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IPL 2022: Hits And Flops, Highs And Lows, Emerging Trends

By: Ayaz Memon

Last Updated: June 01, 2022, 09:33 IST

Hits And Flops, Highs And Lows, Emerging Trends

Hits And Flops, Highs And Lows, Emerging Trends

While some exciting young batsmen and bowlers have emerged, there’s not much to show in the spin department, traditionally India’s area of strength

Gujarat Titans win at first attempt:

Rajasthan Royals had done this too in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008. The difficulty quotient for the Titans was greater, however, since there were 10 teams instead of the previous 8 playing the tournament. Also, the win percentage for Gujarat was much greater: Of 16 matches GT played, only four were lost, which shows how dominance and consistency, surprising those who hadn’t given them much scope to win when the tournament began. But from the first match, the Titans showed they were up to the challenge, and kept getting better and better as the tournament progressed, beating all comers and in the final laying low Rajasthan Royals in convincing style.

What worked for Titans: Apart from marquee names like Rashid Khan and Hardik Pandya, drafted in before the mega auction, the astute selection of players in the mega auction helped Gujarat enormously. There was a fine blend of experience and youth, depth and variety in batting and bowling, and a string desire to excel. This came through discernibly in tight matches, where some player or the other put his hand up to lead the team to a win. Above all, Hardik Pandya, as all-rounder and captain, played the most influential role in their triumph. He was among the top run-getters in the tournament, got a bagful of wickets at crucial junctures (best exemplified with the dismissals of Samson, Buttler and Hetmyer in the final) read match situations superbly and inspired his teammates to give off their best.

Rajasthan Royals, So Near Yet So Far:

Despite scoring just 130, they put up a game fight, taking the battle to the 19th over. Some loose batting after a decent start allowed Gujarat to take control of the match. Wickets fell regularly after the main batsman Buttler was dismissed, and Rajasthan finished with a below-par score. This was disappointing for a team flush with superb talent and most players in form, and with superb performances in the league phase and the play-offs. The solace is they lost to a better team

LSG and RCB Stumble Under Pressure:

The two other teams in the play-offs were left to rue missed opportunities, particularly Lucknow who looked to be, along with the Titans, the most balanced side in the tournament. Unfortunately, they started running out of steam towards the finish of the league stage and stumbled in the Eliminator to RCB. But the Bangalore side, which had a bumpy ride through the tournament, wasn’t able to capitalize on this break and fell rather easily to Rajasthan in the second qualifier, their aspirations of winning a maiden title pushed back another year!

CSK and Mumbai Indians Hit The Nadir:

Defending champions CSK and 5-times former champions Mumbai Indians had eminently forgettable seasons. From the start, neither team could get momentum. CSK showed some recovery, but only briefly to finish 9th. Mumbai’s agony persisted till the end, and they finished bottom of the pile. What caused the downfall of both teams was a combination of a flawed approach in the mega auction — where some key members who had helped them win in previous years were let go — as well as terribly poor performances of key players.

India’s Big Guns Have Torrid Time: Some regulars like K L Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Shubhman Gill, and Mohammed Shami, had a good season, some like Rishabh Pant, Umesh Yadav, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, lived up to the billing, but major domos Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Mayank Agarwal, Mohamed Siraj and Ravindra Jadeja hit rock bottom, unable to lift themselves out of a rut from start till finish. Needless to say, their teams suffered badly.

Overseas Stars Shine:

In contrast to those from India, most players overseas enjoyed a very productive season. Joss Buttler was top of the pops with his blazing batting at the top of the order for Rajasthan, and it must seem a travesty that in spite of his four centuries, RR couldn’t win the title.

Andre Russell was in his element with bat and ball, and for a major part of the season looked like he would finish Most Valuable Player of the tournament, his only competitor being Liam Livingstone whose maverick ways kept Punjab in the hunt for a place in the play-offs till the end. Leg spin maestro Rashid Khan, as always, was brilliant and a key factor in GT’s triumph.

Apart from these four other overseas players who made an impact were David Warner, Faf du Plessis, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kagiso Rabada, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Dwayne Bravo, Tim David, young Dewald Brevis, Dan Sams, Tim David.

The last two named represented Mumbai Indians intermittently, being dropped after a couple of initial failures. On their recall, they played with such aplomb that MI were left to regret keeping them out for several games. But they’ve found a couple of stars for the future.

Return of Indian Discards: While many India stars struggled, this turned out to be a memorable and rewarding tournament for quite a number of Indian `oldies’ who were otherwise very low in the scheme of things for the selectors. Veteran wicket-keeper-batsmen Dinesh Karthik and Wriddhiman Saha turned the spotlight on themselves with unanticipated batting success. Karthik was sensational as a finisher and instrumental in keeping RCB’s aspirations for a maiden title alive till the play-offs. His efforts won him a recall to the India T20 side. Saha, not first choice keeper-batsman for Gujarat, got a break when Mathew Wade got injured and made the opener’s place his own with a string of impressive knocks.

Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (highest wicket-taker) and Kuldeep Yadav, marginal selections to the Indian team in the last World Cup, put in strong performances to consolidate their positions in the India T20 team. The most impressive, of course, was Hardik Pandya. His participation in the previous T20 was shrouded in controversy. After a fabulous IPL season, His inclusion for the next World Cup has become a formality.

Looking Ahead, Uncapped Indian Players to Make a Mark:

Every season the IPL unfailingly throws up promising uncapped Indian cricketers who are fas-tracked into the national team. This year’s been no different, but with a twist in the tale. While some exciting young batsmen and bowlers have emerged, there’s not much to show in the spin department, traditionally India’s area of strength.

Among uncapped batsmen to catch the eye have been Rajat Patidar (RCB), Abhishek Sharma (SRH) Rahul Tripathi (SRH),Yashaswi Jaiswal (Rajasthan Royals) and Tilak Varma (Mumbai Indians), perhaps the most impressive of them all. The 25-year-old’s consistent and eye-catching batting was the saving grace for former champions Mumbai Indians who finished bottom of the table. Varma showed flair and big match temperament in scoring 397 runs for MI, mos. His captain, Rohit Sharma, had high praise for the youngster, marking him out as a prospective India player in all formats.

Where fast bowling is concerned, IPL15 has turned out to be a bumper season with at least half a dozen youngsters making a strong impact. Among them, Umran Malik (SRH) who cranked up 150-kmph speeds consistently and Arshdeep Singh (Punjab) who was arguably the best bowler in the `death’ overs’, have been rewarded with places in the India squad to play South Africa in the upcoming T20 series.

Apart from these two, other uncapped fast bowlers to impress were Kuldeep Sen (Rajasthan), Mukesh Chaudhury (CSK) and Mohsin Khan of LSG. The last-named earned rave plaudits from many former players, including former master opener Sunil Gavaskar, for his skills and superb control at the start of the innings and at the close.

In contrast, there has been an acute absence of impact-making young/uncapped spin bowlers this season. Not one new spinner has made the cut based on performances this season.  In fact, bowlers like Washington Sundar and Varun Chakravarthy have lost their places in the T20 squad. This reflects shows how wide and deep the pace revolution in Indian cricket has been.

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