Rising Pune Supergiant might not have had the best of starts to the season, but they have slowly risen through the ranks and are now placed fourth on the points table with 12 points from 10 games.
As they inch closer to a place in the playoffs, Ben Stokes has become one of their most discussed player, especially after his majestic knock century against Gujarat on Monday night.
While Stokes was the highest paid star at this year’s auction, bought for a whopping Rs 14.5 crore by Pune, a few of the low-budget stars have managed to out-perform the England all-rounder in this edition of the cash-rich league.
A look at five ‘easy on the pocket’ stars who have turned eye-balls this season with their match-winning performances:
Rahul Tripathi (RPS):
The Maharashtra cricketer was bought by RPS for just Rs 10 lakh at the auction. With his power-packed batting, Tripathi has emerged as the second-most successful batsman for Pune after captain Steve Smith. He is also among the top 15 batsmen in the run-getters’ chart. He has scored 259 runs in 8 matches at a strike rate of 148. A late inclusion in the playing XI, he has managed to win hearts with his daredevilry at the top of the innings.
Jaydev Unadkat (RPS):
Unadkat was bought for Rs 30 lakh by Pune at the auction. The left-arm pacer is the second-most successful bowler for RPS with 10 wickets in 8 matches at an economy of below 8. He is among the top 15 wicket-takers in the ongoing season. Even though he has been costly at time, he has managed to pick timely wickets for skipper Steven Smith.
Colin de Grandhomme (KKR):
With a base price of Rs 30 lakh, New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme was ignored by the eight franchisees in the auction. Picked by Kolkata Knight Riders as an afterthought, the Kiwi pacer has been a vital cog for his team. He has claimed 4 wickets in 5 matches with an economy of under 8 runs for the Knights from Kolkata.
Basil Thampi (GL):
With a base price of Rs 10 lakh, the Kerala speedster was picked by Gujarat Lions for Rs 85 lakh. And Thampi has proved his worth with his lion-hearted performance. Even though he wasn’t getting the wickets in the initial matches, he impressed with his disciplined show. And with time, he has also managed to improve on his wicket-taking skills and now has 8 wickets in 9 matches. Some of the senior members in the GL outfit believe that he has the talent to go on and represent the country.
Imran Tahir (RPS):
And finally, despite being the No. 1 bowler in T20Is and ODIs, no one picked South Africa spinner Imran Tahir, with a base price of Rs 50 lakh at the auction. But Pune picked him up later and he has shown his worth in gold. Tahir is the second highest wicket-taker (16 wickets) in the tournament, after Sunrisers Hyderabad's Bhuvneshwar Kumar (20 wickets).