The Indian Premier League is undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular cricket leagues, and the salaries on offer help secure the futures of many of the game’s stars. It is also played at an unfriendly time for New Zealand audiences, and with news outlets here only showing short highlights, it can be difficult to keep track of which sides are leading the way and how the New Zealand players are performing.
The game between the Mumbai Indians and the Rising Pune Supergiant played overnight, NZ time, marked the halfway stage of the extensive competition’s round robin phase. With less then a month until the final, we check in to see how the New Zealanders and their sides are tracking.
Mitchell McClenaghan & Tim Southee
Mitchell McClenaghan had a superb year for Mumbai in 2016, pushing hard for the competition’s “Purple Cap” for the leading wicket-taker. He’s started out 2017 in useful form, sitting inside the top 5 once again with twelve wickets through eight games. His best performance was 3 for 24 against Delhi, including Corey Anderson for a duck. Southee’s luck has been a little different, claiming just one wicket in two appearances. Mumbai were the 2015 IPL champions and, even though they dropped their latest match, they’re in a good spot to reclaim their title this season.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Trent Boult & Colin de Grandhomme
Trent Boult fetched a million dollars at the IPL auction, but he’s finding it a little tougher on the field with just two wickets in four outings. Coming back from the injury that kept him out of the final Test against South Africa, BLACKCAPS’ fans will be hoping his return peaks for the Champions Trophy. De Grandhomme has had four chances to run out in purple, claiming four wickets (including 3 for 4 as they bowled out Bangalore for 49) and making the highlight reel for a rocket throw that resulted in a run out. Sitting a win ahead of the pack in second, Kolkata will be looking for their BLACKCAPS to help push to the finals.
The Sunrisers are in a good position to push on in the 2017 IPL, and the strength in their side is emphasised by the fact the BLACKCAPS’ captain had to ride the pine for their first five games. When Williamson got a chance, he hit 89 in a man of the match knock to seal their fourth victory of the tournament. He followed that up with 21 off 14 in a loss to Pune.
Rising Pune Supergiant
In his debut IPL season, Lockie Ferguson has played in just one match for the best-named side in sport. To say the Supergiant are star-studded is an understatement: they are coached by Stephen Fleming, led by Steve Smith, feature the number one T20 bowler in the world – Imran Tahir, and the man with three million reasons to love the IPL, Ben Stokes. The benefit of these stars is starting to show through as Pune have won three straight to lift them off the bottom of the table and put them right in contention for the finals.
Kings XI Punjab
Matt Henry & Martin Guptill
Kings XI are well-stocked with overseas imports, including the man who nearly stole an unlikely victory for Australia at Eden Park, which has seen both BLACKCAPS’ miss out – although Guptill has a valid reason to stay off the park. After going through a long losing streak, the Kings XI side could do worse than introducing the Canterbury quick who awaits his IPL debut. In the case of Guptill, his return from injury is still being carefully managed with one eye on the Champions Trophy. BLACKCAPS’ physio, Tommy Simsek, is in India helping to manage his return.
Delhi sit in sixth spot but it’s only net run rate that keeps them off the bottom of the table. Corey Anderson has featured in three of their matches, but against Kings XI Punjab he showed his all round class. Batting first, Anderson finished off the Delhi innings with 39* off 22 balls, including a 4, 6 finish to the innings. With the ball he claimed 1 for 23 in a spell that was highlighted by effective use of the elusive yorker.
Since he kicked off the inaugural IPL tournament, 10 years ago, with a blistering 158*, Brendon McCullum has been one of the tournament’s stars. Now, as a “35 year old mercenary”, McCullum is leading the way for the batsman-heavy Lions. While he’s been in the runs, his side have struggled with the ball and currently sit at the bottom of the table alongside Bangalore and Delhi on just four points.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Daniel Vettori-coached Royal Challengers have just one win in their last five games, including a horror match against Kolkata where they made just 49 – the lowest score in IPL history. Their most recent victory was over McCullum’s Gujarat side where Adam Milne took a catch in the deep to end his former-BLACKCAPS’ captain’s big hitting. The Stags’ quick has featured in just two games, highlighted by bowling three-million-dollar-man, Ben Stokes, for his first wicket in the 2017 IPL.
2017 IPL Standings
(after 28 games)
|Kolkata Knight Riders|
|Rising Pune Supergiant|
|Kings XI Punjab|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore|
Cover image: Sunrisers’ fans watch an IPL match, Jms1241 via WikiMedia Commons