IPL Worst XI of the Week: Including MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and Dale Steyn
The penultimate week of the IPL group stage has been kind to Kolkata Knight Riders, winning two from two, and Kings XI Punjab, who completed the biggest run chase of the week by knocking off 211 with an over to spare in their only game of the week.
On the wrong end of that defeat were Sunrisers Hyderabad who had a miserable week, losing all three games to slip away from contention for a play-off spot. The only team in a bigger trough of form are Kevin Pietersen's Delhi Daredevils, who also failed to record a victory across two fixtures, and unsurprisingly these sides offered rich pickings for our IPL Worst XI of the week.
They are joined by some big names who failed to meet their own high standards with mixed results for some of the more upwardly mobile sides in the IPL, so read on to see who has had the misfortune to make the worst XI of the week.
1. Virender Sehwag, Kings XI Punjab
1 innings, 4 runs
In a game where more than 400 runs were scored, veteran biffer Virender Sehwag will have been disappointed not to have cashed in, departing just second ball with a four to his name.
Fresh from a domineering 72 from 50 balls in his previous knock, Sehwag climbed into the opening ball of the innings to register a boundary then got carried away, lobbing a simple catch trying to repeat the aerial route to the boundary.
With Sunrisers Hyderabad's top four having all got starts with three making 40 or more and the rest of the Kings XI Punjab batting order laying into the struggling Sunrisers' attack, Sehwag will have watched on ruefully, chastising his own impatience.
2. Shikhar Dhawan, Sunrisers Hyderabad
3 Innings, 75 runs
This might seem harsh based on statistics, with Shikhar Dhawan punctuating two inconsequential knocks with a positive 45 from 37 balls to set up a strong, though ultimately futile, total of 205 versus Kings XI Punjab.
However, this was the week when Dhawan lost the captain's armband to Darren Sammy after skippering the Sunrisers to two defeats. He has also again failed to provide any solid evidence to disprove the theory that David Warner should be resuming his international opening partnership with Aaron Finch.
With Warner having registered four half-centuries, two unbeaten, alternating between No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 in the order, Dhawan's 75 runs from three innings is just not good enough to justify his current lofty status at the top of the order.
3. Chidhambaram Gautam, Mumbai Indians
2 Innings, 9 runs, 0 catches, 0 stumpings
It's been a bad week for wicketkeepers past and present, and Chidhambaram Gautam begins a sequence of four that makes the Worst XI of this week.
Opening the batting for Mumbai Indians, Guatam has had a lean time of things in this edition of the IPL.
Boasting an impressive first-class record, averaging 46 with 10 centuries, Gautam has failed to translate his talent to the shorter format and failed this week to reach his modest career T20 average of 18.
He scored 1 and 8 against Hyderabad and Kolkata respectively, looking particularly out of depth against the latter's Morne Morkel.
Amongst those from behind the stumps making this XI, he takes the gloves having contributed no catches or stumpings.
4. Brendon McCullum, Chennai Super Kings
2 Innings, 25 runs
The commanding Kiwi opener Brendon McCullum can perhaps feel himself unfortunate to make this list after a lively cameo against Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he got their innings off to a brisk start with 19 from 13 balls, including two sixes.
However, across two games where much of the star wattage burned brightly, McCullum was the main disappointment, offering only a brief spark of his true ability.
Against Rajasthan Royals, he perished for six in a game where Shane Watson smashed 51 off 36 balls, Dwayne Smith struck 44 from 35 balls and Mahendra Singh Dhoni took Chennai over the line with 26 from 16 balls.
Against Bangalore his team-mate Suresh Raina's lit up the Chennai innings with a dashing 62 not out from 48 balls, whilst Chris Gayle's measured 46 from 50 balls set up a victory for Bangalore that AB de Villiers made sure of with 28 from 14 balls at the business end.
In terms of big names fans would have turned up to see, McCullum was the only one to truly disappoint in either game.
5. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings
33 runs, 2 Innings (1 not out)
Not currently carrying the gloves and having done all that was asked of him with the bat to seal victory against Rajastan, MS Dhoni might also have grounds for appeal against his inclusion here.
This place almost went to David Hussey for his disastrous bowling performance against Bangalore, gifting them a platform from which to complete a successful run chase. His 17 balls went for 38 runs as De Villiers in particular gorged on his part-time off-breaks.
However, Hussey bowling three overs, including the last, should never have happened, and Dhoni must carry the can for some strange captaincy calls that have landed him on this list as the worst XI's skipper.
Firstly, Dhoni helped danger-man De Villiers off to a flyer by bringing on Hussey when he was new to the crease. Hussey did claim his wicket, but it was not before De Villiers had given the chase momentum with 23 off the 10 previous balls from the Aussie.
With 10 needed from the final over and Mohit Sharma (0/13 from two overs) and Samuel Badree (0/15 from three overs) available, Dhoni bafflingly threw the ball to Hussey, and Yuvraj Singh duly delivered another over of torment, greeting him with a lofted six first ball that made the outcome inevitable.
6. Moises Henriques, Sunrisers Hyderabad
1 innings, 0 runs and 1 wicket for 59 runs in 2 innings
After an ineffectual performance in the defeat to Mumbai Indians where his three overs went for 23 runs at the cost of one spectacular caught and bowled, Moises Henriques would have hoped to make his mark against Kings XI Punjab.
Henriques was certainly more noticeable, but it was not in a good way.
Out for a golden duck when others stepped up to give the Sunrisers 205 to defend, Henriques was the biggest culprit, as Punjab chiselled away at the target, offering Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha some easy pickings.
His first over went for 16 before things got even worse, with his second over flogged for 20. Conceding 5 fours and two sixes in his 12 balls, it was no surprise that Henriques was not required to bowl again nor even turn up for their next game against Kolkata Knight Riders.
7. Dinesh Karthik, Delhi Daredevils
2 innings, 4 runs
The final wicketkeeper wrestling Chidhambaram for the gloves is India international Dinesh Karthik who had a forgettable week with the bat.
With Quinton de Kock keeping wicket against Bangalore, Karthik was free to concentrate on his batting, but it didn't do him much good as Muttiah Muralitharan had him caught second ball for one.
He took the gloves after De Kock was dropped and moved up the order to three, but he did little to merit the promotion with a scratchy three from eight as Delhi failed to get anywhere near the target of 202.
Gloves or no gloves, Karthik is well worth his place in the worst XI of the week.
8. Irfan Pathan, Sunrisers Hyderabad
1 innings, 1 run and 0 wickets for 34 runs in 2 innings
Before Punjab feasted on the bowling of Henriques, Irfan Pathan was the man whom Mumbai Indians tucked into during Hyderabad's first defeat of the week.
With just 16 runs coming off the first four overs, Mumbai Indians were well behind the run-rate. Then Pathan came on, and the innings took off with their total doubled by the end of the over, as Lendl Simmons smacked him for two sixes and a four. More boundaries came from his second over with 13 runs conceded, and the momentum continued as Mumbai cruised to victory with eight balls to spare.
Things did not get much better against Punjab, as Pathan was dismissed for one slogging on the final over and, with his latest performance in mind, only called upon for one over despite four bowlers going for more than 10 per over.
In Hyderabad's final game of the week, Pathan joined Henriques on the bench, as Darren Sammy stepped in, safe in the knowledge he could hardly do much worse.
9. Dale Steyn, Hyderabad Sunrisers
1 wicket for 104 runs in 3 innings
The snarling South African considered by most to be the best fast bowler in the world across all three formats was back to his mean, effective best in Hyderabad's last game of the week with 1/24 against Kolkata Knight Riders. But is was not enough to save Dale Steyn from the ignominy of this list after an indifferent couple of games earlier in the week.
Unable to take wickets or stem the tide against Mumbai, conceding 21 from his third and fourth overs after just eight went from his first two overs, Steyn took an uncharacteristic hammering from Punjab on a batsman-friendly pitch, going for 51 from four overs whilst going wicketless again.
This time it went badly from the first over, with Saha and Vohra both hitting him to the ropes with 16 runs banked. His third over saw him comeback well with no boundaries and just three runs, but his final over was decisive in all the wrong ways for Hyderabad.
With 26 needed from 18 balls, the game was up after George Bailey ended the over with four consecutive boundaries including a pair of sixes bookending two fours.
10. Rahul Shukla, Delhi Daredevils
2 innings, 1 wicket for 85 runs
Delhi Daredevils are in desperate need of some incision in the bowling ranks, but in the last week Rahul Shukla has looked like one of the least likely to provide it.
His career record of 24 wickets in 23 games does not inspire confidence, and he has bowled with little of that in the last week.
Shukla started well enough with just 14 conceded from his first three overs and the prize scalp of Chris Gayle, but things went rapidly downhill from there, as Yuvraj Singh flayed him for four sixes from the final over of the innings on his way to a spectacular unbeaten 68 from 29 balls.
Confidence shot, Shukla sent down four wicketless overs for 44 runs against Bangalore a few days later to complete a dispiriting week with the ball.
11. Vijay Shankar, Chennai Super Kings
1 innings, 0 wickets for 19 runs
With just 10 professional Twenty20 games behind him, 23-year-old Vijay Shankar had a terrific chance to leave an impression on his IPL debut for Chennai Super Kings.
Unfortunately for the youngster, the only impression he left was in the middle of Shane Watson's bat, as the muscular Aussie tucked into him with relish, hitting him out of the attack with a four and two sixes.
To date, a solitary over that went for 19 runs is all Shankar has to show for his IPL experience, but it was a poor enough over to land him the final place in the worst XI of the week.
All data and statistics taken from ESPN Cricinfo.