IPL Power Rankings: Imran Tahir tops, Kieron Pollard steps up

Imran Tahir celebrates a wicket with his team-mates BCCI

The third week of the IPL saw lots of activity on the points table, with previously high-flying teams getting into a rut and familiar names coming to the fore. There are only three players who retain their places in this week's top 10 rankings.

The rankings are purely subjective, taking into consideration both numbers as well as on-field impact.

10 Deepak Chahar [Chennai Super Kings]


Chennai Super Kings have opened up a bit of distance at the top of table and should be two wins away from sealing a playoff spot. Much of their consistency has been with the ball, spearheaded by Chahar, whom MS Dhoni trusts with the first over. Swinging the ball at good pace and also getting it to nip back off the seam, he has provided economical wickets at the top, though Chris Lynn did get a hold of him during Sunday's game away to Kolkata Knight Riders. In the reverse fixture earlier in the week, Chahar got Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana in a fabulous opening burst where the three combined for just 11.

9 AB de Villiers [Royal Challengers Bangalore]


Royal Challengers Bangalore had a long period of rest heading into their seventh game of the season and if they finally registered their first points of the season, it was largely due to de Villiers and his calm head in a chase in Mohali. His captain Virat Kohli had already set up a platform with some sumptuous strokeplay inside the Powerplay, but de Villiers' calculated batting helped keep the target within sight. With a tense finish looming, a trademark scoop on one knee over long leg for six just took the nerves out of the Bangalore dugout, as de Villiers anchored the chase with an unbeaten 59 off 38 balls.

8 Shikhar Dhawan [Delhi Capitals]


Dhawan has had a torrid time at this year's IPL, with Delhi Capitals desperately looking at him, with his experience of both the league and international cricket, to set the pace for a young batting line-up right at the top. This past week, he helped set up a comfortable chase against Kolkata Knight Riders with a characteristic Dhawan innings, filled with drives of the front foot and tackling the spinners by using the depth of the crease and cutting and pulling well. Missed out on a deserving century when Colin Ingram brought up the winning runs with a six.

7 MS Dhoni [Chennai Super Kings]


Dhoni's decision to walk on to the pitch to debate a no-ball non-call in a tense finish against Rajasthan Royals must count as one of the low points of the past week, but the Chennai Super Kings captain brought the game to a tense finish with an intelligent innings after the top order had caved in meekly. As is his wont, he took the game deep by running hard, so much so that it told on his health by the end of his 58, but he also took on the spinners when the opportunity presented itself. His consistent contributions with the bat have been pivotal in a season where Faf du Plessis has joined the line-up a bit late and Shane Watson is yet to get going in the top order.

6 Kieron Pollard [Mumbai Indians]


Against Kings XI Punjab at home. Pollard led Mumbai Indians in the absence of Rohit Sharma and, after his team had conceded almost 200 runs, he walked out at No. 4 and played one of his best IPL knocks. Having started watchfully, he took the attack to rival captain R Ashwin and almost single-handedly took Mumbai home by clubbing 83 off just 31 balls, including 10 sixes. His dismissal was just as dramatic -- looking to swing Ankit Rajpoot in the final over for the winning runs, he had already set himself up to celebrate the win, before realising he had holed out. Sport at its dramatic best!

5 Ravindra Jadeja [Chennai Super Kings]


Three wickets in three matches and one slightly expensive four-over spell at Eden Gardens in Sunday's match against Kolkata Knight Riders were probably going to keep Jadeja in the vicinity of the top 10 anyway. His off-balance straight six to set up the final over against Ben Stokes in Jaipur and 31 off 17 to seal a tense chase against Kolkata bring Jadeja quite high up this week's rankings. With 24 needed off two overs when Harry Gurney began his final over, the game was still in the balance. But Jadeja took the left-arm seamer on and his three consecutive fours helped take 16 off the over and title the scales in Chennai's favour.

4 Kagiso Rabada [Delhi Capitals]


Rabada is turning out to be one of the bowlers of this IPL season and his contest with Andre Russell in Delhi's game in Kolkata was one worth watching. Russell had the measure of Rabada's bowling early, forcing the South African to shorten his length and even hit him in response. A sharp, low full toss was played on to his thigh by Russell, causing him a considerable amount of pain, and Rabada eventually caught Russell as he tried to clear the boundary off Chris Morris. On Sunday, while Keemo Paul had put the brakes on Sunrisers Hyderabad's chase, Rabada finished the match off in style with four wickets, beginning with the prized scalp of a well-set David Warner.

3 Andre Russell [Kolkata Knight Riders]


If Kolkata Knight Riders' over-dependence on Andre Russell was a pressing concern in the first two weeks of the IPL, it came to full light during the third, where Kolkata lost all their three games, despite two valiant contributions from Russell. Against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai, with most of the team having wilted early, Russell played a patient hand in taking his team past 100, and against Delhi Capitals, he showed the stomach for a fight with a rapid 45 in 21 balls, with 80 per cent of his runs in boundaries. He couldn't repeat his heroics against Chennai in the return fixture though, falling after smacking a four and a six against Imran Tahir.

2 KL Rahul [Kings XI Punjab]


Rahul began the week with a fluent unbeaten 71 to anchor Kings XI Punjab's successful chase against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and then produced his first IPL century against Mumbai Indians away. A valid criticism of that innings could be that he slowed down during the middle overs, but his presence was needed at the crease in an innings where no batsman after Chris Gayle was able to kick on, with Sam Curran's eight the third-best score. Rahul accelerated towards the end and showed a full range of shots to take Punjab to 197, which would have been adequate but for Pollard's belligerence.

1 Imran Tahir [Chennai Super Kings]


Imran Tahir has had the measure of opposition batsmen this IPL, bowling slower than most other wrist-spinners and also relying a lot more on his stock ball rather than just the googly or the flipper. He reserved his best for Kolkata Knight Riders over the past week -- at home, he just never allowed the Kolkata batsmen to get away after Deepak Chahar's triple strike early in the innings. His two wickets then were of Dinesh Karthik and Shubman Gill. Over the weekend, he removed Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa in one over, before returning in the 15th over to get rid of Chris Lynn. This brought Andre Russell to the crease, whose lowest score in the IPL had been 45. Russell started with four, dot, six before Tahir tossed the ball up wide outside off, tempting the batsman to go over long on again. This time the ball took the top edge and substitute Dhruv Shorey took a superb catch -- and Tahir was off on probably his longest celebratory run of this IPL yet.