Moeen Ali's excellence and Jos Buttler's continued struggle: How England's players have fared at this IPL

Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow have delivered impactful performances while Eoin Morgan hasn't found his best yet

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
Moeen Ali earned the Player of the Match against the Rajasthan Royals  •  BCCI/IPL

Moeen Ali earned the Player of the Match against the Rajasthan Royals  •  BCCI/IPL

A little over two weeks into the tournament, England's players have had mixed performances at this year's IPL. We take a look at their impact on their respective teams so far.
After their blip in 2020, the Chennai Super Kings are back on their familiar perch: at the top of the IPL standings and threatening to canter towards the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons. Few players have made a more selfless contribution to that resurgence than Moeen Ali.
His second week of the tournament served up more of the same languid excellence, as he injected two more CSK innings with six-laden cameos - 26 from 20 balls against the Rajasthan Royals and 25 from 12 against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Against the Royals, he also pitched in with the small matter of 3 for 7 in three overs. The only disappointment for Moeen was that he was not able to take his rightful place for Sunday's encounter with his old franchise, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, after picking up a niggle.
The highlights in Sam Curran's hair seem to be getting more blond each time he takes the field, or maybe that's just the glow of burgeoning stardom radiating from his elfin features. Either way, this was another week of quietly formidable match-winning from a remarkable player. His only innings in three games was short but sweet - a straight-to-the-point 13 from 6 balls against the Royals, including a beautifully-timed six over the point boundary from a slower-ball bouncer.
According to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats, his impact on that victory was even higher than Moeen's, thanks to his three key overs in the powerplay, which included the wicket of Sanju Samson. He took a bit of tap in a high-scoring victory over Kolkata (but still dismissed a violently well-set Andre Russell). He then did for Virat Kohli in the powerplay against the Royal Challengers. He makes things happen, as you may have noticed.
Batting during the Chennai leg of this tournament has been an arduous business, with some of the most unfettered hitters in the business coming unstuck in spin-friendly conditions. But Bairstow has been a consistent source of forward momentum for the Sunrisers Hyderabad - even if his departure has consistently led to them adopting a reverse gear. As if to prove the point, their one victory to date came in the contest where Bairstow batted all the way through, as his unbeaten 63 from 56 balls anchored a nine-wicket win over the Punjab Kings.
His experience against the Delhi Capitals was familiarly traumatic - none of his team-mates came close to matching his fluency as he launched their chase with 38 from 18, not even Kane Williamson, whose 66 not out dragged his side to a Super Over. But then, for some unfathomable reason, Bairstow was overlooked for the Super Over, and the Sunrisers paid the price.
Not much to write home about this week for the Royals' last remaining Englishman. He made his top score of the season to date with a fluent 49 from 35 against the Super Kings, but his dismissal precipitated a shuddering collapse of 5 for 8 in 3.3 overs.
With several of the franchise's overseas players unavailable - Andrew Tye being the latest to join the exodus - the onus on Buttler is even greater. A run-a-ball 8 against the Royal Challengers and 5 from 7 against the Knight Riders haven't exactly met the needs of the hour, even if the Royals escaped with a win in that latter game, thanks once again to their million-dollar man, Chris Morris.
The Knight Riders' captain has reached double figures just once in five attempts so far. Against the Royals, he didn't even reach the striker's end of the pitch - he was run-out without facing a ball after deflecting Rahul Tripathi's straight drive into the path of Morris in his follow-through. His wry smile said it all. Morgan's authority really could do with being backed up by a score of note. There are other issues stacking up in the absence of his own runs, not least the roles of Shakib Al Hasan and Russell, who seems a bit removed from the action at the moment.
And the non-combatants …
Chris Woakes was one of the outstanding performers of the first week but hasn't got a look-in since the action shifted to Chennai, where the Capitals have opted to play an extra spinner in Amit Mishra, with Shimron Hetmyer taking over his overseas slot. At least he's used to the feeling, after similar treatment by England following his Player-of-the-Year exploits in the 2020 home summer.
Tom Curran hasn't been seen for the Capitals since a bruising first week, while the Royals won't be seeing anything more of Ben Stokes (broken finger), Liam Livingstone (bubble fatigue) or Jofra Archer, who was pulled out of the tournament by the ECB last week as they manage his recovery from finger surgery and a long-term elbow problem.
Jason Roy (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings), Chris Jordan (Punjab Kings) and Sam Billings (Delhi Capitals) are still awaiting their first outings of the tournament.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket