Champions trophy: The deadly five

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    Frankly speaking, this year’s IPL has failed to deliver the same goosebumps and adrenaline that it once did.

    Last-ball finishes, big maximums and making the impossible possible are now terms that occur as often as weekdays – and weekdays are horribly boring. But amid all this T20 frenzy the clock to the Champions Trophy is ticking at a glacial pace. Dear time, please speed up, because I simply cannot wait to witness this thrilling tournament.

    Short and crisp, this 18-day competition holds a very special place in my heart, because four years ago it had me falling in love with cricket. This is where my cricket journey commenced, and after some unsuccessful ventures picking up the bat and ball – I’m still trying! – I decided I was better off watching the game, and as I dosed myself with more and more cricket, I developed a hobby of reading articles. So why shouldn’t I write one?

    I could go on and on about the beauty of the game, but that wouldn’t do much other than to send you into a state of boredom. Instead, because arithmetic is definitely my thing, I settled on writing about the most deadly players – those who I believe can single-handedly take out games for their nation in this heated tournament. This list features five batsmen who will leave your jaw open this year.

    1. Faf du Plessis
    My list begins with the leading run scorer in one-day internationals for South Africa, Faf du Plesiss. South Africa’s regular T20 captain scored nearly 1400 runs in ten matches at a stunning average of 73.62. Against a weakened Sri Lankan bowling attack he smashed his career-best 185 at an astonishing strike rate of 131. His innings, which featured 16 fours and three sixes, demolished Sri Lanka and led South Africa to a 4-0 series win over the visitors. The most remarkable part of his innings was his temperament and pace. He was never too slow to let the pressure build on him and never too quick to give away his wicket. These characteristics can add up to a destructive ODI batsman.

    2. AB de Villiers
    Where to start? Mr 360 or Mr Consistent, this man is a freak. Every time he comes down the crease you can expect at least a 50, if not a hundred. For many years the South African captain has been the perfect anchor, getting his team out of any trouble. He’s been in red-hot form, and recently he played a magical innings in the IPL, single-handedly getting his team out of some serious trouble. At 71 runs in the 15th over his team was struggling to score on a batting beauty. “Enough is enough,” said De Villiers, and he turned into a hyena. From 31 off 28 balls, he starved his batting parter and scavenged strike. From there he went berserk, smashing 59 off only 18 balls at a strike rate of 193, doubling his teams 15-over score. I don’t believe you need any more stats to understand what a freak this man is.

    3. David Warner
    I sometimes get confused between whether Warner if a leftie or righty considering how many unbelievable switch hits he pulls out during the most unexpected phases of a match. The little man is like BMac was to New Zealand and Chris Gayle is to the Windies – a blazing starter; he can be a serious threat to the wallets of the fireworks guys. I am sure the cheerleaders hate him too. After being the leading run-scorer in ODIs in 2016 – he chalked up 1388 runs at an average of 63 – he continued his formidable form in 2017, scoring 367 runs at an average of 73. Even now in the IPL he stands as a serious contender for the orange cap, with 282 runs at an average of 56. If he gets going, he’s simply gone!

    4. Virat Kohli
    A ridiculous, unbelievable, alien, run-machine, Sachin Tendulkaresque – and that’s just a fraction of the list of adjectives I could use to describe this man. King Kohli had made his mark in 2016, when he Bradmanesquely scored 739 runs at a mammoth average of 92, but then came a slump in form thanks to a shoulder injury. But kings never fall; they get up and fight on. And so in the IPL Kohli has restarted his rivalry with the mother nature, troubling her with all the flames he sets off every time he scores another one of those fifties or hundreds – he must be a significant contributor to global warming. He’s a one man army.

    5. Steven Smith
    Who knew that a leggie would turn into one of Australia’s greatest batsman? Grit and determination are two of his greatest weapons, and his desires have powered him to shatter longstanding records. From the turners in India to the swing in English country, he has comfortably tackled every condition and every situation. Now he stands like a pillar in the Australian line-up, ready to deflate any opposition. His ODI record this year is usual for his standards – 221 runs at an average of 55 – but his recent heroics in the Test series in India and his outstanding form in the IPL surely make him amongst the tallest mountains to conquer. He will very willingly like to captain his young team to their first Champions Trophy victory.

    So here they are: the deadliest batsman to watch this IPL. What do you make of the list?

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    The Crowd Says (25)

    • April 26th 2017 @ 7:34am
      English twizz said | April 26th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      No English in england

    • Roar Guru

      April 26th 2017 @ 10:03am
      JamesH said | April 26th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      Australia has won the CT before… or are you talking about Smith’s team specifically?

      I can’t wait, although I won’t be able to watch it live 🙁

    • Roar Guru

      April 26th 2017 @ 10:31am
      Paul D said | April 26th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      Well, you’ve picked 4 of the best batsmen in the world & Faf and said they should go alright – brave predictions.

      I actually think the Indian batsman to watch is Rahane – he has a very good, almost Dravid-like technique that I think will stand him in very good stead if the ball is moving about a bit on those English wickets

      • Roar Rookie

        April 26th 2017 @ 11:02am
        Cricket Guru said | April 26th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        Yes, I somewhat agree with you. I would have had Kane Williamson in their instead of Faf but his current form with the bat wasn’t too convincing.
        As far as Rahane is concerned, he should do quite well, however, the only concern is his slow strike-rate, which has earlier been criticised by MS Dhoni.

        • Roar Guru

          April 26th 2017 @ 11:28am
          Paul D said | April 26th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          Don’t think that will be an issue in England. 280ish should be a winning score on a lot of wickets and conditions there. Leave the hackers like Rohit and Dhawan for flat indian wickets where you need 370+ to win a 50 over game and pick your best batsmen for English conditions

          Incidentally the last time Kohli was over there in England he got absolutely crucified. Something like 130 runs from 10 innings in the test series India played in 2014 or whenever it was

          • April 26th 2017 @ 8:44pm
            Joe Bell said | April 26th 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

            Disagree completely… look at our most recent ODI tour there scores of 300+ everywhere. The decks have been roads in England ODIs for the last couple years. I wouldn’t expect that to change at all in this tournament where England’s strength is undoubtedly their batting line-up. I would say they have one of the weaker bowling attacks in the comp and are relying on their ability to punch out massive scores.

            • Columnist

              April 27th 2017 @ 2:10am
              Ronan O'Connell said | April 27th 2017 @ 2:10am | ! Report

              Joe is keeping up with things, the English ODI pitches have changed significantly over the past two years and are now absolute roads the majority of the time.

              280 definitely is not a winning score there anymore – there’s been 11 totals of 300+ by the team batting first in the past 20 ODIs in England.

              • April 27th 2017 @ 7:28pm
                English twizz said | April 27th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                Need 340 plus in England

      • May 4th 2017 @ 9:07pm
        Tanmoy Kar said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

        With the kind of form he is having recently, he may not be picked for the Champion’s Trophy. A lot of youngsters are doing much better in this IPL.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 26th 2017 @ 11:02am
      Cricket Guru said | April 26th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

    • April 26th 2017 @ 5:40pm
      knowledge said | April 26th 2017 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

      Watch out for Quinton de Cock

      • April 26th 2017 @ 8:47pm
        Joe Bell said | April 26th 2017 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

        By far the best One Day keeper going around, he seems to just get better and better. Hope his hands heal in time

    • April 26th 2017 @ 11:15pm
      Bobbo7 said | April 26th 2017 @ 11:15pm | ! Report

      ABD is still a gun. Not so sure about Kohli in England. He seems to be out of form and his Test record in England is woeful. If the pitches do anything he may struggle, much like Warner.

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