IPL 2014: Key Batsmen to Watch Out for in This Weekend's Playoff Fixtures

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2014

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 19:  Karan Goel of Kings XI hits out during the IPL T20 match between Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab on April 19, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
Tom Shaw/Getty Images

The 2014 Indian Premier League season is reaching its climax, and with the playoffs getting underway on Wednesday, only the most deserving of elite batsmen remain in the mix for this year's silverware.

League toppers Kings XI Punjab will face the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday after their scheduled Tuesday fixture was postponed due to weather, while the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will clash in search of a place in the second qualifying matchup.

Of course, there's so much more to meetings of this magnitude, but big run counts are what fans will be expecting to see in these high-profile encounters, so we detail the main dangermen below.

All statistics provided by ESPNCricInfo.com.


Heavy Hitters To Watch Out For

Corey Anderson, Mumbai Indians

CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH - MARCH 29:  Corey Anderson of New Zealand bats during the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 Group 1 match between New Zealand and the Netherlands at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Chittagong, Bangladesh.  (Phot
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Corey Anderson is way down on the list of this season's highest overall run tallies, having recorded 245 in 10 innings, and is far away from leader Robin Uthappa who sits on a gargantuan 613.

However, the Kiwi propelled Mumbai Indians past Rajasthan Royals on Sunday with a game-deciding 95, clinching his side a place in the playoffs as a result of the win, but just as importantly showing what he's capable of at a most critical juncture in the year.

ESPNcricinfo was quick to praise Anderson for his performance, and even the Royals' official Twitter account reflects the hurt they were subjected to by the New Zealander:

If Mumbai are to defend their title, Anderson finding form in what he's admitted is his weakest cricket discipline could be an essential factor in their playoff aspirations.


Robin Uthappa, Kolkata Knight Riders

While Anderson may be something of an underdog for the post-season drama, the aforementioned Uthappa is anything but.

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 20:  Robin Uthappa of Bangalore is stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni of Chennai during IPL T20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore at St Georges Cricket Ground on April 20, 2009 in Port Eliz
Tom Shaw/Getty Images

The second-place Knight Riders face a difficult task in overcoming the threat of Kings XI Punjab, but the first-place finishers can be gotten at, evidenced by the fact they conceded more runs than any other team this season (2,229), as well as scoring the most (2,427).

Uthappa leads the run for this season's Orange Cap with 613, and his numbers have been consistent, too, considering he's one of only three players this term to register a score of 50 or higher on five or more occasions.


Glenn Maxwell, Kings XI Punjab

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 02: Glenn Maxwell of Australia bats during game three of the International Twenty20 series between Australia and England at ANZ Stadium on February 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Mark Nolan/Getty Images

For much of this year, Glenn Maxwell looked like the man to beat in the race for the Orange Cap, and Kings XI Punjab thrived because of it, but his form has dipped of late.

The Australian all-rounder has scored just 98 runs in his last six matches, which is far, far below the kind of numbers he was picking up in the first eight matches of the 2014 season.

However, as OptaJim points out, Maxwell still boasts a strike rate to be feared:

Punjab finished four points clear of their nearest rivals in the end, a commendable enough distance in truth, but their title hopes will be far better off if they can rely upon Maxwell to be hitting top form.