This year’s Indian T20 League has duly lived up to expectation, and personally, from my end, I have enjoyed every bit of it so far. There has been plenty of drama already and as the new week awaits, I couldn’t help but think of the players who can be the x-factor for their respective teams.
That said, I’ve jotted down a short list here of who I think you need to keep an eye on this week, starting with the matches from Monday to Wednesday:
Bangalore - AB de Villiers
AB hasn’t put a foot wrong this season, to say the least. Baring that underwhelming return against Delhi, he has been Bangalore’s go-to man and I expect more of the same from the South African. For someone who is blessed with such intelligence, it’s no surprise that he is giving Punjab captain KL Rahul a subtle run for his money for the Orange Cap. I believe he will have a big role to play against Kolkata on Monday.
Kolkata - Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan has shown what he brings to the table. A sheer specialist of the limited-overs format, the England captain is someone his team relies heavily on. Sure, Rahul Tripathi and Shubman Gill have shown form in patches, but the importance of a good knock from the middle-order batsman can never be overlooked, and this is where Morgan comes in. It goes without saying that Eoin can be lethal on his day, and his team would want him to be in the best shape on Monday.
Hyderabad - Rashid Khan
Having an economy of 5.03 after seven games rightfully underlines the importance of Rashid Khan in Hyderabad’s setup. Now that Warner and Bairstow have picked up form, they need someone who can deliver equal results with the ball, and Rashid is well and truly their man. Him having an off day is a rarity, and it will certainly be interesting to see how he copes with the hard-hitting prowess of Shane Watson and even Faf du Plessis on Tuesday.
Chennai - Dwayne Bravo
Hyderabad and Chennai have already crossed paths this season and this was, in fact, the game where Dwayne Bravo had marked his return in the Chennai setup. He did go for seven runs per over in the game, but one cannot underestimate the quality he adds up to the team. Dwayne is a team player, and as far as I’ve known him, he gives everything he can on the field, and I can say he is someone who will make an impact against Hyderabad.
Delhi - Kagiso Rabada
The last time Delhi and Rajasthan locked horns, Rabada picked three for 35. And it was the third time that Kagiso had picked three or more wickets in his last seven Indian T20 League games. While the likes of Stoinis, Prithvi Shaw and even Shreyas Iyer have deservedly grabbed the headlines, it’s a personal belief of mine that Rabada has been one of their strongest assets so far, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Rajasthan - Jofra Archer
Archer has the third-best economy rate (6.82) in the Indian T20 League amongst the top 15 wicket-takers, and he, like Kagiso, was exhilarating against Delhi the last time they met, picking three for 24. An extra dimension with the bat that the England pacer brings is simply an added advantage Rajasthan have at the moment. If they put it to good use, I believe they can wreak havoc and exact revenge on Delhi on Wednesday.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @IndianT20League