England Watch, IPL Week 6: Jos Buttler earns top marks, while Ben Stokes hints at return to form
By David Currie
Last Updated: 15/05/18 12:11pm
Jos Buttler was once again the best of the bunch as a whole heap of England players saw action during Week Six of the IPL, with mixed fortunes for the rest.
As many as nine players from the 12-strong England contingent saw action over the past seven days, but it was Buttler and his three further fifites - taking him to five in a row - that really grabbed the headlines.
But how has he, and his international team-mates, scored? Read on to find out…
Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
Best figures: 4-0-26-2
Highest score: 14
Signs that the worm is just starting to turn for Stokes, particularly with the ball. His week started with the wicket of Manoj Tiwary off a leading edge in his two overs as Rajasthan successfully defended 158 against Kings XI, and it ended with his best figures of 2-26 against Mumbai - removing Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya, the latter thanks in large part to a stunning catch from Sanju Samson.
In between, against Chennai, an experiment opening the batting didn't really work - Stokes scored 11 before being bowled when skipping down the pitch to Harbhajan Singh - and he bowled four wicketless overs for 31. But, with the Royals battling for one of the remaining playoff spots, don't be surprised to see Stokes have a major say in Week Seven...
Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals)
Highest score: 95no
Rajasthan are battling for one of those remaining playoff spots thanks to one man! Buttler showed glimpses of the form he was in with back-to-back fifties in losing causes last week, but he has since fired his team to three straight wins with three further half centuries - each more stunning than the last. Buttler's scores of 67, 51, 82, 95no and 94no have equalled the IPL record of five consecutive fifties and have dragged the Royals up from the foot of the table and into contention.
Buttler first cracked 82 off 58 against Kings XI, then saw the side home in two testing chases of 177 and 169 against Chennai (95no off 60) and Mumbai (94no off 53), respectively. He now sits in the top five of the tournament's leading run-scorers with 509 from 12 innings - 73 behind Delhi's Rishabh Pant in top spot.
Liam Plunkett (Delhi Daredevils)
Plunkett's, like Delhi's, IPL is on a downward trajectory. Having impressed with wickets and economical bowling in his first two appearances, he has taken only one wicket in his four games since, going at more than 10 runs an over in three of those - that includes his solitary Week Six outing which saw him concede 41 in four wicketless overs as Sunrisers chased down 188. Plunkett was then dropped for the following game against RCB.
Jason Roy (Delhi Daredevils)
Highest score: 12
After a lengthy absence from the side, having earlier in the tournament hit a stunning match-winning 91 to earn Delhi a first win, Roy has struggled to recapture such form. Coming back into a sinking Daredevils side that have won only two games in nine since to sit bottom of the table, Roy's return has barely been noticeable with innings' of just 11 and 12 - the latter against RCB seeing him flirt with a return to form as he cracked a four and six in his nine-ball stay before being clean bowled by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
Sam Billings (Chennai Super Kings)
Highest score: 27
Billings is another whose return to the Chennai ranks has barely registered. That's not necessarily his fault though, as he played nicely for 27 off 22 balls in his first game back against Rajasthan - including three boundaries off one England team-mate Stokes, but being run out by another, Buttler - before he was not required in the win over Sunrisers due to Ambati Rayudu's fine century as the Super Kings chased down 180 for the loss of only two wickets.
David Willey (Chennai Super Kings)
Willey waited a while for his IPL debut, but impressed when it came - taking 1-24 in his four overs in last week's win over RCB. His next two outings, this week, haven't been so successful; Willey claimed another wicket against Rajasthan, but conceded 47 runs from his four overs in the process (including his first three balls being smashed for boundaries by Buttler) and then he was given only two overs against Sunrisers, conceding 24.
Alex Hales (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Highest score: 14
Hales is another to have impressed initially in his early IPL starts - striking back-to-back 45s for Sunrisers - but he has found the going a lot tougher in Week Six, with a top score of just 14 from his three innings. Tim Southee first bowled him for five against RCB, then he missed out on a score on a great batting surface in a nine-wicket win over Delhi as his lbw to Harshal Patel was the only wicket to fall, while his week ended with his lowest score of two in defeat to Chennai - flaying Deepak Chahar to backward point.
Moeen Ali (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Best figures: 2.1-0-13-1
Highest score: 10
After the longest wait of all of the England contingent, Moeen finally made his IPL debut for RCB against Sunrisers a week ago on Monday, and subsequently stayed in the side for the crucial wins over Delhi and Kings XI.
His success has come with the ball so far, making up for scoring a combined 11 runs with the bat by conceding at an economical 6.21 runs an over, and removing Delhi's Pant - thanks to a great catch from AB de Villiers at long-on - and Aaron Finch in the rout Kings XI. With the bat, Moeen managed just 10 on debut, while a move up to opener didn't pan out against the Daredevils - dismissed for one - and then he didn't get a look in against Kings XI, with RCB having to chase only 89.
Tom Curran (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Curran continues to be in and out of the Kolkata side, being brought in for just the one miserable game against Mumbai this week. The Surrey allrounder was actually one of the better performers as the Knight Riders suffered an embarrassing 102-run defeat, with Curran taking the wicket of Hardik Pandya in his three overs and then striking three fours in his 18 with the bat as Kolkata were skittled for just 108. Regardless, Curran was one of the casualties for when Kolkata next played, blasting 245 against Kings XI in quite the contrasting batting performance.
And the others?
As for England interest elsewhere, three players missed out during week six, with one even going home. Mark Wood, having not been picked by Chennai since the opening game of the tournament, has come home to get some overs under his belt for Durham with the Test series against Pakistan on the horizon. Chris Woakes, however, is staying in India (for now) despite not having played for RCB in any of their last seven games. Chris Jordan is another sidelines seamer, appearing just the once for Sunrisers, way back on April 19.
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