With the IPL 2014 having moved on to India, teams will be starting to cast their eye towards the knockout phases.
The standard of cricket has been enthrallingly high in this year's competition, as the eight sides have jostled for supremacy atop the the IPL standings. And in cricket, when high-quality performances come about, they usually manifest themselves into exceptionally high or exceptionally low totals.
Ahead of the Rajasthan Royals’ clash with the Mumbai Indians, let’s take a look at the best and worst scores accumulated by teams in the competition so far and the players who have shone as we move toward the final knockings of this gripping competition.
Highest and Lowest Team Scores
|Kings XI Punjab||231/4||Chennai Super Kings||7 May 2014|
|Kings XI Punjab||211/4||Sunrisers Hyderabad||14 May 2014|
|Kings XI Punjab||206/4||Chennai Super Kings||18 April 2014|
|Chennai Super Kings||205/4||Kings XI Punjab||18 April 2014|
|Sunrisers Hyderabad||205/5||Kings XI Punjab||14 May 2014|
|Lowest (20 over games only)|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||70||Rajasthan Royals||26 April 2014|
|Delhi Daredevils||84||Chennai Super Kings||21 April 2014|
|Rajasthan Royals||102||Sunrisers Hyderabad||8 May 2014|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||109||Kings XI Punjab||26 April 2014|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||114/9||Chennai Super Kings||2 May 2014|
Kings XI Punjab have scored the three highest team totals in the tournament so far thanks to some sensational efforts from their batting line-up.
Led by Glenn Maxwell—the most prolific batsman in the competition—the Punjab outfit have posted totals of 231/4 and 206/4 in their two games against the Chennai Super Kings, and a score of 211/4 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Maxwell struck 90 runs from just 38 balls to help Punjab post that leading total. Here are some of the best bits of that stunning knock:
Three other sides have managed to get past the coveted 200-run mark, with Chennai Super Kings and Hyderabad posting scores of 205 against Kings XI, whilst the Rajasthan Royals scored 201/6 against the Delhi Daredevils.
Can anyone beat Kings XI Punjab's total of 231/4?
The worst score of the tournament came from Royal Challengers Bangalore, as they collapsed to 70 all out against the Rajasthan Royals, Pravin Tambe taking figures of four for 20.
It’s difficult to see anybody surpassing that wonderful total of 231/4 from Kings XI Punjab. Maxwell’s effort was one of the greatest-ever Twenty20 knocks, and he was superbly complemented by a blistering innings of 40 from 13 balls by Punjab skipper George Bailey.
The only side that might be capable of bettering that total is the Chennai Super Kings, given their power at the top of the order with Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, but unless Maxwell gets on another roll, 231/4 looks set to be the biggest total of the tournament.
Player of the Tournament Contenders
The standout player in the competition thus far is Kings XI Punjab batsman Maxwell. At the time of writing, the Aussie has smashed an enormous 517 runs from his 10 appearances in the competition, leading Punjab’s charge to the top of the IPL standings.
It’s been a remarkable tournament for Maxwell after a year of exceptional progression. He’s taken his game to a different level in 2014, as illustrated here by Cricket Record:
Glenn Maxwell's T20 debut was in 2010. So far he has played 81 T20s & has hit 104 sixes - 57 of those 6s he has hit in 2014 in 23 game. #IPL— Cricket Record (@cricinfo_record) May 14, 2014
To score 500 runs in an IPL series is an achievement in itself, but to go past that mark after just 10 games is a truly incredible feat. With a stunning strike rate, he’s set to eclipse the record for the most runs ever in an IPL series, which is currently jointly held by Chris Gayle and Michael Hussey with 733 runs.
Maxwell's marvellous strike rate is noted here by Opta Jim:
500 - @Gmaxi_32 has recorded the 23rd instance of a player hitting 500 runs in an IPL season; he has the highest S/R on this list, 201. Hot.— OptaJim (@OptaJim) May 14, 2014
There are few batsmen who are coming close to matching Maxwell’s haul, but David Warner is a player who is beginning to find his feet in this competition. A tricky start to the campaign saw the Hyderabad Sunrisers man accumulate a meagre 64 runs from his first three knocks.
But as the series has gone on, he’s started to find his rhythm and given his side an outside chance of making the knockout phases. He remains 142 runs behind Maxwell, though, having played one game more, a measure of the quality showcased by his compatriot.
With the ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma have been the standout players, sharing 36 wickets between them.
When you think of T20 cricket, typically you think of lightning-quick bowling and stumps ripped out of the ground. But neither of these bowlers is of that ilk.
Kumar bowls at a medium pace but can make the ball talk. The Hyderabad man can swing and seam the ball, making it extremely difficult for the batsmen to score quickly. The man dubbed “Bhuvi” frustrates the opposition batsmen and, in this format, that typically leads to wickets.
Sharma has also been very impressive with the ball and has taken wickets consistently throughout the course of the competition. This infographic shows whom he has struck against to put him in joint possession of the purple cap with Kumar:
Playing for the Chennai Super Kings—who currently sit in second place in the overall standings—Sharma has a better chance of going on and claiming the player of the tournament gong than Kumar, whose toiling Sunrisers side could miss out on the playoffs.
But you suspect they’ll both have to be especially prolific if they are to wrestle the award from the clutches of Maxwell, who has been phenomenally good so far. If the Punjab batsman continues to score at such an impressive rate, Kings XI have a wonderful chance of the winning the competition, and Maxwell will surely be named as player of the tournament.
All statistics courtesy of ESPNcricinfo.com.