The year 2012 saw IPL moving away from the traditional ‘Player of the Tournament’ award to a more unique ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) award. For starters, MVP is awarded to a player based on the points system, which is a combination of multiple parameters.
MVP points are calculated based on numbers of runs scored, batting strike rate, number of wickets taken, economy rate, number of catches taken, etc. At the end of the tournament, MVP is awarded to the player, who has the maximum points.
It’s that time of the year for cricket fans to analyse all the teams in the Indian Premier League as we near its 13th edition. With the auctions ending in December 2019, here we are going to talk about what game-changers are and how important are they in T20 cricket.
In such a short format, game changers or match-winners are players who can change the complexion of a game in a matter of balls or overs. They can be either batsmen, bowlers, all-rounders or even fielders who can pull off something outstanding with their skill sets. These are the qualities that make one a MVP for their respective franchises.
So, as we head into yet another edition, it would be an interesting case-study to think ahead and predict the candidates who could win this award in IPL 2020. To narrow down our options, we have decided to predict one player from each franchise who could challenge this award.
Here’s the predicted MVP from each team for the IPL 2020:-
1. David Warner for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
There can be a debate with regards to who really will be the game changer for SRH next season and it’s a two-horse race between Australian opener and former SRH skipper David Warner and Rashid Khan. But with regards to what he did last season, Warner has to be SRH’s main man in IPL 2020.
The Australian opener won the Orange Cap in 2019, scoring an incredible 692 runs from just 12 games at an average of almost 70 and a strike rate of 144. Even though he had to leave early owing to World Cup preparations, Warner was unarguably the best batsman last season.
SRH will once again depend heavily on David Warner in IPL 2020 and honestly, if he can replicate last season’s form or come close, the Orange Army have a real chance of going through to the playoffs or even all the way. Warner could well get his hands on the Orange Cap and MVP if he continues in his dream run.
The 33-year-old can not only change the game with the bat but he is also incredible in the field and can easily pull off a sublime piece of fielding that can change the complexion of a game. All in all, a lot will be riding on David Warner when he turns up for SRH next season.
2. AB De Villiers for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
There was no doubt about this one, was there? ABD is someone who can unleash carnage on the opposition with his 360-degree batting skills and him alongside Virat Kohli remain RCB’s mainstays. The 35-year-old scored 442 runs in 13 games last season, at an average of 44 and a strike rate of 154. Everyone knows what threat the South African poses, it’s just that no one really has been able to figure out how to stop him.
He is quick between the wickets, can hit fours and sixes at will and is an absolutely incredible athlete. The 35-year-old can take some blinding catches as he did last season and we can expect something similar from him in 2020 as well. There definitely would be a question raised regarding this choice and not going with Virat Kohli.
AB is fresh with him being a T20 globetrotter off late and will be completely tuned up and charged up for IPL 2020. Kohli can outdo ABD even then, but what the former Proteas captain brings to the table is something that could be far more valuable for a franchise looking to get their hands on the IPL title for the first time.
3. Jofra Archer for Rajasthan Royals (RR)
From making his debut for England to winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the speed sensation Jofra Archer had an incredible 2019. The Englishman has been the shining light of RR for the last couple of seasons. Archer was brilliant last season as he picked up 11 wickets from 11 games, at an economy rate of just 6.67
The numbers are incredible really when one considers the fact that the Englishman bowls often in the powerplay and the death. The Barbados-born hasn’t shown his exploits with the bat in the IPL yet, but it is fair to say that he can use the long handle of the bat every now and then. Not only that, Archer is brilliant in the field and is an incredible athlete.
A lot will be riding on Archer if RR are to make it to the playoffs. He has had some injury and workload issues in the recent past but even a 90% fit Jofra would be the best candidate who could stake claim to the MVP award from RR, the closest competition could be his English team-mate Ben Stokes.
4. Ravindra Jadeja for Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
Ravindra Jadeja or ‘Rockstar’ as Shane Warne called him way back in 2008, just like MS Dhoni, has been a part of CSK for a long time and it’s no secret that he is one of the most important players in this CSK set-up. The reason for that is the fact that Jadeja is what one calls a three-dimensional player; someone who can do a job while bowling, batting, and fielding.
Last season, the 31-year-old was immense for the three-time IPL Champions as he picked up 15 wickets from 16 games at an economy rate of 6.35. He also played the role of a finisher and scored 106 runs from 16 games at a strike rate of 121. Not only that, but Jadeja is also an incredible fielder, someone who is capable of pulling out some scorching catches, magnificent run-outs while also saving a good 10-20 runs with his fielding.
All in all, the 31-year-old is a man who can change the balance of the game by either his bowling, batting or fielding and that is what makes him a favourite among CSK fans. Jadeja has improved tremendously as a cricketer in the past year or so as he’s making it to the playing XI across formats for India. He certainly could be a rightful claim to the MVP award from the MSD-led CSK.
5. Rishabh Pant for Delhi Capitals (DC)
Rishabh Pant has been having an extremely tough few months for India. He’s starting to lose his spot in the national team. Owing to his lack of maturity and poor shot selection, he hasn’t converted so many of his starts into substantial scores. The IPL although is a completely different ball game for this youngster as he has been the pillar of strength for Delhi Capitals.
Pant has been the backbone of Delhi Capitals for the last couple of years and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he will be touted as DC’s game-changer for next season. Pant has that knack of depositing the ball into the stands with ease. Couple that with the experience he has gained over the last year in international cricket and you have a proper batsman who can take the game away from the opposition at any given moment.
Last season, Pant managed to score 488 runs from 16 games, at an average of almost 38 with a strike rate of 162. DC will be looking at Rishabh Pant next season every time the team is in trouble. With him having to prove all his detractors wrong and find himself in the reckoning for the national side again, this IPL could well be his season.
6. Glenn Maxwell for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)
KXIP signed the talented Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in the auction for INR 10.75 cr after the Australian missed the last season of the IPL. Now that he has returned from mini-break owing to mental health, Maxwell will play for a franchise he knows inside out in IPL 2020.
The 31-year-old had his best season with KXIP in 2014, scoring an incredible 552 runs from 16 games at a strike rate of 188. Maxwell is everything one looks in a game-changer – the Australian can hit boundaries at will, is an incredible fielder and can also bowl some handy off-spinners.
Game changers are what KXIP lacked last season but with the addition of Maxwell, Anil Kumble would be hoping that his team’s fortunes improve in the upcoming season. With KL Rahul going through a purple patch as a batsman and wicket-keeper currently, the load would be off the shoulders of Maxwell and that’s when he can unleash his true talent and cause havoc.
7. Andre Russell for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Andre Russell or ‘Dre Russ’ is someone who can have one hand on the MVP award even before the tournament starts. Such is his prowess and clout especially in T20s. Russell is the definition of a game-changer, someone who can win you games almost single-handedly, which is exactly what he did last season for KKR. He not only scored 510 runs in 14 games at an incredible strike rate of 205, but he also managed to pick up 11 wickets.
That game-changing ability, both with the bat and with the ball. is what one looks in a game-changer. Russell is arguably the best T20 all-rounder in the world whenever he plays. But given how injury-prone Dre Russ has been over the years, KKR need to manage his workload better next season.
Teams will want to get rid of Andre Russell every time he arrives at the crease because the longer, he stays on the pitch, the higher the chance KKR have of winning. He can be a pretty handy operator with the ball as well especially in the death overs. KKR and their fans would hope that the Caribbean star stays fit through the tournament and can dominate oppositions.
8. Jasprit Bumrah for Mumbai Indians (MI)
This selection is debatable as Mumbai Indians don’t just have one game-changer. It was a choice between Hardik Pandya and Bumrah but because the latter has been so consistent over the last couple of years, he gets the nod ahead of Pandya.
Jasprit Bumrah has been the go-to man for not just Rohit Sharma in the IPL, but also Virat Kohli in international Cricket. Be it Tests, ODIs, T20Is, or IPL, the last two years saw Jasprit Bumrah excelling in every form of cricket. He was MI’s trump-card in IPL 2019, and would once again be in IPL 2020.
Bumrah is undoubtedly the best death bowler in the world and arguably one of the best in the world in all three formats for the past few years. Last season, the 26-year-old picked up 19 wickets from 16 games at an incredible economy rate of 6.69.
Bumrah has been Rohit Sharma’s go-to man for quite a few years now and it will be the same next season when Mumbai Indians will be looking to defend their title.
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