Five young cricket stars who lit up the IPL

cricket27 May 2024 03:27| © AFP
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Abhishek Sharma © Sportzpics

Kolkata Knight Riders hammered Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets to win the Indian Premier League for a third time.

AFP Sport looks at five youngsters who caught the eye during the Twenty20 tournament.

Jake Fraser-McGurk (Australia)

The Australian impressed in his debut IPL season with his fearless batting for Delhi Capitals, earning glowing praise from Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly.

The 22-year-old opener came in as an injury replacement for bowler Lungi Ngidi and hammered 330 runs in nine matches at a punishing strike rate of over 234.

His explosive performances prompted Australia to include him in their squad as a travelling reserve for next month's T20 World Cup after he was not in their initial list.

Delhi head coach and former Australia captain Ponting earmarked Fraser-McGurk as "a serious talent". Ganguly predicted a bright future for the "game-changer", who has played two ODIs for Australia.

Abhishek Sharma (India)

The flamboyant left-hander, 23, was key to Hyderabad's run to the final.

He smashed 484 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of over 200 and formed an attacking opening pair with Australia's Travis Head.

Abhishek also contributed with his left-arm spin when he took two wickets against Rajasthan Royals to take Hyderabad into their third IPL final.

"He is amazing, I wouldn't want to bowl against him. He's scary," skipper Pat Cummins said of the youngster after his knock of 66 helped Hyderabad into the play-offs.

Despite his displays Abhishek failed to make India's formidable World Cup squad.

Will Jacks (England)

The batting allrounder rode on a strong season with Royal Challengers Bengaluru to take his place in the England squad for the World Cup.

His 41-ball 100 against Gujarat Titans in April highlighted his destructive ability and eclipsed even Virat Kohli during their partnership of 166.

Jacks reached his ton with a six and Kohli's reaction of awe and delight said it all. The former India captain later called the knock "phenomenal".

The 25-year-old finished with 230 runs in eight matches and was vital to Bengaluru as they made it to the play-offs.

Tristan Stubbs (South Africa)

The South African went to Delhi for a bargain $60 000 at auction but emerged as a top "finisher" in a season where his team came a disappointing sixth in the table.

The 23-year-old had a final-overs strike rate of 297.33, the highest in the IPL ever for a minimum of 100 runs.

"The way he is finishing games, it's like he's been doing it for 10 years," former Australia batsman Tom Moody purred.

It was a breakout IPL for Stubbs, who concluded the season with an unbeaten 25-ball 57 against Lucknow Super Giants.

Will hope to carry that form into the World Cup in the United States and Caribbean.

Matheesha Pathirana (Sri Lanka)

The 21-year-old fast bowler nicknamed "Baby Malinga" sparkled for Chennai Super Kings with his ability to choke runs in the final overs.

He took 13 wickets from six games before a hamstring injury cut short his IPL.

Chennai were left to rue his absence, losing to Bengaluru to miss out on the play-offs.

Has drawn comparisons to Sri Lankan bowling great Lasith Malinga because of his slinging action.

Pathirana has recovered from the injury and is expected to spearhead Sri Lanka's attack at the World Cup.