Every year IPL brings the audience novelties and this year has been no different in this context. This year’s IPL seems to have witnessed almost everything, high scoring games, low scoring thrillers, tensed chases, nail biting finishes and some extraordinary performances.
This year we’ve seen some young exciting talent announcing themselves and some old guns recreating their magic. If at one end stands Hashim Amla’s sublime touch, at the other we saw Rishabh Pant’s explosive knocks. If Basil Thampi displayed promise for the future, Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed what the present holds. Here are our picks of the top 5 batting performances of this season from the group stages.
5. Chris Lynn – 93* of 41 deliveries (KKR vs GL)
It was only the third match when IPL witnessed this moment of “Lynnsanity”. The swashbuckling batsman took IPL by the storm as he smacked the Gujarat Lions bowlers all over the park. Batting first Gujarat Lions set a target of 184 for the Knight Riders, the target seemed par and a tight chase was expected. But Lynn had other plans. What happened next was a Gujarat Lions massacre! Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir opened the batting for KKR, and as it turned out they were the only ones to bat for them that day. Some unbelievable strokeplay was on display from the Queenslander. KKR managed to chase down the total with more that 5 overs to spare. Lynn scored a blistering 93* studded with 6 fours and 8 sixes. After Lynn’s exploits, we can only agree with what Gambhir had to say about his teammate; “.. I feels Lynn is one of the hardest hitters in T20 cricket..”
4. Sanju Samson – 102 of 63 deliveries (DD vs RPS)
An innings which left cricketing greats awestruck with the strokeplay on display and forced the swashbuckling New Zealander Brendon McCullum to confess his love of watching this young Indian batsman. The above sentences pretty much define how talented Samson is. Although he’s young, he has been around for quite some time and almost always among the run scorers. But he wasn’t acknowledged enough. Scoring the first hundred of IPL 2017 Samson announced himself once again. Delhi has been an under rated team because of its lack of experienced batters at the top, but this season proved it to be otherwise. Entering at the scene when Delhi were grieving an early wicket and standing at 2/1. Samson wasn’t quite in the mood to change his natural game, he smacked two consecutive fours off Deepak Chahar stating his intent. And if you really want to know how well he was batting, i’m sure Ashok Dinda and his bowling figures will give you just apt answers. Initially taking time to settle Samson composed his first 50 runs of 41 deliveries followed by a whirlwind batting display scoring 102 of just 63 balls.He hit eight fours and five sixes.
3. Ben Stokes – 103* of 63 deliveries (RPS v GL)
Before the start of the IPL, Ben Stokes was in news but for a not so great reason. There were a lot of talks over, whether Stokes will be able to do justice to the big price tag that came along. Critics were still not done rubbing salt on the T20 world cup final scars inflicted on a pitiful Stokes by a brutal Carlos Braithwaite. But he shut everyone down with match winning performances, proving he is worth every penny. Batting first Gujarat Lions set the Pune team a target of 162. A chase which seemed would be a cakewalk for the batting heavy RPS turned into a tensed one, as some magnificent bowling from Gujarat reduced them to 10/3. But then came the big man Ben Stokes. He decided to go all guns blazing he scored a brutal 103* of just 63 balls, and smashed 7 fours and 6 sixes on the way to his maiden IPL century.
2. David Warner – 126 of 59 deliveries (SRH vs KKR)
David Warner has been in top notch form this season, he has led from the front and is the leading run scorer this season. We all are aware of the fact that when Warner gets going, he just gets going there’s no stopping him. When Warner is in form, his batting is like a sentence which goes on to become a paragraph, there are hardly any full stops. This was one such innings, a crunch game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, which was a must-win game for Sunrisers Hyderabad to stay alive in the race for a playoff berth. Warner had decided to take the onus on himself. It was as if the little man had entered beast mode insanely striking the ball. Opposition captain Gambhir was scratching his head, looking for a solution. Barely 10 overs had passed and Warner had already reached the three digit mark and it looked as if he would break all the records, and might as well score a double ton. Unfortunately he was dismissed for 126, but his knock ensured his team a win. His knock 126 of a mere 59 deliveries was punctuated with 10 fours and 8 sixes.
1. Rishabh Pant 97 of 43 deliveries (DD vs GL)
Rishabh Pant has been a sensation this season. He’s mostly the strongest contender for the Emerging player this year. If Kohli defines the current stature of India’s batting, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Pant assures that its future is in safe hands and it will only get better. Two things are very evident from Pant’s batting which makes you compare him to M.S. Dhoni of the early days. First one being fearlessness and the courage to play his own shots irrespective of the bowler and the conditions, the other being self belief. Pant has carved some beautiful innings this season, may be all of them aren’t big scores but they’ve been a sight to watch. This one against Gujarat Lions becomes even more special as Pant and Samson joined hands to chase down a mammoth 208 with three overs to spare making a mockery of the chase. Pant played for the team he didn’t care for all he thought was if its a bad ball i’ll hit it. He almost got a hundred in the process striking 9 big sixes and 6 boundaries. If this isn’t enough for you, well the God of cricket tweeted saying this has been the best innings he has witnessed in the 10 years of IPL, well you can’t deny God’s verdict, can you?