IPL 2017: Ricky Ponting’s list of top performers point to a low-scoring final | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2017: Ricky Ponting’s list of top performers point to a low-scoring final

Ahead of the IPL 2017 final, former Mumbai Indians player and coach Ricky Ponting reveals his top performers in all departments of the current season

ipl 2017 Updated: May 21, 2017 17:24 IST
HT Correspondent
IPL 2017
Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith (R) is the only batsman from the two finalists to make it to Ricky Ponting’s list of top performers in IPL 2017.(AFP/Getty Images)

Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting will probably be cheering on his former team Mumbai Indians as they prepare for the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) final on Sunday.

Mumbai Indians take on Maharashtra rivals Rising Pune Supergiant in the finale of the tenth IPL season at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

While the jury is out on who will win the final, Ponting’s pick of top performers in this edition of the tournament might be an indicator of where each team is strongest.

The former Mumbai Indians player and coach, who won IPL trophies with the side in both roles, recently revealed his top five batsmen, bowlers and fielders of IPL 2017 to the Cricket Australia website (cricket.com.au).

READ | IPL 2017 final: Steve Smith says Indian youngsters key in Rising Pune Supergiant’s success

In his assessment, Ponting only ranked one player from the two finalists in his list of top-5 batsmen — Steve Smith.

However, his top-5 bowlers list had two each from the two finalists — Jaydev Unadkat and Imran Tahir from Rising Pune Supergiant, and Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah from Mumbai Indians.

He also listed two Mumbai Indians players — Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya — among his top-5 fielders.

Ponting’s selections clearly indicate that both teams are stronger with bowl than bat, which would mean the final might not be expected to be high scoring. Of course, that will be congruent with the way the rest of the season has gone with most matches being low scoring events.

Here are Ponting’s picks for best batsman, bowler and fielder of IPL 2017:

Best batsman: David Warner (Sunisers Hyderabad)

“Being back as the captain of a team that won it the year before, I know he (Warner) likes that extra responsibility as well and whenever he’s been captain or had that extra responsibility, he’s played well. The thing about Davey now as well is he’s very consistent in this form of the game which is not an easy thing to do.”

READ | ‘Mumbai Indians deserve to be in final; love to see Rising Pune Supergiant win’

Ponting’s top-5 batsmen

1. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

2. Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders)

3. Shikhar Dhawan (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

4. Suresh Raina (Gujarat Lions)

5. Steve Smith (Rising Pune Supergiant)

Best bowler: Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Sunisers Hyderabad)

“I actually think (Bhuvneshwar) has (been the best bowler) because of what he’s been able to do with the new ball. The opening bowlers in T20 cricket bowl all the difficult overs as well. They bowl two or three in the Power Play and then someone like Kumar comes back and bowls one or two at the death as well. That gives them the chance to take a lot of wickets but his economy rate has been pretty good as well. So he probably has been the standout bowler.”

READ | IPL 2017 final: Rising Pune Supegiant gave us wake-up calls, says Mumbai Indians coach

Ponting’s top-5 bowlers

1. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

2. Jaydev Unadkat (Rising Pune Supergiant)

3. Mitchell McClenaghan (Mumbai Indians)

4. Imran Tahir (Rising Pune Supergiant)

5. Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians)

Best fielder: Kieron Pollard (Mumbai Indians)

“Kieron Pollard is the number one fieldsman of the IPL this year, as he probably has been for a long time. I’ve seen him pull off some amazing things. He tends to field long on or long off probably for the last 8-10 overs of the innings, because if the bolwers are bowling well, that’s probably where the ball should go more often than not. And we know he is a six-foot-five, six-foot-six sort of athlete; the amount of times I’ve seen him jump on the boundary and pull in a one-hander — or go over the rope, come back in and grab it — it’s pretty amazing. Some of his diving saves along the fence are quite spectacular.”

READ | Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith play down head-to-head results on eve of IPL 2017 final

Ponting’s top-5 fielders

1. Kieron Pollard (Mumbai Indians)

2. Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab)

3. Ravindra Jadeja (Gujarat Lions)

4. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

5. Hardik Pandya (Mumbai Indians)