As the 2020 Indian T20 League approaches its climax, the identity of all four playoff teams were decided in the last game of the league stage following Hyderabad’s win over Mumbai. Qualifier 1 will witness Mumbai locking horns with Delhi, while Hyderabad take on Bangalore in the Eliminator.
With plenty of stars set to be involved in the upcoming clashes, expect some big-match performances, and here are my picks for potential game-changers from each team.
Suryakumar Yadav has been Mumbai’s most impressive batsman this season and the stylish right-hander will be hoping to finish the campaign on a strong note as his team eyes its fifth Indian T20 League crown. Second only to Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul on the leaderboard for most fours hit (54) this year, Suryakumar has been in scintillating form, with cries for his inclusion to the national team getting louder with each passing game. He has scored 410 runs at an average of 41.00 and an impressive strike rate of 150.18. Having been among the runs in most of his games so far, Suryakumar will be looking to finish on a high by adding to his three fifties this season – one of which came against Delhi.
If Delhi are to put their best foot forward in Qualifier 1, they will need their go-to batsman this season to fire at the top of the order. After a slow start to the campaign, Dhawan came into his own and is now Delhi’s leading run-getter for this season. Third on the leaderboard for most runs this season, Dhawan has made 525 runs at an average of 47.72, striking at 145.02. He’s scored three fifties and two centuries in back-to-back games. The last time Dhawan faced Mumbai in the 2020 Indian T20 League, he made a duck. However, he also made an unbeaten 69 against them earlier in the season and I think the elegant left-hander will front a similar display against the defending champions in Dubai on Thursday.
The only bowler among my picks, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has enjoyed another good season with Hyderabad. The leading wicket-taker for Hyderabad this year, with 19 scalps to his name, Rashid’s bowling average of 15.57 and economy of 5.28 are both the best in the league for any bowler across the team, and he’s second only to Rajasthan’s Jofra Archer when it comes to most dot balls this season, with Rashid bowling 152 dot balls so far while Archer finished his season on 175. I will be interested in seeing if he can get the better of Bangalore’s star-studded batting line-up because the winner of the duel between Rashid and the opposition’s best batters is likely to decide the outcome of the match.
AB de Villiers
The former South African skipper may not be leading Bangalore’s run-scoring chart, but there can be no denying the fact that he’s been the player who has had the biggest impact on the fortunes of the team. When on song, he’s the stuff of nightmares for bowlers, especially at the death. Capable of playing all around the ground, Mr. 360 as he’s fondly known has proved himself to be a big-match player in the past. He’s made 398 runs this season at an average of 44.22 and a staggering strike rate of 163.78. A difference-maker in pressure circumstances, de Villiers has hit 23 maximums this year and made four fifties, including a match-winning unbeaten 73 against Kolkata, which he would love to replicate against Hyderabad on Friday.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @SDhawan25