This year’s edition has seen a number of little-known players put their hands up and deliver, even as some of the bigger names have struggled. Here’s a closer look at six such cricketers.
David Miller: The Kings XI Punjab batsman has been a sensation without doubt. The 23-year-old left hander, who has played a few ODIs and T20 for South Africa, has played some of the most astonishing knocks in this year’s edition. In nine matches, Miller has blasted 366 runs so far at a strike rate of 165 with one hundred and three fifties. His unbeaten 80 against Warriors came off merely 41 balls, and led the side to an unbelievable win. Further, his 101 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore came off just 38 balls, and shell-shocked Bangalore into submission. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Punjab’s fortunes in IPL 6 have rested solely on Miller’s shoulders.
Sanju Samson: This Rajasthan Royals batsman is only 18 years old, but his maturity defies his age. Samson has played some crucial cameos under pressure to take Rajasthan home more than once. He made 63 off 41 balls against Bangalore in a tense clash with Rajasthan won. Against Kings XI Punjab, he picked up three catches and scored a quickfire, unbeaten 27, as Rajasthan were victorious in another close match. In another match against Punjab, he contributed a crucial 47 from 33 balls, to play a pivotal role in a Rajasthan win. Overall, Samson has gathered 187 runs in seven games at an impressive average of 47.
Stuart Binny: He has been the finisher to perfection for Rajasthan. In 13 matches, Binny has scored 219 runs at a brilliant strike rate of 157 and an average of 36.50. His match-winning cameos feature an unbeaten 32 from 13 balls against Pune Warriors and 41 not out off just 23 balls versus Chennai Super Kings. Binny has contributed with the ball as well, picking up 2/14 against Mumbai Indians whilst keeping things tight on other occasions.
Hanuma Vihari: The mainstay of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their debut season, Vihari has shot into the limelight out of nowhere. The 19-year-old right-hand batsman has played some very attractive knocks for his side. He made a crucial 46 against Punjab in a floundering chase to win the game for Hyderabad. His swift 25 against Mumbai Indians also came in a match-winning cause. He also made 41 in the latest clash against Mumbai. So far, he has smashed 215 runs in 14 games, at a strike rate of 94.
James Faulkner: The left-arm seamer from Rajasthan has been one of the finds of the season for sure. The young Aussie has come up with some superlative performances, which include 5/20 against Hyderabad, 3/16 against Mumbai and 3/20 against Super Kings. In all, he has grabbed 19 wickets in 12 games at a strike rate of less than 15.
Sachithra Senanayake: The tall off-spinner from Sri Lanka, who is representing Kolkata this season, has been an able support to Sunil Narine when he has played. In fact, he has been a threat in himself. In seven games, he has grabbed eight scalps at a reasonable strike rate of 21. Senanayakehas kept things tight throughout, claiming 2 for 26 against Rajasthan and 1 for 18 against Bangalore in his two most recent appearances.
--By A Cricket Analyst