How India’s World Cup bound stars fared in the IPL

Tushar Bhaduri, Vishal Menon
National selectors named India s 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2019 on April 15. (Source: Reuters)

Tushar Bhaduri & Vishal Menon run the rule on WC-bound Indian batsmen to gauge their actual form from their IPL stats and find out the state of their game.

Shikhar Dhawan: Consistency at the top

Inn – 6 inns, Runs – 521, S/R – 135.67, Highest – 97*, 50s/100s – 5/0

Shikhar Dhawan is, more often than not, expected to play the role of an enforcer at the top of the order for India, allowing Rohit Sharma the time to play himself in. It s a role the left-hander carried out with considerable success for Delhi Capitals. Also, despite such an aggressive approach, Dhawan was quite consistent throughout the campaign, before tapering off a bit towards the end.

Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan raises his bat after scoring fifty runs during the VIVO IPL cricket T20 match against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Bikas Das/File)

Star turn: 97* off 63 balls vs KKR

Dhawan helped Delhi ace a target of 178 with an over to spare. KKR had four World Cup-bound bowlers in their line-up Lockie Ferguson, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite and Kuldeep Yadav. In the fourth over of the innings, Dhawan hits Russell for three fours, though two of them came via fielding lapses.

India’s 15-man World Cup squad named.

In the next over, he slams a short ball from Ferguson to the midwicket fences. When Brathwaite was brought on in the 10th over, he was creamed through the covers and glanced to the fine-leg fence. In the 13th over, Ferguson was hit twice to the cover fence as his extra pace played to Dhawan s advantage. When Kuldeep provided a full ball on off-stump, he was smashed one-bounce to the straight boundary.

The way Dhawan dealt with Russell and Ferguson showed that he is no mug against pace, especially if the pitch is true.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Prasidh Krishna – 24 off 15 balls;
Lockie Ferguson – 17 off 8 balls;
Andre Russell – 17 off 11 balls;
Kuldeep Yadav -14 off 12 balls;
Piyush Chawla – 7 off 6 balls;
Carlos Brathwaite – 12 off 5 balls;
Nitish Rana – 7 off 6 balls.

Rohit Sharma: Lukewarm season

Inn – 15, Runs – 405, S/R – 128.57, Highest – 67, 50s/100s – 2/0

With just two fifties to show in 16 matches, the 2019 campaign wasn’t too productive with the bat for Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma.

Star turn: 67 off 48 balls vs CSK

Of his two half-tons, Rohit’s innings in the league encounter in Chennai was his best of the tournament. It was a turning pitch, and Rohit used his skill and experience to guide the rest of the batsmen through most of the innings. Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir found the pitch to their liking but the South African leggie didn’t have one of his best days.

Rohit Sharma leaves after his dismissal during the Indian Premier League 2019 (IPL T20) cricket match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Eden Garden in Kolkata. (PTI/File)

Rohit didn’t take many risks against the two spinners who will soon be in action at the World Cup, a square drive past point his only boundary off the Kiwi left-armer. But he took full toll on Tahir in the 16th over. A half-tracker was pulled to the leg-side boundary, a ball on leg-stumps was thumped to the long-on fence, before a slog-sweep found its way over the boundary. All of Rohit’s other boundaries came off Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh.

It was not his most fluent innings, but his first fifty of the campaign proved that Rohit can play according to the situation.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Deepak Chahar – 3 off 7 balls;
Harbhajan Singh – 17 off 11 balls;
Imran Tahir – 21 off 13 balls;
Dwayne Bravo – 7 off 6 balls;
Mitchell Santner – 9 off 11 balls (dismissed).

Virat Kohli: Well Below his best

Inn – 14, Runs – 464, S/R – 141.46, Highest – 100, 50s/100s – 2/1

By his own high standards, the India skipper had a slightly disappointing IPL with the bat, especially at the back end. Kohli managed a century and two fifties in 14 matches, but that s nowhere near what he s capable of.

Star turn: 100 of 58 balls vs KKR

His best knock was the 100 of 58 balls at Eden Gardens during a phase when RCB threatened to make a comeback into contention. Kohli faced Russell and Yadav as well as Sunil Narine, who despite not being in the Windies World Cup squad, is not to be underestimated.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli reacts as he leaves the field after being dismissed during the VIVO IPL T20 cricket match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals in Bangalore. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi/File)

Narine conceded a boundary to Kohli in the fourth over, but it had a lot to do with KKR s shoddy fielding. It also needs mention that earlier, Kohli had survived a leg-before appeal against the mystery spinner.

It was Kuldeep who was at the receiving end soon as Kohli hit two boundaries off tossed-up deliveries, first to the straight boundary and then to the cover fence, in the eighth over.

When Russell dug one short in the 11th over, the RCB skipper deposited him over the long-leg boundary. He actually feathered one to the wicketkeeper in that over, without anyone appealing.

In the 18th over, Kohli gave a glimpse of his talent when he hit a short ball from Narine off the back foot over long-on for six.

The innings displayed Kohli s game management skills as he targeted KKR s lesser bowlers and didn t take undue risks against the fancied ones. If anything, it was Moeen Ali who played the more belligerent shots against the more threatening bowlers.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Harry Gurney – 24 off 13 balls (dismissed);
Sunil Narine – 21 off 13 balls;
Prasidh Krishna – 27 off 12 balls;
Andre Russell – 14 off 11 balls;
Kuldeep Yadav – 12 off 7 balls;
Piyush Chawla – 2 off 2 balls.

KL Rahul: Churning out Runs

Inn – 14, Runs – 593 runs, S/R – 135.38 Highest – 100*, 50s/100s – 6/1

The elegant right-hander was the second-highest run scorer in the league, though his scoring rate wasn’t up to scratch as times, which can partly be attributed to the lack of firepower in the Kings XI Punjab side down the order. Rahul was He started slowly but found his form as the season went on, hitting a hundred and six half-centuries.

Star turn: 100* off 64 balls vs MI

His best innings came in a losing cause against Mumbai Indians, his unbeaten 100 off 64 balls keeping the innings together.

KL Rahul scored a blistering knock against CSK in their 6-wicket win. (Source: AP/File)

At Wankhede, Rahul was up against a strong bowling attack which included Jasprit Bumrah, Jason Behrendorff and Hardik Pandya, but was hardly fazed.

After a quiet start, Rahul opened his shoulders when he took a Behrendorff delivery slanting across him on the top of the bounce to hit it over the off-side infield for a boundary.

Bumrah has been a difficult proposition for most batsmen, but in the sixth over, Rahul read a slower delivery and hit it to the boundary off the back foot.

But Rahul, not in the best of form till then, was largely content with letting his partners take the lead while focusing on milking the lesser bowlers and adding to his tally. It was only in the final two or three overs that he showcased his strokeplay. Bumrah was slashed between point and short third-man for a boundary in the 18th over.

Next over, close friend Hardik was taken to the cleaners. First a length ball was hit over extra cover for six. Then a slower delivery was hit in the same general direction for a boundary. A short delivery was hit over fine leg for a maximum, followed by slower ball that went over the bowler’s head and into the stands. In the 20th over, Bumrah was sent over deep square leg with a pick-up shot.

The innings showed that Rahul can make a mockery of the best of bowlers once he has his eye in.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Jason Behrendorff – 10 off 14 balls;
Jasprit Bumrah – 21 off 13 balls;
Alzarri Joseph – 19 off 9 balls;
Rahul Chahar – 12 off 9 balls;
Hardik Pandya – 32 off 12 balls;
Krunal Pandya – 6 off 7 balls.

Kedar Jadhav: Not much impact

Inn – 12, Runs – 162, S/R – 95.85, Highest – 58*, 50s/100s – 1/0

Kedar Jadhav was a bit player in Chennai Super Kings’ plans before a shoulder injury ended his involvement.

Star turn: 58 off 54 balls vs MI

His best contribution was a 58 off 54 balls in a tough, and unsuccessful, chase in Mumbai. Apart from Bumrah, Behrendorff and Hardik, the hosts’ attack also featured Lasith Malinga.

Kedar Jadhav picked up a shoulder injury. (Source: IPL)

Jadhav was scoreless for first six deliveries, but opened his account with a six over backward square leg when Malinga strayed on to his pads. When the Lankan bowled there again two balls later, he went over the short fine-leg fielder for a boundary.

But it was against Bumrah that Jadhav showcased his best. In the seventh over, a short ball was pulled to the midwicket fence, a free-hit was shovelled out of the blockhole with the bottom hand over mid-on, and then ramps a short delivery over slip.

But that was as good as it got for a long period as CSK were becalmed by the Mumbai attack. The loss of MS Dhoni at a crucial stage also didn’t help matters. Then with the asking rate going beyond 15, Jadhav hit Malinga for two cheeky boundaries either side of the wicket. But it was the last flicker of the flame.

Jadhav’s fitness for the World Cup is yet uncertain. But even if he goes to England, one can’t gauge much about his form from his IPL returns.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Lasith Malinga – 20 off 11 balls (dismissed);
Jason Behrendorff – 2 off 4 balls;
Hardik Pandya – 6 off 8 balls;
Jasprit Bumrah – 17 off 14 balls;
Rahul Chahar – 7 off 7 balls;
Krunal Pandya – 6 off 9 balls.

Dinesh Karthik: Forgettable outing

Inn – 13, Runs -253, S/R – 146.24, Highest – 97*, 50s/100s – 2/0

Dinesh Karthik s inclusion in the World Cup party was the biggest surprise and Dinesh Karthik has hardly done much to convince the doubters. His leadership and captaincy calls have been second-guessed as Kolkata Knight Riders slumped to a six-game losing streak.

Star turn: 97* off 50 balls vs RR

His unbeaten 97 off 50 balls against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens was one of the few bright spots in his campaign. Karthik was facing the likes of Oshane Thomas, who will be in action at the World Cup, and Jofra Archer could very well do so for England. Shreyas Gopal was also a revelation for the Royals.

KKR captain Dinesh Karthik plays a shot during his 97-run knock against Rajasthan Royals. (PTI/File)

Coming out to bat at No.4, Karthik was circumspect to begin with and had just three off 10 deliveries at the halfway stage. Then he targeted Gopal first sending a half-tracker over square-leg, before an outside edge and misfield brought two boundaries. A full toss was driven to the extra cover fence.

Next over saw Archer flicked for six over deep square-leg, and later for two more maximums in the penultimate over a short ball swatted over extra cover and a slower ball pulled over deep square-leg. Thomas’s free-hit went over long leg. It revived memories of Karthik’s heist in the Nidahas final last year. But will he be able to provide an encore under pressure at the World Cup?

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Jofra Archer – 23 off 16 balls;
Shreyas Gopal – 19 off 6 balls;
Riyan Parag – 1 off 2 balls;
Jaydev Unadkat – 35 off 14 balls;
Oshane Thomas – 10 off 6 balls;
Varun Aaron – 10 off 6 balls.

MS Dhoni: The Legend Grows

Inn – 12, Runs – 416, S/R – 134.62, Highest – 84*, 50s/100s – 3/0

There have often been suggestions that MS Dhoni s superpowers are now on the wane, but Dhoni showed, time and again, during the IPL that there is life in the old dog yet. With Chennai Super Kings top order being uncharacteristically shaky, the skipper often had to bail them out of tricky situations, whether batting first or second.

Star turn: 84* off 48 vs RCB

Chasing 162 in Bangalore, CSK found themselves in a familiar situation 4/28 when Dhoni walked in. The opposition included Dale Steyn, the impressive Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav and Marcus Stoinis. His unbeaten 84 off 48 balls was a classic.

This time, he was quick off the blocks, slashing his first delivery, from Umesh past point for a boundary. In the ninth over, Stoinis s short ball was pulled to the square-leg fence. In the Aussie s next over, a length ball was sent over extra cover for a maximum.

MS Dhoni made a whirlwind 84* off 48 balls as CSK nearly chased down the target in Bangalore. (BCCI/File)

Chahal had been difficult to get away the whole evening, but with the asking rate getting close to 15 with a little over four overs remaining, the CSK skipper had no choice but to take the leggie on when he bowled his last ball, hitting Chahal over his head for a six.

Saini was another impressive performer, but it was no time to pick-and-choose bowlers. A thick outside edge went to the third man fence in the 17th over.

The asking rate was above 16 now, and Steyn had the ball. The South African stalwart bowled a pretty good over, but an off-cutter was picked early and smashed over long-on.

With 36 needed off two overs, one saw the unusual sight of Dhoni refusing singles with Bravo at the other end. An uppercut went for six over third man when Saini overstepped, but Dhoni had still left himself 26 to get off the last over.

For five-sixth of that over, Umesh must have thought he was in a nightmare as he went the journey regardless of the length he bowled short, full, full toss. But with two needed off the last ball, Dhoni failed to connect with an off-cutter and non-striker Shardul Thakur was run out by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel trying to steal a bye that would have forced a Super Over.

The narrow loss notwithstanding, the match showed that the Dhoni computer works according to its own configuration and nothing is seemingly beyond the man still.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Umesh Yadav – 29 off 8 balls;
Navdeep Saini – 14 off 11 balls;
Pawan Negi – 5 off 4 balls;
Marcus Stoinis – 14 off 13 balls;
Yuzvendra Chahal – 14 off 9 balls;
Dale Steyn – 8 off 3 balls.

Hardik Pandya: Adding to his reputation

Inn – 15, Runs – 402, S/R – 191.42, Highest – 91, 50s/100s – 1/0

If there is one player who has enhanced his reputation this IPL, it is Hardik. A late-over enforcer has often been the missing piece of the zigsaw for India, and if he can replicate his IPL feats at the World Cup, it can work to the team s advantage. Very few bowlers could effectively counter Hardik s ploy of standing deep in his crease, which allowed him to scoop Yorker-length deliveries with power, often into the stands.

Star turn: 91 off 34 vs KKR

On most occasions, he was asked to play short, sharp cameos at the back end of innings, whether chasing or setting up a total. But his 91 off just 34 balls, while chasing 233 against KKR at Eden Gardens, made the seemingly impossible within reach at one stage. The opposition included Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, but Hardik was in the mood that day.

Hardik Pandya has been the most valuable player for Mumbai Indians in IPL 12.

The asking rate was around 15 when he came out and found Piyush Chawla to his liking. Narine was swept over deep midwicket for a six. With Harry Gurney also proving to be cannon fodder, Hardik brought up his fifty off just 17 balls, Narine repeatedly going to and beyond the legside boundary and, once in a while, straight, without seemingly any backlift evoking comparisons with Dhoni s helicopter shot. It was only Russell who kept him in check that night.

Unless he is confronted with genuine pace from a bowler who can bowl the short ball effectively, Hardik can well repeat the carnage at the World Cup.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Andre Russell – 3 off 3 balls;
Piyush Chawla – 35 off 12 balls;
Sunil Narine – 32 off 11 balls;
Harry Gurney – 21 off 8 balls (wicket).

Vijay Shankar: Flattering to deceive

Inn – 14, Runs – 244, S/R – 126.42, Highest – 40, 50s/100s – 0/0

The Tamil Nadu all-rounder s stock has gone down in the IPL. He often flattered to deceive when asked to lend some much-needed spine to the Hyderabad middle order. He started the tournament well enough, but tapered off as it went along.

Star turn: 35 off 15 vs RR

Among a bunch of largely underwhelming performances, his cameo to help Sunrisers get over the line in a big chase against Rajasthan Royals was the best. His 35 off 15 balls ensured that the team got back to winning ways after starting off with a defeat. A target of 199 was overhauled with an over to spare against the likes of Archer, Stokes and Gopal.

The asking rate was over nine with nine overs left when Shankar arrived. He started with a pull to the deep square-leg fence against Stokes. Dhawal Kulkarni was taken to the cleaners next with two sixes over the leg-side in the 14th over. Unadkat suffered the ignominy of being swept for six. When Shankar departed, he had brought the asking rate much below seven.

Following is the breaking down of his innings in terms of runs scored off each bowler:

Ben Stokes – 7 off 3 balls;
Jaydev Unadkat – 11 off 5 balls
Dhawal Kulkarni – 16 off 5 balls
Shreyas Gopal – 1 off 2 balls (dismissed).