IPL 2014: Worst XI of the Week: Chris Gayle, James Faulkner and More
The final week of the league phase of the 2014 Indian Premier League has now passed, and only the all-important playoff games remain.
In a dramatic week, the Kolkata Knight Riders edged the Chennai Super Kings out of the critical top two positions and the Mumbai Indians completed a spectacular heist of the fourth and final playoff spot from the Rajasthan Royals.
But while the final week of the tournament's league stage was a gripping one, it was also notable for the struggles of several big names.
Across the following slides, we examine 11 players who endured a rather difficult seven days in the IPL.
Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Chris Gayle's difficult campaign in India continued last week with a pair of uncharacteristic innings against Hyderabad and Kolkata.
The left-hander's first effort saw him compile a laboured 14 runs from 20 deliveries before completing a similarly disappointing showing against the Knight Riders in which he accumulated just six from nine balls.
The West Indian, who has been battling with a form slump for some time now, has been struggling with a back injury and intends to visit Germany for treatment.
Speaking about his injury, Gayle told the Indian Express, as relayed by ESPN Cricinfo:
It started at the end of the T20 World Cup. I thought initially it was a simple thing but I went back home for a couple of days. Then I travelled back to Dubai to play in the IPL and when I started training I found it difficult. I could not bat properly and bending was a problem and sprinting between the wickets was a problem even though you guys don't see me running much. It was difficult but I tried my best.
Murali Vijay (Delhi Daredevils)
Murali Vijay was another high-profile player to endure a difficult week in the ongoing IPL.
At the top of Delhi's struggling batting line-up, the Indian conjured just 13 runs from two innings against Punjab and Mumbai.
The pair of underwhelming performances saw Vijay dropped for the Daredevils' second encounter with Punjab in Mohali on Sunday, concluding a difficult tournament for the right-hander.
Brought into the Delhi outfit this season to bolster the team's batting stocks, the 30-year-old has managed only 207 runs from 11 innings at a poor strike rate of 107.81.
Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab)
The incredible Glenn Maxwell bubble finally burst this week, as the Kings XI Punjab phenomenon suffered a trio of unsuccessful trips to the crease.
A typically brisk opening against Delhi on Monday was halted on 14 by Imran Tahir, highlighting the Australian's susceptibility to leg spin.
Maxwell then followed up that cameo by scoring just two against Mumbai and ended the week with a duck in the team's second showdown with the Daredevils on Sunday.
At some point in this tournament, the 25-year-old inevitably had to fall out of his batting stratosphere. It took until the final week of the league stage for that to occur.
Shane Watson (Rajasthan Royals)
In 2014, Shane Watson hasn't recaptured the excellence he previously showed in the IPL. Last week was again difficult for the Rajasthan captain.
With the bat, the bulky right-hander accumulated just 13 runs from three disappointing innings. With the ball in hand, Watson was expensive, conceding 49 runs from four overs across the week.
However, it became even worse for the Australian.
Despite leading his team impressively for much of the campaign, the Royals' dramatic capitulation to Mumbai on Sunday saw his side knocked out of the tournament's playoffs.
Kedar Jadhav (Delhi Daredevils)
Two ducks in three innings made for an extremely difficult week for Delhi's Kedar Jadhav.
Like many of his Daredevils teammates, the 29-year-old has found this year's tournament very tough going, as his side has limped to just two victories from 14 matches.
Against Punjab on Monday, the right-hander's dismissal formed part of a late-innings stumble that eventually cost Delhi the game.
His second scoreless effort of the week came amid his team's listless collapse against the same opponents on Sunday, rounding out a dreadful week for Jadhav.
Stuart Binny (Rajasthan Royals)
Stuart Binny's skills as an all-rounder were supposed the give the Rajasthan Royals valuable flexibility in the middle of the team's line-up.
However, that hasn't come to fruition in this year's tournament.
Binny bowled just one over in two matches this week and conceded 12 runs in the process.
As a batsman, the 29-year-old made just nine runs from two innings, the first of which saw the Indian stagger to just two from 10 deliveries.
Unsurprisingly, Binny was dropped for Rajasthan's final match of the week.
Wriddhiman Saha (Kings XI Punjab)
It's perhaps harsh to judge a wicketkeeper by his batting performances. But given that Wriddhiman Saha has been a permanent fixture in Punjab's middle order, he must be subjected to the same criteria as his batting counterparts.
In that sense, the Kings XI keeper-batsman has endured a difficult week with the blade in hand.
Against Delhi on Monday, the former India keeper ground out a sluggish 13 to make his team's chase of 165 more arduous than it should have been.
Two days later at home to Mumbai, Saha stuttered again in his team's middle order by reaching just three from eight deliveries.
As his side heads into the playoffs, Saha's form is a concern should Glenn Maxwell and David Miller fail to fire.
James Faulkner (Rajasthan Royals)
James Faulkner has experienced a tournament of extreme contrast in this year's IPL. From spectacular heroics with the bat to brutal assaults on his bowling, it's been very much a mixed bag for the Australian.
In the league stage's final week, it all turned rather sour for Faulkner.
In all three matches, the left-armer was thrashed around by the competition's batsmen. Against Mumbai on Monday, he conceded 47 from his four overs. The same thing happened against Punjab, as Faulkner was blasted for 39 from three.
And then it got worse versus Mumbai on Sunday, when he was torched for 54 from 3.4 overs to watch his side dramatically fall out of the playoff places.
Krishmar Santokie (Mumbai Indians)
Krishmar Santokie has been an overwhelming success since his introduction to Twenty20 cricket. But it seems that the world's batsmen are beginning to decipher his once-deceptive riddle.
In two appearances this week, the West Indian's bowling was blasted for 90 runs from eight overs—he conceded 50 against Rajasthan on Monday and another 40 up against Punjab on Wednesday.
Luckily for Santokie, neither performance cost his side the game, as Mumbai completed a sensational week to storm into the IPL's playoffs.
However, the 29-year-old's poor showings did cost him his place in the side for his team's final match of the league phase.
Umesh Yadav (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Despite his team's impressive form across the week, Kolkata's Umesh Yadav completed a disappointing seven days with the ball in hand.
A respectable 0/29 from four overs helped his side overcome the Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday. But that's where the efficiency ended for the right-arm seamer.
Against Bangalore, Yadav was hammered for 45 from his quartet of overs, while another disappointing performance against Hyderabad (0/32 from three overs) was forgotten amid Yusuf Pathan's stunning explosion.
Gautam Gambhir could opt to leave the seamer out for the Knight Riders' opening playoff clash against Punjab on Tuesday.
Beuran Hendricks (Kings XI Punjab)
In his debut appearance in this season's IPL, Beuran Hendricks did manage to claim three wickets in his team's victory over Delhi on Monday.
However, it simply can't be ignored that the South African handed in the second-most expensive bowling spell of the tournament on Friday against Rajasthan.
Despite his side's victory, the left-armer was blasted for an alarming 57 runs from his four overs, providing the Royals with a glimmer of hope in their chase of Punjab's 179-4.
If not for the miserly economy of his teammares, Hendricks' performance would have cost Kings XI the match.
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