For the second year running, the IPL welcomed a batch of English players – despite a number of them being recalled early for national duty ahead of the World Cup. With the group stage finished, and none making it through to the knockout stages, we take a look at their returns.
Jofra Archer Rajasthan Royals
67 runs, SR 167.50; 11 wickets, econ. 6.76
Not on this list a year ago but now fully qualified and subject of much hype as England mull whether to select him for the World Cup. This was another solid campaign, speckled with moments of quiet brilliance: figures of 3 for 15 against Kings XI in Chandigarh, which included two wickets in the 19th over while conceding just three runs; a cameo 27 off 12 balls to resurrect his team against Kolkata, sealing victory with a six in his last act before heading off to link up with England for the first time. Despite three dropped catches against Mumbai Indians (a game Royals won), he was full value. Among seam-bowlers over the last two seasons, only Jasprit Bumrah has taken more wickets at a lower economy than Archer.
Jonny Bairstow Sunrisers Hyderabad
445 runs, SR 157.24
In his debut IPL season, Bairstow was unarguably the leading English import – an orange ball of fury at the top of the Sunrisers order where he formed an exhilarating, and unlikely, partnership with David Warner. When he departed for England duty, his tally of 445 runs put him second on the list, while Bairstow and Warner also set an IPL record for the highest opening partnership when looting the RCB attack for 185. He also kept wicket tidily, despite the challenge of trying to pick Rashid Khan, and gave himself fully to the experience of living in and travelling around India. Unsurprisingly, once their opening partnership was broken up Sunrisers struggled, losing three of their last four games
Sam Billings Chennai Super Kings
0 runs, SR 0.00; 1 catch
CSK stuck with Billings as one of their overseas contingent as much for his utility as back-up keeper and substitute fielder as anything. But he was only required in the starting XI once, making a four-ball duck against Kings XI, and flew home early to try and get game time with his county, Kent – a plan which was wrecked almost before it started as a badly dislocated shoulder put him out of the England reckoning.
Jos Buttler Rajasthan Royals
311 runs, SR 150.70; 9 catches
Pretty much a veteran after four successive IPL seasons – two for Mumbai, two for Rajasthan – Buttler was again a force at the top of the order. The high point was a Man-of-the-Match display against Mumbai Indians, bulldozing 89 from just 43 balls to set up what was only Rajasthan’s second win of the competition (he passed 50 in their first, too). However, he was also in the middle during one of the most controversial moments of the 2019 season, after being Mankaded by R Ashwin in Jaipur. Royals were on course to win their opening match but Buttler strayed out of his ground and Ashwin ran him out without a second thought (or a first warning) – Buttler complained afterwards that it set a “bad precedent”. Left India early to attend the birth of his first child.
Sam Curran Kings XI Punjab
95 runs, SR 172.72; 10 wickets, econ. 9.78
Bought for a million dollars in the auction, Curran arguably didn’t live up to his price tag – but he also had a more-than-handy first IPL, too. That fee probably demanded a place in Kings XI’s opener, but despite taking two (expensive) wickets in victory, he was then left out for two games, before returning with 4 for 11 – his best T20 figures – against Delhi, finishing a sensational match with a hat-trick. He continued to be in and out of the side, but finished the season well with a 23-ball fifty against KKR, then 3 for 35 before hitting the winning runs in his final outing. While his economy was on the high side, Curran’s versatility was a bonus as Kings XI sought a play-off spot, even filling in as a pinch-slogging opener at one stage.
Joe Denly Kolkata Knight Riders
0 runs, SR 0.00
There was not much for Denly to write home about during his maiden appearance at the world’s biggest T20 league. He made one appearance, filling in with KKR’s regular opening partnership of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine absent, and lasted a single ball after losing his off stump to Ishant Sharma. Did his duty with the drinks for a little while longer before coming back home early to get some cricket under his belt with Kent.
Harry Gurney Kolkata Knight Riders
1 run, SR 20.00; 7 wickets, econ. 8.81
A one-time England candidate who has begun a productive late-career spell on the global T20 circuit, Gurney will not be adding an IPL title to the ones he recently picked up while at the PSL and Big Bash, as KKR missed out on the top four thanks to defeat in their final match. Gurney was almost ever-present through the second half of the season, having claimed the Man of the Match award on debut for a parsimonious 2 for 25 – his skiddy left-arm angle and teasing variations seemingly suited to slow, grippy surfaces. That was about as good as it got, however, as KKR went on a six-match losing streak, Gurney’s wicket returns and economy rate going in opposite directions.
Liam Livingston Rajasthan Royals
70 runs, SR 145. 83; 0 wickets, econ. 13.00
Part of the four-man England contingent at Royals, Livingstone was another who was left kicking his heels for much of the tournament. Made an appearance midway through, with Ben Stokes carrying a knock, but bowled just one over at a cost of 13 and then made a two-ball duck. After Stokes and Buttler returned home towards the back end, he came into the team for a mini run and produced one notable knock of 44 off 26 balls – handing out some unusual punishment to Rashid Khan – to help set up a comfortable victory over Sunrisers. The rain did for his chance to shine in Bengaluru and he was part of a major Royals collapse in the final game as the play-offs slipped out of reach.
Moeen Ali Royal Challengers Bangalore
220 runs, SR 165.41; 6 wickets, econ. 6.76
While his team had a bit of a shocker, losing their opening six games and ending up bottom of the pile, Moeen played to his strengths – selfless versatility and laconic stoicism – during a breakthrough campaign. Like a silent gunslinger from a spaghetti Western, Moeen swung first and asked questions later. His strike rate was bettered only by Andre Russell and Hardik Pandya, among batsmen to have faced 100 balls, and he chipped in whenever Virat Kohli chose to throw him the ball. Moving around the order so much wasn’t ideal – he batted everywhere between No. 2 and No. 6 and only settled in his most productive slot at No. 4 eight games in – but a flying 66 off 28 balls against KKR, when he outscored Kohli by a ratio of 3:1 showed how destructive he could be.
Ben Stokes Rajasthan Royals
123 runs, SR124.24; 6 wickets, econ. 11.22
Where have you hidden the real Ben Stokes? The owners of Rajasthan Royals would be forgiven for asking that question as England’s totemic allrounder followed up an underwhelming first season in Royals blue with an equally underwhelming one in Royals pink. The player who won the MVP award for his performances with Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 has struggled to click since then: fewer runs at a lower strike rate; fewer wickets at a worse economy. There were moments to savour, such as a magnificent diving catch at backward point against CSK; but his season was summed up later that same match when he failed to defend 18 off the final over, conceding a no-ball, a wide and two sixes either side of dismissing MS Dhoni. Eventful, yes. Successful, less so.