IPL 2016: 5 Players Who Can Surprise Us All

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Carlos Brathwaite will be fresh off a magnificent finish to the WT20 (image creds: www.india.com)

Playing T20 cricket is like binge drinking: it’s fast and reckless; and leaves you surprised at what it can get you to do (not speaking from experience). IPL – with it’s lucrative cash deals and massive popularity – only raises that bar even higher. As fans, watching IPL often leaves us surprised at the performances some people end up pulling off: be it Paul Valthaty’s blitzing 120 in 63 to stun Chennai in 2011, or Chris Gayle’s bizarre 24-ball 10 while chasing 209 vs. MI in 2015. My point is this: players surprise a lot in T20 cricket, especially in IPL. Here are 5 players who I think can surprise us with some scintillating shows in IPL 2016. This list includes people who could prove us wrong, people who could perform well above our expectations for them, and plain exciting prospects, who I tout to do great things for their teams.

The difference between this article and my last one is that these are players who are less of a certainty to do well, and more of “potential stars.”

#5 – Marcus Stoinis (KXIP)

Marcus Stoinis is a top-order batsman and medium pace bowler. He’s yet to find his feet in the international arena, but he made some significant contributions for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League that took place earlier this year. Reliable up at the top, and handy with the ball, Stoinis will be an excellent man to turn to in the event that Glenn Maxwell fails, a liability that KXIP lacked last year.

#4 – Carlos Brathwaite (DD)

Brathwaite is a more balanced all-rounder, made in a similar model to Kieron Pollard or Dwayne Bravo. He is best known off late for his four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to win the World T20 for the West Indies. He presents the frame of someone who can bring balance and stability to a Delhi Daredevils side that has been found wanting for quite some time now, something that Angelo Matthews failed to do last year. Hopefully, he can shine for them.

#3 – Adam Zampa (RPS)

This Ozzie leggie showed in the World T20 that he is a force to be reckoned with, as he took 5 wickets at a tidy economy of 6.27 at an average of 13.80. For the slow surface that is the track in Pune, I think Zampa will provide quite an edge for his franchise. I look forward to seeing him bowl with R. Ashwin.

#2 – Akshay Karnewar (RCB)

In the past 2 years, spin has been a resource woefully underused by the Royal Challengers. True, Yuzvendra Chahal has been brilliant enough that this didn’t matter as much, but their lack of spin resources is still something that has been somewhat worrying (at one stage Chris Gayle was their number one capped spinner). Hence, it is quite nice to see RCB investing in someone like Akshay Karnewar. His ambidextrous ability will really be fun to watch, and will also help RCN put an extra bit of uncertainty in the minds of their opponents.

#1 – Krunal Pandya (MI)

Many an eyebrow was raised when Krunal Pandya was purchased by Mumbai Indians for 2 crore rupees at the auction. From my statistical analysis of him, he appears to be an all rounder of the Ravindra Jadeja-esque build: a low-order batsman, and a front line spinner. If he is given a chance, he could definitely make an impact for MI by providing another spin option for Rohit Sharma to use as well as an extra line of defence with the bat. He would especially be useful to shore up the bowling in the absence of Lasith Malinga.