also stood out because all four wickets were those of top-order batsmen. Ravindra Jadeja remains in the top position for his five-wicket haul against Chargers while Narine is third for his 5 for 19 against Kings XI. Steyn, whose 3 for 12 against Mumbai Indians is in fourth position, also has another performance (2 for 10 against Mumbai Indians) in the top 20. The rest of the performances in the top ten remain the same as in last week's analysis with Siddharth Trivedi's 4 for 25 against Royal Challengers slotting in at tenth position.
|Ravindra Jadeja||Chennai Super Kings||Deccan Chargers||5/16||59.08|
|KP Appanna||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Rajasthan Royals||4/19||52.22|
|Sunil Narine||Kolkata Knight Riders||Kings XI Punjab||5/19||51.40|
|Dale Steyn||Deccan Chargers||Mumbai Indians||3/12||49.66|
|Dimitri Mascarenhas||Kings XI Punjab||Pune Warriors||5/25||49.33|
|L Balaji||Kolkata Knight Riders||Royal Challengers Bangalore||4/18||49.10|
|Munaf Patel||Mumbai Indians||Deccan Chargers||4/20||48.40|
|Shahbaz Nadeem||Delhi Daredevils||Deccan Chargers||3/16||47.14|
|Lasith Malinga||Mumbai Indians||Rajasthan Royals||2/13||47.06|
|Siddharth Trivedi||Rajasthan Royals||Royal Challengers Bangalore||4/25||46.87|
Malinga's brilliant form in the previous years has extended into this season too. He has 15 wickets at an average of 9.40 and an economy rate just over five runs per over. Steyn, who has bowled with hostility and pace, is second followed by his South African fast-bowling partner Morkel, who is the highest wicket-taker in this year's tournament. Narine, who is fourth on the list, has picked up 12 wickets and also boasts an excellent economy rate of 5.53. Kevon Cooper, who has been one of Royals' most valuable players, is sixth. Three of the last four positions in the top ten belong to spinners with Brad Hogg making a remarkably successful comeback.
Chris Gayle, the leading run-getter in IPL 2011, has burst into his awesome hitting form after a slow start to this season. He has scored four half-centuries already and his consistent display has kept him on top of the overall list for batsmen. Gayle is closely followed by Shaun Marsh who continues to be Kings XI's most reliable batsman. Sehwag, with his incredible recent run, slots in at fifth between Shane Watson and Michael Hussey, who have returned to IPL action following Australia's tour of the West Indies. While Sachin Tendulkar has fallen from from sixth to ninth, Pietersen and Gambhir have risen up the rankings by virtue of their excellent run in the last few games.
Malinga, the leading wicket taker in the IPL, continues to retain top spot after yet another successful week during which he picked up 4 for 16 against Chargers. Amit Mishra has had an ordinary run in the tournament so far and has averaged nearly 34 while going at over eight runs per over. This has resulted in the gap between him and the rest of the bowlers below him in the top five reducing drastically. The South African pace duo of Steyn and Morne Morkel have been top class in this edition and it is no surprise that both feature in the top ten. However, in contrast, both R Ashwin and Doug Bollinger have slipped down the rankings after a below-par run this season. While Bollinger has picked up wickets regularly, he has been very expensive conceding nearly nine runs per over. Ashwin, on the other hand, has been economical (economy rate of 6.44) but has managed only five wickets in ten matches at an average of 43.80.
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo