England Watch, IPL Week 4: Liam Plunkett and Alex Hales impress on debut
Which England players starred in Week 4 of IPL 11? Tweet us @SkyCricket
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 01/05/18 11:27am
It has been a quiet week for the English players out in the Indian Premier League with only five of the 12 in action and three of that quintet playing just once.
There have been a couple of debuts - Liam Plunkett impressing on his first appearance for Delhi Daredevils and Alex Hales starting well for table-topping Sunrisers Hyderabad - but it was less good news for England's other representatives.
Read on to see how the English contingent fared in Week 4…
Alex Hales (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Top score: 45
Having been made to wait for his debut, Hales went about his business like a man determined to make the most of his chance. A pair of boundaries in the second over of the Sunrisers' innings against Rajasthan will certainly have helped him relax and while not at his most fluent, the England opener looked comfortable.
He will have been disappointed to fall short of his half-century as he tried to move through the gears and set the Sunrisers up for a big finish. However, he more than played his part in a victory that took Kane Williamson's side top of the table and would expect to keep his place for the next game, against Delhi.
Liam Plunkett (Delhi Daredevils)
Best figures: 3-17
With the Daredevils struggling, Plunkett was thrust into the side for their match with Kings XI and made an instant impression. He bowled at a good pace and hit the deck hard. Just what you'd expect from Plunkett, you might think, but the difference came in the way he varied his pace.
The Yorkshire seamer kept the batsmen on their toes with a number of well-executed slower balls and was rewarded with three wickets. A golden duck with the bat was less memorable as Delhi suffered a narrow defeat but he was back with another economical - albeit wicketless - spell (0-24) in their emphatic win over KKR and appears to have cemented his place in the XI.
Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
Top score: 0
Best bowling: 0-20
Rajasthan's short break came at just the wrong time for Stokes, who had made scores of 40-odd in his last two innings and was just beginning to find some form with the bat. After a week off though it was back to square one and the England all-rounder was bowled for a third-ball duck in Rajasthan's failed chase at home to the Sunrisers.
He bowled three tidy, but again wicketless, overs and suggestions that last year's MVP is still short of full fitness persist. He remains an asset in the field, taking another smart catch in the deep, and as the competition reaches the halfway stage, Royals fans will hope that, as was the case in IPL 10, Stokes explodes into life in second half of the campaign.
Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals)
Top score: 10
Staying with the Royals and Buttler's low-key competition continues. Again he made a steady enough start, working the singles to get himself going but, again, the first time to tried to go big, he perished. Rashid Khan, who dismissed him, has undone many a top-class batsman and will undoubtedly outfox plenty more, but that is unlikely to diminish Buttler's frustration at another low score.
His glove work is not an issue and he took a good low catch, stood up to Ish Sodhi, to get rid of Williamson but with Sanju Samson among those who could also take the gloves, Buttler will be keen for a score to keep his place in the XI safe. The Royals' Jofra Archer - eligible for this feature (and England) from 2022 - was in the wickets again, taking 3-26.
Sam Billings (Chennai Super Kings)
Top score: 9
Since his brilliant fifty early in the tournament, Billings has found runs hard to come by and the Kent skipper's struggles continued this week. In his two innings, admittedly in situations where he was required to swing from the hip from ball one, he mustered a combined 12 runs.
Billings' place would appear under threat and South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is the most likely like-for-like replacement. England pair David Willey and Mark Wood, as well as fit-again Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi, are among the alternatives if Chennai opt to tweak the balance of their side.
Those not selected:
Wood hasn't featured since the opening game of the tournament while Willey and Moeen Ali (RCB) are now the only players of the England contingent still waiting for their debuts, Chris Woakes seems to be out of favour at RCB despite taking eight wickets in his five matches thus far in IPL 11 and Chris Jordan faces a battle to force his way into a strong Sunrisers bowling unit.
Jason Roy and Tom Curran will hope to get back amongst it after losing their places at Delhi and KKR, respectively.