The initial phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 edition was played out in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to the Lok Sabha elections in India at that time. The first twenty matches of IPL 2014 were played there and that added a beautiful twist to the preparations of all the teams. Most teams bought players at the auction who suited their home conditions and reserves for the away games. These strategies went straight out of the window as one-third of IPL 2014 was played in foreign conditions.
A similar situation has cropped up again ahead of the 2020 IPL season. This time, the only difference is that the entire tournament will be played out under foreign conditions in the UAE. The same problem has arisen for all the franchises as their auction strategy wasn’t based on conditions they will encounter in the UAE. The players who did well in UAE earlier are expected to hold an edge over the others. Here we take a look at those who were the top-performing players from the UAE edition of IPL 2014.
Matches 5 | Runs: 300 | Average: 60.00 | Strike Rate: 201.34 | Highest: 95
It’s Bhangra time for Kings XI Punjab as their star batsman from IPL 2014, Glenn Maxwell is back and will love playing in placid UAE conditions. His stats in this leg of the IPL 2014 was exceptional. He seemed impossible to bowl to in the tournament and was striking the balls for six with ease. Maxwell is back to the team where he has been the most comfortable and in conditions where he excels. We can expect the ‘Big Show’ Maxwell to go berserk in the 2020 IPL and hopefully be the match-winner the Kings need so desperately as they search for their first-ever IPL triumph.
Matches: 5 | Runs: 182 | Average: 36.4 | Strike Rate: 120.53 | Highest: 72
This wasn’t the best IPL for Ajinkya Rahane in the Rajasthan Royals outfit. He did have a good start to the tournament in the five matches played in the UAE but his form dipped on returning to India. Still, coming into the 2020 IPL, Rahane can take positives from IPL 2014 as he was the fourth-highest run-getter in that phase of the competition. For the upcoming IPL, Rahane has a new home in the Delhi Capitals and will look to be the backbone of that team. Some suggest that Rahane was picked to cater to the low and slow Delhi wicket but now that the IPL is happening in the UAE, the Capitals have a big call to make about their top-order batsmen. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the call-up from the likes of Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey for the opening spot. No doubt Ricky Ponting and his coaching team are spoilt for options for that spot.
Matches: 5 | Wickets: 9 | Average: 11.89 | Strike Rate: 13.33 | Best: 4/20 | Economy: 5.35
This was the time when Sunil Narine was at the peak of his bowling career. Before he had to remodel his action, Narine was unplayable at times and was the best bowler in the Indian Premier League. Kolkata Knight Riders won IPL 2014 and Sunil Narine was a major contributor to the success. He was brilliant in the UAE phase of the tournament and eventually finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in IPL 2014. Back then, he was purely a bowler, but now KKR will be hoping that he comes good with the bat as well at the top of the order.
Matches: 5 | Wickets: 8 | Average: 13.25 | Strike Rate: 11.88 | Best: 4/14 | Economy: 6.69
Unsurprisingly, Mohit Sharma with all the variations he possesses was a star in IPL 2014. He finished the tournament as the Purple Cap winner with 23 wickets to his name. This was his best ever IPL season and a major reason was that the pitches in the UAE suited the way he bowls. MS Dhoni used Mohit really well and the Haryana pacer didn’t fail to deliver. After a successful IPL 2014, Mohit went on to represent India in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. He’ll don the blue of Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020 and will compete with the likes of Ishant Sharma, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Tushar Deshpande for that Indian fast bowler spot in the playing eleven.
Matches: 4 | Wickets: 8 | Average: 10.50 | Strike Rate: 11.13 | Best: 3/16 | Economy: 5.66
The surprise package of IPL 2014 was Royal Challengers Bangalore’s pacer Varun Aaron. The Jamshedpur-born pacer played only 10 games in the campaign and finished as the tenth-highest in the Purple Cap race. He picked up 16 wickets in the campaign and that has been his personal best so far in the IPL. He was outstanding in the UAE leg and can take that as a positive coming into IPL 2020. He’ll be wearing the pink of Rajasthan Royals this year and at 30 years of age, this may be the last chance he’ll get to make a comeback in the Indian national team.
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