IPL 2020: Natarajan, Archer, Dhawan Among 10 Standout Performers

We took a look back at IPL 2020, the most unique season, in search of the top 10 performances from UAE.       

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IPL
8 min read
We took a look back at IPL 2020, the most unique season, in search of the top 10 performances from UAE.
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The interest surrounding the IPL is always extremely high and this year it was even more because the tournament provided a getaway of sorts during a very difficult time. The players, as expected, put on a magnificent show for the fans, who watched keenly from their drawing rooms.

For some, this was a season of a breakthrough performance while for a few it was all about continuing to do what they are the best at. Youngsters matched the senior pros toe to toe producing some eye-catching performances over 60 games in just under two months.

Once again someone like Jasprit Bumrah continued to roll out the goods for Mumbai, however it was Trent Boult who more than made up for no Lasith Malinga, just like T Natarajan helped fill a void left by the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

We took a look back at IPL 2020, the most unique season, in search of the top 10 performances from UAE.

1. Yorker King T Natarajan

With 14 wickets and an economy of under 8, T Natarajan has been one of the stars for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in this IPL.
With 14 wickets and an economy of under 8, T Natarajan has been one of the stars for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in this IPL.
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

One of the finds of the tournament was the left arm pacer T Natarajan for Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left armer, who has seen difficult times from up close, bowled fast yorkers at will through the tournament and became one of David Warner’s most important weapons in the death overs. The talented youngster earned high praise from one of the best batsmen in the world – Kane Williamson.

One of his most talked about moments in the season was when he castled an in-form Ab de Villiers with a pinpoint yorker that knocked over his middle stump in the Eliminator. AB was going through the gears and the dismissal helped SRH restrict RCB.

So good is Natarajan’s ability that the likes of Ian Bishop and Harsha Bhogle were left swooning over him in commentary. With 16 wickets in the bag, Natarajan finished the season celebrating his maiden call-up for Team India. Imagine him and Bumrah bowling their yorkers from both ends in the death overs.

2. Evergreen Ab de Villiers

An exhausted AB de Villiers during his half century against SRH.
An exhausted AB de Villiers during his half century against SRH.
(Image: BCCI/IPL)

A team with AB de Villiers has always depended heavily on him and once again Royal Challengers Bangalore were going to follow the same template. The former Protea captain, as usual, produced the goods for his side and was one of the main factors that helped the qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Not only his batting, AB proved crucial behind the stumps, using all his experience to guide the spinners and fast hands to affect dismissals.

His unbeaten 73 against KKR in Sharjah midway through the tournament, not only reminded everyone about his explosive abilities but also gave his side two crucial points.

3. Trent Boult and the Powerplay

Trent Boult took 16 wickets in the powerplay for Mumbai Indians.
Trent Boult took 16 wickets in the powerplay for Mumbai Indians.
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

Surprisingly traded by Delhi to Mumbai, the New Zealand speedster bowled with venom and troubled almost every top 3 in the opposition ranks. Boult was the star for Mumbai when it came to knocking off early wickets and finished with a whopping 16 wickets in that phase.

He pulled off his role perfectly throughout the tournament and helped keep opposition batsmen in check. Boult’s most emphatic performances came against his former employers as he demolished their top order with relative ease every time. He finished the tournament with 25 wickets and was a crucial cog in MI’s march to their fifth title. Would Jasprit Bumrah want to share the new ball with him again? The answer’s probably yes, especially considering MI hardly ever felt the loss of Lasith Malinga.

4. Kagiso Rabada Instrumental for Delhi

Delhi Capitals’ pace bowler Kagiso Rabada finished the season with the Purple Cap. 
Delhi Capitals’ pace bowler Kagiso Rabada finished the season with the Purple Cap. 
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)   

The South African pace ace always answered his captain’s call and produced the wickets Delhi needed at the important junctures. He picked up 30 wickets in 17 matches at an average of 18.26 and an economy rate of 8.34. 4 for 24 against RCB was his best figures in the tournament.

Rabada kept all the batsmen on their toes with his pace and change of lengths, and very rarely had a disappointing spell through the course of the tournament. His hostile bowling right from the word go saw Delhi benefit heavily. It took him three deliveries in the Super Over against the KXIP to announce that he meant business in 2020.

Without his contributions, Delhi might not have made it as far as they did

5. The Universe Boss Added Impetus to KXIP’s Campaign

Chris Gayle has hit over 1000 sixes in the T20 career.
Chris Gayle has hit over 1000 sixes in the T20 career.
(Image: BCCI/IPL) 

For most of the first half of the tournament, Gayle was seen seated on the bench and could only return to the playing XI after an illness. At the time KXIP were rock bottom of the table with just one win and Gayle, who had a few detractors to silence, took charge.

He played seven games and helped kick start the winning streak for his side as KXIP brought their season back on track against RCB. They won five games on the bounce and he scored two half centuries in those games. Gayle smashed RR all over the park for his 99 before Ben Stokes did what he does best.

The presence of Gayle not only provided brilliant entertainment but gave KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal plenty of support in a batting line-up which had an out of touch Glen Maxwell unable to clear the ropes even once in the season.

Gayle made an instant impact with a half-century, despite batting out of position at No 3, to help Punjab to an 8-wicket victory against RCB.

"It's the Universe Boss batting. How can I be nervous?" Gayle quipped in his typical style after pocketing the match.

6. Devdutt Padikkal Leads the Way for RCB

Devdutt Padikkal finished as the highest scorer for RCB with 473 runs. 
Devdutt Padikkal finished as the highest scorer for RCB with 473 runs. 
(Photo: BCCI)   

In a side with the likes of Virat Kohli and Ab de Villiers, it was the uncapped Devdutt Padikkal who stole the show for RCB. The elegant left hander was always solid at the top of the order and started off the tournament especially well.

More often than not it was Padikkal paving the way for the AB onslaught in the back end of the innings and in the process finished his year as the highest run scorer for his side with five half centuries.

While his off side play reminded many experts of Sourav Ganguly, his leg side pick up shots had a hint of Yuvraj Singh in it. Along with AB, he was definitely one of the reasons why RCB progressed to the knockout stages.

7. Rahul Tewatia Makes His Presence Felt

David Warner resolves the tiff with Rahul Tewatia which he and Khaleel had in the last over of the game
David Warner resolves the tiff with Rahul Tewatia which he and Khaleel had in the last over of the game
(Photo: Star Sports)

Relatively unknown in the glitzy world of the IPL, Tewatia announced himself when he smashed Sheldon Cottrell all over Sharjah and took the Royals over the line a thriller. From then on in, it was a very different cricketer that was seen.

He took on SRH too and even left an impression on David Warner as they stole the win in some style. While he made headlines with the bat, he was also out bowling the likes of Shreyas Gopal in the RR camp and even taking on Shane Warne in the nets!

Tewatia did not top the batting or bowling charts but his performance throughout the course of the season spelt progress, which can only be good for Indian cricket. After all, holding your own in a team with Stokes, Archer, Steve Smith, and Jos Buttler is no mean feat.

8. IPL 2020 MVP Jofra Archer

Jofra Archer dismisses Prithvi Shaw off the first delivery of the game. 
Jofra Archer dismisses Prithvi Shaw off the first delivery of the game. 
(Image: BCCI/IPL)

Sadly, the Rajasthan Royals side hardly ever got going and the late entrance of Ben Stokes did them no favours either. For Steve Smith’s side balance and consistency seemed to be a big problem.

However, the one player who kept doing his thing match after match was England’s Jofra Archer. He bowled with pace and his hostile spells were a thing of beauty!

For the Royals, he was easily a stand out performer with the bowl and even contributed some lusty blows with the bat. He finished the season with 20 wickets and was unplayable on several occasions. Archer also made some vital contributions for the Royals with bat in hand, as he scored 113 runs at a strike rate of 179.36.

9. Shikhar Dhawan Ups the Ante in Good Time

Shikhar Dhawan became the first player to score two centuries in consecutive matches in the IPL.
Shikhar Dhawan became the first player to score two centuries in consecutive matches in the IPL.
(Photo Courtesy: BCCI/IPL)

The Indian opener had not been in very good nick in T20 cricket before the IPL and needed to have a big tournament for himself and of course the Delhi Capitals side.

Here’s how Dhawan’s season went – he scored four ducks, two back to back centuries and four half centuries in 17 games which resulted in 618 runs, 52 behind KL Rahul who won the Orange cap.

Like the Royals, Delhi struggled a bit with their combinations, especially at the top of the order with Prithvi Shaw failing to get a move on. In the situation, Dhawan had to take charge and played some very crucial knocks in the process. His centuries (101* vs CSK and 106* vs KXIP) apart he smashed match-winning fifties against RCB and SRH which proved vital on the road to the final.

Like Rabada, he was extremely important for the eventual runners-up.

10. Suryakumar Yadav – He’s Always There

Suryakumar Yadav has been in terrific form for Mumbai Indians in this IPL as he amassed 480 runs.
Suryakumar Yadav has been in terrific form for Mumbai Indians in this IPL as he amassed 480 runs.
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

One of the most talked about cricketers in the IPL 2020 campaign, Suryakumar Yadav has not only been batting with great intensity and poise but also showed plenty of character in difficult situations.

Batting at number 3, he was under quite a bit of pressure as Rohit did not have a good season at the top of the order. Suryakumar anchored the innings for Mumbai more often than not as the likes of Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya teed off after that. He finished his season with 480 runs and four half centuries and made himself a part of IPL folklore with his “I’m there” gesture against RCB.

His nonchalance and calmness was on full display when he refused to let Virat Kohli intimidate him and went onto show how game aware he was when he sacrificed his wicket in the final for Rohit Sharma.

Will he make the Indian team soon – that is a difficult one to answer, but should he be part of the set-up – the jury’s definitely not out on that one.

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