In a flash, the 2020 Indian T20 League has gone by and we are now in the final week of the league stage of the campaign.
So far, by my reckoning, three teams - Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore - are looking well clear of the rest of the teams but the fight for the fourth spot is well and truly on, with multiple teams in contention for that final place in the playoffs.
While it will take a collective effort from the team to get across the finish line, there are a few players who could be the difference between winning and losing for their teams. Here’s my list of the players who could be the game changers for their teams this Saturday:
Kolkata – Pat Cummins
When Kolkata shelled out INR 15.5 crores for Pat Cummins, they were expecting to get a strike bowler who could pick wickets in tandem with Sunil Narine. However, he has struggled to pick wickets this season and currently has only three in 10 matches. What Pat has certainly surprised everyone with is his ability with the bat. He has 130 runs this season, including a brilliant 50 against a strong Mumbai bowling lineup. But, at the end of the day, he was brought in to pick wickets, which he hasn’t been able to do. He still has four matches to turn his and Kolkata’s quickly tanking season around and I back him to be able to do that, starting against Delhi on Saturday.
Delhi – Shikhar Dhawan
In the early part of the season, Shikhar Dhawan was consistently scoring 20s and 30s but was failing to convert those starts into big scores. But that hasn’t been the case lately. Over his last four matches, Dhawan has scored 333 runs and batted through the innings thrice. He also became the first man to hit back-to-back centuries in the Indian T20 League, doing it in Delhi's win over Chennai and then in a tough loss against Punjab. Dhawan has found his touch right at the business end of the tournament, and with Prithvi Shaw struggling, I think his good form is even more crucial to Delhi moving forward.
Ravi Bishnoi - Punjab
One of the primary reasons why I love the Indian T20 League is the opportunity it presents to young Indian players to rub shoulders with the best cricketers on the planet. One player that I'm particularly interested in is Punjab's young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi. He was sensational in the Under-19 World Cup and he’s been brilliant this season, bowling economical spells and picking up timely wickets for his team. What I like about him is he has this feisty attitude and he’s not afraid of being hit and will stay true to his style even if the opposition is targeting him.
Rashid Khan – Hyderabad
Speaking of feisty leg-spinners, few are as good and as aggressive as Rashid Khan. 11 wickets so far this season doesn’t truly reflect his value to the team. He’s bowling at a tremendous economy rate of 5.52 and an average of just 19.63. The other seven teams have recognised that Rashid is the spearhead of the Hyderabad bowling attack and it’s futile to go after him, which explains his ridiculous economy rate this season. Despite his form, Hyderabad are well off the pace in the race for a playoff spot. They have four matches to salvage this season and they are going to need a big contribution from their ace if they are to pull off the improbable.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Hyderabad