Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 12 May 2014 - 02:34pm IST
IPL Stars to Watch: Week 5
Watch out for these impact players in the coming week
When the hammer came down on Delhi Daredevils’ bid for Kevin Pietersen, the franchise owners must have been glad that they signed on one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world. However, the team hadn’t realised too many runs from the 33-year-old in the first three weeks of the season. However, in DD’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the South African-born Englishman took the aggressive way to get out of the rut – he walked out to open the innings and played some stunning shots. His square drive, which is considered to be one of the toughest shots to play, and his two sixes straight down the ground – one off Karn Sharma and the other off Moises Henriques – stood out. Those shots were indicative of the fact that KP had rediscovered his form. Here’s hoping he will be able to light up the scoreboard and entertain the usually-packed M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru when DD take on RCB later this week.
In the past three seasons, Chris Gayle has scored a mountain of runs for RCB and was expected to do the same again in Pepsi IPL 2014. However, RCB suffered a big blow when he suffered an injury in the days leading up to the competition and had to miss out the first few matches. On his return to the side, the Jamaican played the big shots he was expected to, but unlike previous season, his knocks remained cameos. He has scored 108 runs in his first five outings – 90 of them coming through hits to the fence – but his best effort remains a 38. With RCB falling behind in the race for the Playoffs, it is about time Gayle started piling on the runs. And the match against the Delhi Daredevils later this week might just be a good time to start.
After a wretched start to Pepsi IPL 2014 – where he scored just one run from four innings – Gautam Gambhir seems to have turned a corner. Since the birth of his daughter – which he thinks has brought him a lot of luck – the Kolkata Knight Riders captain has posted three half-centuries in three innings. He has shown an inclination to bat longer – he has batted well into the second-half of the innings – and has scored at a fair clip too. Having sailed through the tough times, Gambhir will know – given all the experience behind him – that it’s best to make merry when in form. KKR are locked in a mid-table battle with several other teams, and given the kind of individual he is known to be – a fierce competitor, focused and intense – expect him lead from the front in his team’s matches against the Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the coming week.
He has lost a lot of weight, appears lean and fit, has spent hours working on his batting with his personal batting coach, and is reaping the rewards now. Robin Uthappa, one half of Kolkata Knight Riders’ successful opening pair, is possibly playing his best cricket currently. He still has the tendency to walk across the stumps occasionally, but he’s batted with very good balance in recent times, and has hit the ball sweetly. The 28-year-old finds himself in a good space; he’s scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket, his state team, Karnataka, won most of the major domestic cricket titles in the season gone by, and it is showing off in his batting. In the coming week, he will be pitted against the Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad.