Dinesh Karthik has been in superb finishing form. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Top-order batters often walk away with the Orange Cap in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They get to face the maximum balls if they get their eye in and bat for the majority of an innings. This season, the story looks no different. Rajasthan Royals (RR) opener Jos Buttler is dominating the race with 491 runs from seven matches, while Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) skipper KL Rahul is second on the list, having smashed 368 runs in eight IPL 2022 matches.
While openers play a key role in T20 cricket, laying the foundation for a solid total, finishers too have an equally significant part to play. Their contribution can determine the fate of a match. Quality batters can come in and change the momentum of a contest in the space of a few deliveries.
IPL 2022: Players who have impressed in the finishing role
IPL 2022 has seen a fair share of players who have impressed with their skills to finish an innings, finding crucial big hits at the right time. Here’s a look at the five best finishers of the season so far.
#5 Aiden Markram – Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) batter Aiden Markram. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Nicholas Pooran was supposed to perform the role of finisher for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) this season. But it is South Africa’s Aiden Markram, who has taken to the task like a fish to water. The aggressive batter began his campaign with an unbeaten 57 off 41 balls in a losing cause against the Rajasthan Royals (RR). Gaining confidence from the innings, he has gone on to play a couple of terrific knocks.
Markram hammered 68* off 36 balls as SRH chased down 176 with ease against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He finished off the game by slamming Pat Cummins for a four and two sixes. In SRH’s next match against the Punjab Kings (PBKS), he remained unbeaten on 41 off 27 deliveries as Hyderabad chased down 152 with seven wickets in hand. The Proteas batter once again hit the winning runs, clubbing Vaibhav Arora for a four and a six.
#4 Suryakumar Yadav – Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (MI) batter Suryakumar Yadav has been among the few positives for the franchise. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Mumbai Indians (MI) may have failed to win a single match in IPL 2022 so far, but Suryakumar Yadav has been one of their few bright spots. In his first match of the season, he slammed 52 off 36 balls against KKR before being dismissed in the last over of the innings. He maneuvered the field with brilliance and found key boundaries to lift Mumbai from a precarious situation.
Suryakumar continued in a similar vein in the next game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as well. This time, he struck an unbeaten 68 off 37 balls, clobbering five fours and six sixes to help Mumbai cross 150 after they had lost half their side for 79. The right-handed batter contributed 43 against Punjab and 37 against Lucknow. While MI have been shockingly poor in IPL 2022, ‘SKY’ has been in a zone of his own.
#3 Andre Russell – Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Andre Russell. Pic: IPLT20.COM
KKR’s Andre Russell has been brilliant with his exploits towards the end of the innings. He has cleared the field with ease and has struck some monster sixes, which is just what the franchise expected of him. Unfortunately, most of his efforts have gone in vain as “Dre Russ” has received little support from the other middle and lower-order batters in KKR. The 33-year-old clubbed a brutal 70* in 31 balls, bludgeoning eight sixes, as Kolkata aced a chase of 138 against Punjab.
Russell hit an unbeaten 49 off 25 balls against Hyderabad and 48 off 25 against Gujarat Titans (GT). On both occasions, though, the West Indian batter was unlucky as Kolkata finished on the losing side. SRH chased down a target of 176 while GT defended a total of 156. Despite the losses, Russell has stood out with his amazing ability to find the boundaries under pressure.
#2 Shimron Hetmyer – Rajasthan Royals
RR batter Shimron Hetmyer has played some fantastic cameos. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Shimron Hetmyer has been absolutely sensational for RR at the death. It is said that numbers don’t always tell the entire story. But in the case of Hetmyer’s performance in IPL 2022, the stats reveal the extent of the southpaw’s domination. In seven matches, he has struck 224 runs at a brilliant strike rate of 179.20. He has complemented Buttler brilliantly, playing some amazing cameos at the death.
The 25-year-old big-hitter began his campaign with 32 off 13 balls against Hyderabad and has not looked back since. He struck 35 off 14 against Mumbai, 42* off 31 versus Bangalore, and an unbeaten 59 off 36 against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). There have been a couple of handy 20s as well in recent games. When Rajasthan roped in Hetmyer at the auction, they wouldn’t have expected much better from him.
#1 Dinesh Karthik – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Dinesh Karthik has been fabulous with the bat at the death for RCB. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Without an iota of doubt, RCB’s Dinesh Karthik has been the finisher of IPL 2022 thus far. He has displayed splendid composure and wonderful game awareness under the most challenging of circumstances. Karthik has the experience, but even so, some of the cameos that he has played have been mind-bowling. He has been RCB’s Buttler in terms of consistency, minus the hundreds.
After warming up with an unbeaten 32 off 14 against Punjab in a losing cause, Karthik hammered 44* off 23 against RR as RCB chased down 170. His 14-ball 34 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) went in vain, but he followed it up with 66* off 34 as Delhi Capitals (DC) bowlers, Mustafizur Rahman in particular, received a pounding. Karthik has always been known to be a good finisher, but his consistency has really stood out this season. Following his IPL exploits, the 36-year-old is now a serious contender for the T20 World Cup later in the year.