Brett's Watchlist: Can Pollard and Chahal continue to be the X factors?
The penultimate Sunday of the league stage of the Indian T20 League will serve us two juicy fixtures, as the high-flying Bangalore will take on Chennai and then later in the evening, it will be the unpredictable Rajasthan against title-favourites Mumbai.
So two great matches with a plethora of world-class talent on show, but here’s who I will keep a keen eye on during the two matches:
Bangalore – Yuzvendra Chahal
Arguably the best Indian bowler in the Indian T20 League for the past couple of years, Yuzvendra Chahal is delivering yet another sensational season for Bangalore. So far, he’s picked up 15 wickets, joint-third-highest in the league alongside Mumbai's Jasprit Bumrah and Rajasthan's Jofra Archer. So often, when the team is in need of a breakthrough, skipper Virat Kohli just tosses the ball to Chahal and usually, the feisty leggie answers his captain's call with a wicket or even two. Chahal's consistency and his bravery in tossing the ball irrespective of the ground or the pitch is why he picks up so many wickets. It’s simply must-watch television when Chahal has the ball in hand!
Chennai – Deepak Chahar
Another Indian bowler that has been extremely consistent and reliable is Chennai's Deepak Chahar. He hasn’t picked as many wickets as he did last season in this campaign but he’s bowled terrific spells and has been the only bright spark in a rather tame Chennai bowling attack. So far, he has 10 wickets to his name in 10 matches and I can assure you that he’s deserved a few more for his tremendous discipline with line and length. Chennai are most certainly going to miss the playoffs, so Chahar has three matches left after the game vs Mumbai to prove why he is among India's finest in the shortest format of the game and I'm certain he'll be gunning to finish the season strong with a few more wickets to his name.
Rajasthan – Sanju Samson
After a dismal run that saw him score just 77 runs in eight matches, Sanju Samson finally showed a glimpse of his immense talent that we had witnessed in the first two matches of the season, with a stylish 36 off 26 balls in his team’s defeat against Hyderabad. Samson looked a class above the rest of his teammates, which includes three World Cup winners in Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, but as has often been the case with him, he hasn’t been able to produce such innings with any sort of regularity, making it difficult to gauge his ceiling. Rajasthan and Samson have three games left to snatch an unlikely playoff spot, but if they are to pull off the improbable, they will need Samson to deliver with the bat.
Mumbai – Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard has always been a streaky player for Mumbai and that’s mostly down to the team utilising him as a floater in their stacked batting line-up. However, this season, the big West Indian hasn’t let the shuffling affect his batting at all. Through nine matches, Pollard has had six outings with the bat and been dismissed only once, scoring 208 runs at a strike rate of exactly 200. While he possesses the ability to tank any ball past the boundary ropes, that has sometimes been his undoing too, but this season, I’ve seen a more measured Pollard, willing to take doubles, knock it around even at the death and put away any loose delivery on offer. He’s been terrific to watch this season and I'm expecting him to carry this form through what’s left of this season.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Rajasthan