IPL 2023, Top Performers: Faf du Plessis, Yashasvi Jaiswal & impactful Axar Patel among the top three performers of the season so far.
The T20 format is meant to be a young man’s game where fresh blood and new energy can look to grab the centrestage without any fear but the sixteenth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 has turned the clock. There is a beautiful balance between both experience and youth in this new edition of the tournament.
The leading run-scorer of the season so far is Faf du Plessis who is just around a month away from becoming 39 while Yashasvi Jaiswal, the second in the list, is in his early 20s.
At the moment, Gujarat Titans (GT) is at the top of the points table with eight victories in 11 games with a net run rate of +0.951, while Delhi Capitals (DC) remain at the bottom with four wins in 10 games at a net run rate of -0.529.
Let’s take a look at the top three performers of IPL 2023
Aggressive Faf du Plessis showing skills of both power and smartness
One of the most consistent players of IPL in the last four years has been the South African great Faf du Plessis, who has nailed 2061 runs in this tournament in 55 games since 2020 at an average of around 44 with a wild strike rate of around 142.
After being appointed as the new leader for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the last season, Faf had a decent season of 468 runs in 16 games at an average of 31.20 but his strike rate of 127.52 wasn’t up to the mark; but he has changed the whole scenario in this season with a mindset of attacking the bowlers from the start.
The impact Faf has created in this season is quite colourful in the number of boundaries and sixes he has smashed. His 32 sixes so far in just 11 games in this season is 22 per cent of his whole IPL career. Each of his six fifties in this season has come at a strike rate of over 150 which elaborate the fact of not slowing down even after the powerplay.
The current rule of impact player has also helped him in getting an opportunity to show his mind-blowing batting even when he was struggling with a minor injury. In their afternoon fixture against Punjab Kings at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali coming as an impact sub player, Faf structured 84 runs in 56 balls at a strike rate of 150 with the help of five boundaries and same number of sixes.
The current orange cap holder of the season, Faf du Plessis has shown great exposure and calmness against both spin and pace. All the reckless shots he has played, he has relied on sheer timing and placement and he will look to carry the same momentum in the last four league games for RCB to take them to second consecutive playoffs.
Young and energetic Yashasvi Jaiswal making the bowlers dance on his aggressive batting rhythm
The feature of any quality and perfect batter in the shortest format of the game will be the ability to pick the length early and fearlessly trying to play wide shots in almost all parts of the park. Yashasvi Jaiswal, just in his early 20s, is creating the atmosphere of moving upwards to a different level.
Jaiswal came into this new IPL season with good form scoring 266 runs in 10 games at an average of 33.25 and strike rate of 141.48 including one fifty for Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) 2022-23. The change of approach from his last three IPL seasons has been evident; the strike rate was good but unlike this year, he was getting dismissed after getting a valuable start.
The impact created by Jaiswal in this season is quite impressive. The 21 sixes that he has smacked so far is almost 50 pc of the 43 sixes of his whole IPL career while 62 boundaries of his 124 fours in his whole IPL career have come in this edition. Among those who have score 250+ runs in this season, the 160.61 strike rate of Jaiswal is just behind Glenn Maxwell and Suryakumar Yadav.
The evening game against Mumbai Indians was an example of him taking the responsibility and batting for the full 20 overs. The audacious stroke play, the inventive drives and smart cut shots against some of the international bowlers - Jofra Archer being one of them - was nothing short of high class. With the introduction of spin, Jaiswal wasn’t afraid of using his feet to get to the pitch of the ball to attack the spinners. Jaiswal managed 124 runs in 62 balls in that game at a strike rate of 200 with the help of 16 boundaries and eight sixes.
“You can see there was something unique and he was at a different level than all his peers across the globe at that point,” Tom Moody speaking to ESPNCricinfo spoke about his growth. “His composure and position at the crease whilst playing the deliveries over 150+ kmph was strong.”
“It was a great feeling and I was really emotional but at the same time I was energetic also; I just thank God and I remember my parents whenever I make centuries,” Jaiswal expressed his emotional moment and how he works in different conditions. “How I prepare, how I leave, how I recover, and how I’m dealing with injures, everything plays a role because I have been playing a lot of cricket.”
Even though his team Rajasthan Royals has struggled in their last few games, Yashasvi Jaiswal will look to continue the same momentum in the rest of the season.
All-rounder Axar Patel showing his class for dejected Delhi Capitals
The last few months for Axar Patel have been excellent as he came to the IPL with 264 runs in four games during the Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) 2022-23 at an average of 88 and strike rate of 50.94; and he has carried the same form in the IPL for Delhi Capitals too.
The finalists of the 2020 season haven’t touched the same feat like their last few years losing their first five consecutive games, but Axar Patel coming at number seven in most of the games has given Delhi the flurry of boundaries to finish well in the death overs.
It’s quite surprising that even after having this sort of outstanding qualities, the left-hander has notched up his maiden fifty of his IPL career after being part of 10 seasons. The game against Mumbai Indians at the Arun Jaitley Stadium was perhaps the best example of why Axar Patel should be promoted up in the batting order.
Coming at number seven with his team being under all sorts of trouble at 98/5 in 12.3 overs, Axar displayed some brilliant powerful shots over the covers and down the ground, both against pacers and spinners to manage a 25-ball 54 with the help of four boundaries and five sixes in a partnership of 67 runs for the sixth wicket with David Warner.
However, his bowling is little under the scanner just because of the number of wickets he has picked up in this season. His economy of 6.82 is still really good to keep the batters cold during the middle overs. With Delhi Capitals having an outside chance of making it to the playoffs, Axar Patel has to remain consistent with both bat and ball.
The final of the IPL 2023 will be played on May 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.