Ajinkya Rahane went through three seasons with the Mumbai Indians, playing a handful of games (Two in 2008, Eight in 2009 and Zero in 2010). In 2011, he moved to the Rajasthan Royals, and got to play as many as 10 games but rarely at the top of the order. In IPL-V, Rahane has finally stamped his class, aggregating 416 runs from nine games. He is currently leading the race to the Orange Cap.
Suresh Raina, the leading run-getter in Indian Premier League’s history with 2010 runs, hasn’t scored a fifty after ten games in IPL-V. He has aggregated only 197 runs from 10 games with a highest score of 44. In IPL-IV, he scored 438 runs from 16 games including four fifties.
Haul of fame
After a few reasonable outings, KKR mystery spinner Sunil Narine (below) made his presence felt with an incredible haul of five for 19 against Kings XI Punjab on April 15. Since then, Narine has emerged as the leading bowler in Gautam Gambhir’s outfit. In seven outings, Narine has 12 wickets at an incredible economy rate of 5.53.
The dark horse
Whe South Africa defend the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy in England this summer, you’d expect Morne Morkel to play a key role for Graeme Smith’s side. With a beautiful open-chested action, the lanky fast bowler from Transvaal has the ability to extract bounce and bowl genuinely fast. But Morkel was never handpicked as one for the fast-food version of the sport. In fact, he’s yet to cement his place in South Africa’s T20 squad. That’s why Morkel’s haul of 18 wickets from nine matches for the Delhi Daredevils is a revelation of sorts. On Sunday evening, at 138 for one after 18 overs in a chase of 153, you would have expected Rajasthan Royals to win easily. But Morkel turned the match on its head for the Daredevils, giving away just three runs and dismissing Brad Hodge. He has undeniably been the most valuable player for IPL-V table-toppers, Daredevils.
Yusuf Pathan, purchased for a whopping by 2.1 million USD by Kolkata Knight Riders last year, has now gone 24 matches without scoring a fifty since arriving at the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise.
In IPL-V, he aggregates only 48 runs from nine games with a best of 15. His strike rate is less than 100. With the ball, he has only one wicket. Pathan’s poor show notwithstanding, Kolkata have fared well as a unit.
Strike de force
AB de Villiers, South Africa’s limited-overs captain, has almost single-handedly guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to a few victories this season. When it comes to strike-rates, de Villiers tops the charts with 163 — striking it better than Virender Sehwag (158), Kevin Pietersen (155) and teammate Chris Gayle (151).
Virat Kohli, Indian cricket’s hottest commodity, has managed only 147 runs from nine matches in IPL-V at a mediocre strike rate of 102.08. Kohli came into IPL-V on the back of stellar performances in Australia and Bangladesh. Perhaps, Kohli is not motivated to perform for the red and yellow? What are the odds that he won’t score a century the first time he walks out donning India colours? Also missing in IPL-V is his typically electrifying body language. Is Kohli saving up for the second half?
Richard Levi, Mumbai Indians’ glorified pre-season acquisition, started with a brisk knock of 50 against Chennai in Game 1. After that, the South African who holds the record for the fastest Twenty20 century in international cricket (45 balls) has managed only 33 runs from five innings — including two ducks. He is yet to cement his place in the XI.
Still the best
Lasith Malinga is truly the No 1 bowler in Twenty20 cricket. He has proved it over a period of time, and has done so once again in IPL-V with 15 wickets from just six matches. The most amazing aspect of his performance is the economy rate of 5.06 — which is actually a healthy rate even in 50-over cricket.
IPL-V first half in numbers
Highest team score: Chennai Super Kings (208-5/20) v Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chennai on April 12.
Lowest team score: Deccan Chargers (138-9/20) v Mumbai Indians at Visakhapatnam on April 9.
Highest individual score: Ajinkya Rahane (Royals) - 103 not out v Royal Challengers Bangalore at Bangalore on April 15.
Best bowling figures: Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai Super Kings) 4-0-16-5 v Deccan Chargers at Visakhapatnam on April 7.
Most runs: Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan Royals) - 416 runs @ avg of 59.42 and SR of 139.13 in nine matches.
Most wickets: Morne Morkel (Delhi Daredevils) - 18 wickets @ 13.50 and economy rate of 6.94 in nine matches.