Ed Hawkins on the IPL: Warner heads list of the biggest flops

David Warner
Warner has been a let down

Ed Hawkins casts a disappointed eye over the individuals and combinations who have underperformed in this year's tournament...

"There could be a glimmer of hope, though. His run returns have not been disastrous and Delhi could make a smart, revitalising move by giving him the chance to open"

Andre Russell

In the 2019 edition, Andre Russell finished as Kolkata Knight Rider's highest runscorer and the fifth best in the tournament with 510 runs at a barely-believable strike rate of 204. It appeared he had ushered in a new era of power hitting.

Ever since, though, Russell has failed to hit the heights. Fair or not, punters, pundits and armchair fans expect more of the same. In the Caribbean Premier League he managed three innings of note, although two were in losing causes and the third, when he took on Guyana's attack, came with a paltry score to chase.

In the UAE he has managed only 92 runs and the ferocious hitting ability that made him the most feared player on the planet in the format has deserted him. In three innings his strike rate has been 100 or lower. Against Mumbai two games ago he looked set to return to his old ways with KKR in the mire. He'd hit a six and a four and looked ready to motor. But that was the end of the show.

Instead Pat Cummins took over, doing Russell's job for him with 53 off 36. Now suffering from an injury again, the Russell of 2019 may never be seen again.

David Warner and Trevor Bayliss

This brains trust was supposed to be the most superior in the tournament. Warner's on-field chutzpah, quick mind and 'mateship' theory combined with coach Bayliss' quiet authority and impressive honours board should have given Sunrisers a significant edge.

But the franchise have been a mess from game one when leaving out Khaleel Ahmed, the best strike bowler in T20 in the last two years, and a stubborn refusal to do anything about a middle-order which had more stodge than a Paul Hollywood bun sale.

Instead of an asset, Warner has been a liability. Charged with fast starts to protect that middle order, Warner has failed to spark creating an in-balance which hadn't previously existed. In an effort to save their captain, they moved him down to No 4 and then back up to open. He has top scored twice all tournament - halving a win rate in the 40% mark - and Jofra Archer has now got him out on the last four occasions they have met.

Kane Williamson has been the fall guy. Despite this column not being a fan, he has had a strong tournament and sacrificing their only reliable fast scorer for Warner was another demerit for the dunces of the class.

Glenn Maxwell

The Big Show came into the tournament off the back of a match-winning performance against England in the final ODI of the summer. He smashed 108 from 90 balls as the Aussies got off the canvas to a record a remarkable success. Surely a big IPL would follow?

Not yet. Maxwell has been a crushing disappointment. At the time of writing his highest score is 32. In his eight previous innings he managed a top score of 13. It's not as if he is blasting away for quick runs, either - he has a strike rate of 103.

His continued selection exposes Kings XI's hopeless draft skills. Simply put, they have so few options as replacements that he has to play. But with diminishing returns, it might make more sense for Kings to cut their losses and go with Deepak Hooda or Sarafarz Khan and give the overseas slot to Chris Jordan.

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant came into the tournament with a win rate of 44% in the last two editions combined and a reputation as India's coming man in the format. Seven games and an injury later, Pant is in danger of becoming the forgotten man.

Even though Delhi Capitals are rivalling Mumbai Indians for the competition's best team, Pant can hardly claim to be a key cog. He has managed one destructive innings - against KKR - but otherwise he has been steady and slightly ponderous. It's not the combination expected.

There could be a glimmer of hope, though. His run returns have not been disastrous and Delhi could make a smart, revitalising move by giving him the chance to open. Prithvi Shaw is on a poor run and it may pay to switch Shaw to No 3 with the versatile Shreyas Iyer moving to No 4. With Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer and Axar Patel considered dangerous finishers, Pant may have suffered from not knowing what his role is. Does he stick or twist?

Sportsbook make him 4/1 to top score against Kolkata, the only team he has taken a liking to, on Saturday. It could be worth an interest. Likewise Stoinis at 15/2, who could also be promoted to open.

Saturday's IPL matches previewed on Cricket...Only Bettor

Ed Hawkins IPL P-L

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