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The English flavour of IPL 2017

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Ben_Stokes_England_IPL_CricketThe IPL, held during April-May, coincides with the beginning of the cricket season in England. As a result, the English Cricket board and IPL have had a complicated relationship over the years. Thus, there was always a dearth of English players in IPL. But this season was different. Lots of English players showed their brilliance on field and played key roles for their teams. As the dust from IPL 2017 settles and players head to England for Champions Trophy, let’s take a look at the English flavor of IPL 10.

The Background:

A year ago, England reached T20 World Cup final due to brilliant performances from English players on Indian soil. These performances caught the attention of IPL franchisees. But as the auctions were already done, there was no chance for English players to feature in 2016 IPL

In December last year, England toured India and played an ODI and T20 series along with a 5 Test series. It was perfectly timed. As IPL auctions were scheduled in February, the ODI and T20 series were actually an audition for English players. After being impressed by their performances, the IPL teams kept several English players on their radar at the auction. Let’s have a look at the English players who impressed with their game in IPL 10.

1. Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes topped the tables right from the auction itself. He became the highest paid overseas player when Rising Pune Supergiant bought him for a whopping Rs. 14.5 Crores. In no time, Ben Stokes justified his price tag. At the end of IPL, Stokes won the award for most valuable player. 

He was outstanding with Bat, Ball and on field. He turned games single handedly while bowling those crucial overs at the death. Also, his maiden century came at correct time when he scored 103 against Gujarat Lions to assure Pune’s victory on last ball. He got Man of The Match award in 3 matches but in all other matches he had a significant contribution. RPS missed him in the final but one thing is for sure that his IPL journey has just begun and we will see many more match winning performances from him in next editions of IPL.

2. Jos Buttler

Mumbai Indians took the correct decision when they promoted Buttler to open the innings. In first match itself he fired with bat to score 38 of just 19 balls. He and Parthiv Patel laid a solid foundation for the Mumbai Indians middle order. Buttler’s blitzkrieg at the top was one of the main reasons for Mumbai Indians to top the table in league phase. 

Playing against Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians conceded 198 in first innings. The target looked difficult to achieve but Jos Buttler had other plans. He launched counter attack on Kings XI Punjab bowlers and scored 77 off just 37 balls with 7 fours and 5 sixes. Mumbai Indians reached the target with 27 balls to spare. 

Buttler also demonstrated some unique shots like a scoop which he executed perfectly almost every time. In future editions of IPL we will see a lot more innovation and new shots from Jos Buttler.

3. Tymal Mills

Tymal Mills showcased his slow-ball bowling during England’s tour of India. As RCB was looking for a replacement for Mitchell Starc, they found a perfect fit in this southpaw from England. RCB bought him for 12 Crores in the auction. He was 2nd highest paid cricketer in IPL 10 and the highest paid bowler across all editions of IPL. 

Unfortunately, due to injury, Mills could play only 5 games. He mainly bowled at the death and troubled many batsmen while mixing his slower balls with the regular ones. Had he played a full season, he could have been handy and results could have been different for RCB

4. Chris Woakes

Kolkata Knight Riders missed Andre Russell before the start of IPL. They covered it up with a talented all-rounder from England- Chris Woakes. Though Woakes couldn’t match the power hitting of Russell, he was handy in the slog overs. They could count on him to score 3-4 boundaries and add 15-20 runs to the team total in last 2 overs. 

He was accurate with the ball and bowled economical spells in most of the matches. The pitch at Eden Gardens helped his swing and seam bowling style. In the famous victory for KKR, when they bowled out RCB for a paltry 49 runs while defending 131, Woakes returned with magical figures of 2-0-6-3. He took key wicket of Chris Gayle and bowled a crucial spell in tandem with Nathan Coulter-Nile. Once again, against RPS, Woakes almost won a game for his side with 3 wickets in the match that RPS won in the last over. 

5. Sam Billings

Sam Billings was in the squad with Delhi Daredevils in last season as well as this one. DD opted for him ahead of some other senior overseas players like Angelo Mathews due to his power hitting abilities. He could get chance only in 5 games in which he scored one fifty and gave a quick start to Delhi with a 120+ Strike rate in all his innings. After that, Delhi’s young Indian batsmen started scoring runs heavily and he had to make a way for them. Billings has a lot to offer as opener. 

Along with these players there are few other names that played some matches in IPL 10. Jason Roy played for Gujarat Lions, Chris Jordan played the only game which was an eliminator for Sunrisers against KKR and, Eoin Morgan who is a season campaigner played for Kings XI Punjab. In the past as well, we have seen that English players like Kevin Petersen and Andrew Flintoff were instrumental for their teams. 

In the 1st edition of the IPL, Dimitri Mascarenhas was the only English cricketer, playing for the Rajasthan Royals. Since then English players have shown interest and their number has grown in IPL. This season was definitely dominated by English players. With the English cricket calendar coinciding with IPL; it will be interesting to see if IPL can retain this English flavor in the coming editions.

 

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