From Virat Kohli to Abhishek Sharma: Five players to watch out for in IPL playoffs

Bengaluru : Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli ahead of their IPL match against Gujarat Titans at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday, May 03, 2024. (Photo: IANS)

Bengaluru : Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli ahead of their IPL match against Gujarat Titans at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday, May 03, 2024. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The months-long action-packed Indian Premier League (IPL) battle has reached its business end with four teams qualifying for the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs. After the caravan of 70 matches, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) have progressed to the knockout phase of the tournament.

In Qualifier 1, table toppers Kolkata will take on second-placed Hyderabad at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday while Rajasthan and Bengaluru will face off in the Eliminator on Wednesday at the same venue. The winner of Qualifier 1 will book their berth for the title clash in Chennai on May 6 while the loser will lock horns with the winner of the Eliminator to enter the finals.

Before the thrilling IPL week commences, let us take a look at the five players who will bring out the glamour to the knockout matches.

Virat Kohli

Star Indian batter has been on a purple patch since last year's ODI World Cup, where he finished as the highest run-getter in the history of the tournament. The right-handed batter continued his form in the cash-rich league and is sitting on the top of the highest run-getters list with 708 runs in 14 matches including five half-centuries and a hundred. He remains the backbone of RCB's batting department and played an instrumental role in his franchise's journey to the playoffs.

Abhishek Sharma

The 23-year-old opener has shown the skills to become a crucial part of the Indian T20 team in the coming years. The left-handed batter has been firing all his cylinders at the top of the order and accumulated 467 runs in 13 games for Hyderabad. He also struck three fifties in the ongoing season and scored at a blistering strike rate of 209.41. In the final league match against Punjab Kings, his quickfire 66 off 28 balls helped the franchise to finish second on the points table. KKR will have to come up with a solid plan to get him early in the game.

Riyan Parag

Riyan is having his best IPL season since making his debut in 2019. The middle-order batter has amassed 531 runs in 13 matches for Rajasthan including four half-centuries. He has played vital knocks for the franchise throughout the season with consistent performances with the bat. His presence becomes more crucial for RR after losing Jos Buttler in the top order due to national commitments.

Sunil Narine

West Indies all-rounder Narine has once again proved that he can single-handedly change the balance on any team for which he is playing. The 35-year-old made the most of the season as he contributed 461 runs with the help of a century and three fifties while in the bowling department, he picked 15 wickets in 13 matches.

Pat Cummins

World Cup-winning captain Cummins carried forward his leadership skills in the IPL and guided SRH to playoffs in his debut season with the franchise. His on-field decisions and the right choice of bowlers in crucial moments saw them flourish in the tournament. In 13 matches, he has bagged 15 wickets and will surely make an impact in the playoffs.