IPL 2016: Best XI from Week 2 of Indian Premier League
After two weeks of the 2016 Indian Premier League season, the only certainty seems to be the battle to qualify for the knockout stages will be tight.
Reigning champions Mumbai Indians are making heavy weather of their title defence, but new boys Gujarat Lions have taken to the competition like a duck to water.
At least Kings XI Punjab have been consistent. Consistently poor, that is. Along with Rising Pune Supergiants, they have managed just one win from five games.
After the opening week, Bleacher Report picked out the best XI. It is now time to do the same after the second week of action.
Please note: Players have been selected for producing impressive performances over the past seven days in the IPL, not necessarily the entire campaign. This is not simply a team of the tournament so far.
1. David Warner
Captain David Warner has made three half-centuries in an excellent week for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The Australian opener made 90 not out against Mumbai Indians then followed up with an unbeaten 74 in a 10-wicket triumph over Gujarat Lions.
Although he did get out against Kings XI Punjab, Warner's score of 59 not only helped his team make it three wins in a row, but also took his overall tally in the competition to 294 runs.
The left-hander averages 98 after five appearances in the tournament and has a phenomenal strike-rate of 168 runs per 100 deliveries faced.
2. Rohit Sharma
Like his Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma's form has been up and down in the IPL so far this year.
The right-handed batsman has managed a trio of half-centuries in six matches—but his other three knocks have all seen him dismissed for single-figure scores.
Rohit made 62 in his side's victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore, but his follow-up score of 65 came in a losing cause against Delhi Daredevils.
His dismissal against the Daredevils was particularly painful—Mumbai's captain collided with team-mate Hardik Pandya and was run out while collapsed in a heap in the middle of the pitch.
3. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli's form for Royal Challengers Bangalore has been outstanding.
He recorded his maiden Twenty20 century on Sunday against Gujarat Lions. A boundary off the final ball of the innings took him through to 100 not out, although his knock ended up being in a losing cause.
Kohli is the current owner of the Orange Cap, an "honour" handed to the batsman who tops the scoring charts.
India's Test captain has piled up 367 runs at an average of 91.75. His scores in the tournament so far are (from first to most recent): 75, 79, 33, 80 and 100 not out.
4. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers gets into the XI for a second successive week because of one innings in particular.
The South African smashed 83 from just 46 deliveries for Royal Challengers Bangalore in their 13-run victory over Rising Pune Supergiants on Friday.
De Villiers shared in a 155-run partnership with skipper Virat Kohli for the second wicket before the pair were dismissed from successive deliveries in the final over.
He also made scores of 29 and 20 during the past week and has a strike-rate of 170.25 in the tournament.
His tally of 12 sixes, meanwhile, puts him level on the maximums leaderboard with Australian David Warner.
5. Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane earns a place after hitting back-to-back half-centuries for Pune Supergiants.
The India batsman has been a shining light in an otherwise dismal debut season for one of two new franchises in the competition.
He made 65 against Royal Challengers Bangalore before following up with 67 in the fixture with Kolkata Knight Riders. However, the Supergiants lost both games, leaving them with just one win from five outings.
While Rahane is opening the batting for Pune, he has to slot in at five in our batting order.
6. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina—captain of a Gujarat Lions franchise that have taken the IPL by storm—passed a personal milestone when batting against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Per journalist Peter Miller on Twitter, the left-hander passed 6,000 Twenty20 runs during his knock of 75.
Raina became just the fifth player to reach the landmark, following in the footsteps of Chris Gayle, Brad Hodge, Brendon McCullum and David Warner, per ESPN Cricinfo.
The 29-year-old has yet to be dismissed for a single-figure score for a Lions side that has roared out of the blocks.
7. Robin Uthappa
With Kolkata Knight Riders sitting on top of the table, it seems only right to have one of their players in the XI.
Robin Uthappa gets the nod as the wicketkeeper-batsman, despite recording a duck in his team's two-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiants on Sunday.
However, the right-hander did make 53 from just 28 deliveries in Kolkata's six-wicket triumph over Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday.
In the same match, Uthappa took three catches behind the stumps.
8. Thisara Perera
After taking five wickets and scoring 46 runs in two games, Thisara Perera gets the nod for the all-rounder's spot.
The Sri Lankan was the only Pune Supergiants bowler to pick up a wicket against Royal Challengers Bangalore, taking three for 34. He also belted 34 from just 13 balls in his side's unsuccessful run chase.
Perera followed up with two for 28 from 3.3 overs in a losing cause against Kolkata Knight Riders.
While his economy rate is expensive (he's going at 9.04 runs per over), the seamer has got into the useful habit of picking up wickets.
9. Amit Mishra
Amit Mishra keeps his place in our XI, despite only playing once in the past week.
The leg-spinner claimed two for 24 from his four overs in his solitary outing, helping the Delhi Daredevils secure a 10-run win over Mumbai in the process.
His spell was pivotal in restricting the Indians during their failed run chase, while he also accounted for the dangerous Jos Buttler at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Mishra now has an IPL-best average of 10.28 runs per wicket for the current season. He also boasts an economy rate of just six runs an over.
10. Mustafizur Rahman
Mustafizur Rahman continues to bamboozle batsmen in the IPL.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad seamer finished with astonishing figures of two for nine from his four-over spell against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.
He had claimed one for 19 against Gujarat Lions earlier in the week and now boasts a miserly economy rate of 5.75 runs per over for this year's tournament.
The Bangladesh international has certainly impressed his Sunrisers skipper, Australian David Warner.
According to Anand Subramaniam of the IPL's official website, Warner said: "He is a quality talent and obviously a very good bowler for Bangladesh and for us as well. He is bowling very well at the moment and sometimes it is quite hard to talk to him about fielding placements but I let him do that."
11. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
With no obvious candidate to form a new-ball partnership with Mustafizur in our attack, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is picked for his figures of four for 29 against Gujarat Lions.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler struck a crucial early blow for his side when dismissing in-form Lions opener Aaron Finch for a duck in the opening over of the match.
His other three wickets all came in an eventful 20th over. He dismissed Suresh Raina and Akshdeep Nath with successive deliveries before Dale Steyn was caught in the deep off the final ball of the innings.
Kumar also claimed one for 37 in his side's triumph over Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.