Another week in the IPL, another round of top knocks and talking points…

Blistering Bairstow clatters Kings XI

Jonny Bairstow’s Test future may be up for debate – he has not played a five-day game for England since December and has just lost his red-ball central contract – but his white-ball form remains strong. Thursday’s swashbuckling 97 from 55 balls for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kings XI Punjab, an innings which featured six sixes and seven fours, was Bairstow’s third fifty of the tournament and he just missed out on becoming the third player this term, after Kings XI’s KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, to reach three figures. It’s all smiles at the minute for Jonny in the UAE…

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πŸ˜¬πŸ‘πŸ» #dubai #ipl

A post shared by Jonny Bairstow (@jbairstow21) on

πŸ˜¬πŸ‘πŸ» #dubai #ipl

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Archer bowls 95mph beamer

Jofra Archer let slip a howitzer to Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya this week that the batsman did well to get underneath. That delivery aside, Archer – nine wickets in the tournament at an economy rate under seven – has been impressing for a Rajasthan Royals side that, quite frankly, haven’t been, with a four-game losing streak preceding Sunday’s win over Sunrisers.

Even that game looked gone for the Royals when they tumbled to 78-5 after 12 overs chasing 159 to win, only for Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag to bail them out. That comeback success could be a catalyst for Royals, as could the arrival of Ben Stokes, who missed the early part of the competition for family reasons. Sure, his first game was quiet with just one over bowled and only five runs scored, but Rajasthan will be hoping his all-round class can lift them in the second half of the campaign.

Smith strums along during downtime

It hadn’t been a case of sing when you’re winning for Royals skipper Steve Smith with an Instagram post of him displaying his vocals and strumming his guitar coming amid Rajasthan’s barren run. There were definitely some “he went home to get it” vibes – one for fans of The Office there – as he sang his version of ‘All I Need To See’ by Mitch Rossell but Smith’s musical mentor, Guy Sebastian, said “like his cricket, Smithy is brave and willing to put in the work”. Smith previously turned from a bit-part leg-spinner to one of the game’s premier batsmen so let’s not rule out him nailing music, too.

A bit of practice in my downtime here in Dubai. Need plenty more work though 🎸

A post shared by Steve Smith (@steve_smith49) on

Quiz night for RCB

Virat Kohli is not only a quality batsman – Saturday’s unbeaten 90 from 52 balls against Chennai Super Kings the latest in a gazillion examples of that fact – but also part of a winning quiz team, with the RCB captain’s group coming out on top during this week’s contest, which you can watch below.

Bold Diaries: RCB Quiz Night

The competitive spirit of the RCB players and support staff was on display when the team got together for a fun quiz session on their day off.#PlayBold #IPL2020 #WeAreChallengers #Dream11IPL pic.twitter.com/Xn3lX7EXFZ

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal failed to correctly guess how many times RCB have reached the IPL knockout stages but Moeen Ali was more successful when it came to naming the player with the most appearances in English Premier League history. The RCB squad were also asked to name the music video with the most view on YouTube. At the time of writing, that is not Steve Smith’s rendition of ‘All I Need To See’…

Chennai falter chasing again

Kohli’s sparkling 90 on Saturday took RCB up to 169, a total Chennai could not pass. Not passing opposition totals, often middling ones, has kind of been CSK’s thing this term. They have batted second in each of their seven games so far and only gone on to win twice, with a slow scoring rate in the middle overs leaving the likes of MS Dhoni and Sam Curran too much to do down the order – Super Kings’ run rate of 7.19 from overs seven to 14 is the second-worst in the IPL, behind only RCB. His recent stats suggest that Dhoni, at 39, is losing his skills as a master finisher but even if that is true, the upper middle order must still do much more. CSK have reached the knockout stages in all 10 of the IPLs they have participated in but making that 11 looks a tall order on current form.

IPL commentators maintaining the fiction that the wicket of Dhoni is still a huge one…

Kings XI prop up the table

Mumbai Indians top the IPL table – Rohit Sharma’s side taking that mantle by beating Delhi Capitals on Sunday – but Kings XI are languishing at the base. Rahul’s men have lost six of their seven games with their knack of throwing away promising positions evident again on Saturday when they somehow lost to Kolkata Knight Riders. Rahul’s 74 and Agarwal’s 56 had propelled the side to 144-1 in the 18th over chasing 165, only for Rahul’s dismissal to change the complexion of the game and Kings XI to fall short.

A last-ball six would have earned the team a Super Over but Glenn Maxwell’s slog over the off-side bounced inches short of the rope. Those fine margins have not gone Kings XI’s way and they will require a quite dramatic turnaround if they are to make the knockout phase for the first time since 2014, when they finished runners-up to Kolkata.

Shots of the Week

Here are some contenders we have spotted…

WHAT A SHOT! πŸ’₯

Prithvi Shaw hits the first six of the day as he launches Saini over extra cover. Incredible striking!#DelhiCapitals 31-0 after three overs. #IPL2020

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/tbe3WRmSLU
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/Mnv3UtI7mz
#️⃣ #Dream11IPL #RCBvDC pic.twitter.com/jihzJEB65V

πŸ‘Œ CLASS πŸ‘Œ

Wide half-volley from Bravo, yes, but it's still a cracking cover drive from Kohli 😍#WeAreChallengers 50-1 after eight overs #CSK #IPL2020

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/5Wn3V1XXzy
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/LE4d7AEa8j
#️⃣ #Dream11IPL #CSKvRCB pic.twitter.com/94MzvNXHkO

πŸ¦†πŸͺ THE DUCK HOOK πŸ¦†πŸͺ

Steve Smith is never conventional at the crease… 😱#RR 40-1 after the six overs of powerplay chasing 1️⃣8️⃣5️⃣ to beat #DelhiCapitals

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/ZnTb4KPcFk
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/TpJMOn3G9Y
#️⃣ #Dream11IPL #RRvDC #IPL2020 pic.twitter.com/SD6ABOmRLU

Catches of the Week

There have been some great grabs over recent days as well…

GREAT CATCH! πŸ‘

Moeen Ali strikes in his first over but this wicket is all about Padikkal on the boundary, brilliant work from the youngster!

Shreyas Iyer gone, #DelhiCapitals 90-3. #IPL2020

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/tbe3WRmSLU
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/Q4cHGQ7PP6 pic.twitter.com/cuF4mmPSir

Make that 42-4! πŸ’₯

Sub fielder Anukul with 'Superman' catch at extra-cover to get rid of Lomror 🦸

Tom Curran joins Buttler – and hammers first ball for 6️⃣

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/19GZobL1Va
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/QZBUNvS8dD
#️⃣ #Dream11IPL #MIvRR
#️⃣ #IPL2020 #RR #MI pic.twitter.com/yrH8CCxOfO

BRILLIANT CATCH! 😱

Incredible work from Jadeja in the deep, takes the diving catch, sees the rope coming as he slides and tosses it across to Du Plessis!#KKR 98-3 after 11 overs.

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/tbe3WRmSLU
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/SAcC9Gh0OB
#️⃣ #KKRvCSK #IPL2020 pic.twitter.com/mVVXgENc4Q

One glove, no problem for MS Dhoni! 🧀

The #CSK skipper was ready to try and prevent a single and ends up taking a fantastic catch!#KKR bowled out from the last ball, #CSK need 168 to win! #IPL2020

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/tbe3WRmSLU
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/SAcC9Gh0OB pic.twitter.com/eE9hOC0pwk

SUPER CATCH! πŸ‘

Buttler has to go as Dhawan takes cracking diving take at square leg #IPL2020

Ashwin gets his man and there is no Mankading involved! #RR #DelhiCapitals

πŸ“Ί Watch πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/ZnTb4KPcFk
πŸ“‹ Scorecard πŸ‘‰ https://t.co/TpJMOn3G9Y
#️⃣ #Dream11IPL #RRvDC pic.twitter.com/iwMmXyyqEV

Watch every match of the 2020 IPL live on Sky Sports. You can also catch hour-long highlights of each game every weekday at 9pm and at 8pm and 9pm on double-header weekends.

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