In just a few days, the 15th season of the Indian Premier League will be off. IPL 2022 promises to be more interesting than ever, with the inclusion of two additional franchises to the eight-team pool. Apart from the coveted IPL trophy, the Orange Cap and the Purple Cap are the two primary individual honours on offer. The former is given to the batter who scores the most runs in a season, while the latter is given to the bowler who takes the most wickets.

Meanwhile, here are five strong contenders for the Orange Cap this season:

 

KL Rahul

KL Rahul is one of the front-runners to win the Orange Cap this season. In three of the previous four seasons, the former Punjab Kings opener has scored over 600 runs, earning him the Orange Cap in 2020. Last season, KL Rahul amassed 626 runs in 13 innings, an astounding average of 62.60. In each of his previous four seasons, he has averaged over 50 points, and he is anticipated to continue to shine in this prestigious league.

KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, the Proteas wicketkeeper, will start the batting for the Lucknow Super Giants. It would help KL Rahul settle down in the middle before he begins playing the big strokes to have someone like De Kock open the batting beside him.

Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad showed flashes of his talent at the close of the 2020 season, when he hammered three half centuries in a row. Last season, the CSK opener surpassed all expectations by winning the Orange Cap after a fantastic second half of the season. Ruturaj scored 635 runs at an average of 45.35 in just 16 matches, only two runs more than his colleague Faf du Plessis.

Ruturaj Gaikwad is the primary batter for CSK this season, despite the absence of Mr. IPL, Suresh Raina. And the 24-year-old has proven his ability to handle pressure on numerous occasions. Ruturaj Gaikwad will be looking to defend his Orange Cap in 2022, as well as keeping an eye on the Indian T20 World Cup team.

 

Virat Kohli

In each of the previous four seasons, Virat Kohli has scored over 400 runs. However, the IPL has always been a competition where the former Indian captain has left his fans wanting more. Kohli has gotten off to a solid start in the powerplay in each of the last two seasons. His problems usually begin when the field stretches out and he is unable to keep the scoreboard ticking and make those crucial shots.

Virat Kohli, on the other hand, will bat with an experienced hitter in the shape of Faf du Plessis, who will enable him to take his time in the middle this season. In 2016, his greatest season in terms of runs was when he scored 973 runs in 16 innings, averaging 81.08 and included four huge hundreds. One of the main reasons for his batting success that season was the presence of an opening partner in the shape of Chris Gayle, who relieved him of the strain in the early overs.

Virat Kohli has 6283 runs at an average of 37.39 in his IPL career, with 5 hundreds and 42 half-centuries to his credit. This season, he’s still a strong candidate for the Orange Cap.

Shreyas Iyer

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer will be looking to make an immediate impression for his new team. In 87 IPL appearances, the Mumbai-based batsman has 2375 runs at an average of 31.66. In the 2020 season, he had his finest IPL performance to date, scoring 519 runs. The 27-year-old has been in outstanding form recently, winning Player-of-the-Series in a three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka last month.

For Kolkata Knight Riders, Shreyas Iyer will bat at number three, and he might be a strong contender for the Orange Cap this season. The Indian middle-order hitter would want to establish his value and let his bat do the talking with the ICC T20 World Cup only six months away.

David Warner

When it comes to IPL cricket, David Warner is a household name. So far, the Australian batter has won three Orange Caps, in 2015, 2017 and 2019. The dasher was scooped up by Delhi Capitals at a discount price in the mega auction after a clash with the Sunrisers Hyderabad management last season. Warner has 5449 runs at an incredible average of 41.59 in 150 IPL matches, including four hundreds and 50 half centuries.

In the recent past, we’ve seen David Warner spend a lot of time out in the middle throughout the early innings. With Prithvi Shaw beginning the batting beside him, the Indian batsman will provide a solid foundation for the Australian to construct his innings quietly, like he did against Sunrisers Hyderabad.