With six of the teams vying for the playoff spots, the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) entered its seventh week boasting its fair share of thrills and chills.
In the last week (October 24-30), the cash-rich event in the UAE witnessed a whole other level of intensity as KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy took a fifer, RR’s Ben Stokes hit a ton, MI’s Hardik Pandya took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, and KXIP’s Chris Gayle missed a ton by a single run.
Kolkata Knight Riders have a rare discovery this season as the 29-year-old Chakravarthy has impressed one and all with his mysterious spin. On October 24, he became the first bowler in this IPL to bag a five-for. His 5/20 against Delhi Capitals was also the first such for KKR since Sunil Narine did it eight years ago.
Varun accounted for Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer with wrong’uns. Shreyas Iyer was done in by a carrom ball. A leg-cutter got rid of Marcus Stoinis, while another wrong’un breached Axar Patel’s defence.
KKR scored 194 runs in 20 overs with the help of Nitish Rana’s 81 and Narine’s 64 runs. Delhi did not have a great start and they ended up scoring only 135 runs. Varun Chakravarthy’s brilliant five wickets helped KKR win by 59 runs and also himself to a maiden India call-up for the T20 series in Australia.
MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings finally got something to cherish from the IPL 2020 when they faced RCB on October 25. Batting first, RCB scored 145 runs in 20 overs. Virat Kohli was the highest run-scorer for RCB with his 50-run knock. Sam Curran took three wickets and stopped RCB at just 145 runs.
CSK chased down the total easily with the help of unbeaten 65 runs scored by Ruturaj Gaikwad and won the match by eight wickets. Although Gaikwad got the Player of the Match against RCB, he didn’t have a blazing start to the tournament as he scored just 0, 5, and 0 in his first three innings. Now, skipper Dhoni believes that the 23-year-old is “one of the most talented players going around”.
On October 25, Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya and Rajasthan Royals’ Ben Stokes came with their guns blazing for their respective sides. Batting first, Mumbai put up 195 runs in 20 overs thanks to Hardik Pandya’s 21-ball unbeaten 60. Pandya’s gesture of taking a knee in support of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement also hogged some light.
In return, Royals’ Ben Stokes showcased another level of batting show as the left-hander made 54-ball 107. Sanju Samson also chipped in with 31-ball 54 which took RR to their target and won the match by eight wickets. Stokes got the Player of the Match for his outstanding innings studded with 14 fours and three maximums.
In KXIP’s clash against KKR, Kolkata batted first and made 149 runs in 20 overs with the help of Shubman Gill and skipper Eoin Morgan scoring 57 and 40 runs respectively. Punjab with the help of Mandeep Singh’s unbeaten 66 runs and Chris Gayle’s 51 runs chased the total and won the match by eight wickets. The run-chase was no less than a challenge for Punjab opener Mandeep as he had lost his dad just before the game.
The 50th match of the season marked yet another thriller as KXIP’s Chris Gayle went on to hammer a 63-ball 99 and helped his team amass 185 runs on board. Jofra Archer did not let Gayle complete his 100 and bowled him for 99 which led the Universe Boss to throw his bat in frustration. The 41-year-old was fined for his offence.
The 186-run target was chased down with the help of Ben Stokes’ half-century. RR won this game by seven wickets. Stokes’ all-round performance earned him the Player of the Match as he took two wickets and also scored 50 runs.