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IPL 2023 Trends: Old is Gold, faltering home sides and last ball finishes

article_imageTRENDS ANALYSIS
Last updated on 17 Apr 2023 | 12:35 PM
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IPL 2023 Trends: Old is Gold, faltering home sides and last ball finishes

In this space, we analyze various trends from third week of the ongoing IPL season

Last ball finishes

T20 cricket is synonymous with exciting cricket. The previous week of the season saw only two last over finishes and seven one-sided games. The fans had a very valid complaint regarding the quality of the matches. However, things took a turn for good to kickstart the season. 

It began with one of the best games of the season where Lucknow somehow clinched a last-ball thriller in Bangalore. It had everything. The ebbs and flows, sensational batting, huge partnerships, an unbelievable comeback followed by a memorable finish, a missed run-out attempt off the last ball at the non-striker’s end and an over-the-top celebration (from Avesh Khan). 

That game was succeeded by two more last over finishes where Mumbai and Rajasthan edged past Delhi and Chennai respectively. In the following game, Gujarat won on the penultimate ball in another last over finish. 

And to cap off the week on a perfect note, Rajasthan razed off 113 runs in the last eight overs of another amazing finish. It is one of the most enjoyable trends and hopefully, will continue on a merry note. 

Oldies are Goldies

Some old players rising from the ashes was one of the most common themes across the nine games played in the third week of IPL 2023. A few of them gave hints of their resurgence in the previous week itself. 

Amit Mishra was the first to set the ball rolling, picking 2/23 on a helpful pitch in Lucknow. He followed a rather flatter trajectory in the first three overs but rewound the clock flighting the ball in his last over, which was also the 19th over of the innings. He snaffled two wickets, adding to his tally of 166 wickets after two years. On Monday (April 10th), he had Virat Kohli in his pocket in the only wicket a Lucknow bowler managed against Bangalore. Mishra was dropped for Lucknow’s subsequent games but showed he is a force to reckon with whenever his team will need him. Not to forget, the brilliant catch he took in Lucknow’s win over Hyderabad. 

Only the next day, Ajinkya Rahane surprised everyone with a blitzkrieg - 61 runs from 27 balls. Rahane had averaged 15.9 across the last three seasons at a strike-rate of 104.5. He has lost his place in India’s red-ball setup and long lost it in white-ball. It was obvious to think that his best years are behind him. However, making his CSK debut at his home venue - the Wankhede Stadium - he blazed the youngster Arshad Khan for 23 runs in the over. Such was his brilliance, Ruturaj Gaikwad, his batting partner at the other end and someone who was only 15 years old when Rahane made his India debut, couldn’t stop himself from applauding Rahane. 

If you think it was a one-off, Rahane also scored a handy 31 off 19 balls on a slower surface in Chepauk. His six off Ravichandran Ashwin took everyone’s breath away. 

Adding to the list, Sandeep Sharma went unsold in the 2023 auction. He picked only two wickets in five matches last year. Picked up by Rajasthan Royals as an injury replacement, Sandeep has doubled his tally already, with four scalps in three games. More than anything, it is his ability to absorb pressure in the death overs that stands out. You don’t need to go further back than Rajasthan’s win in Chepauk. After conceding two sixes on the first three balls of a tensed last over, Sandeep came back to deliver three impeccable deliveries in the end. Rajasthan won by 3 runs against a raging pair of MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. 

And what about Piyush Chawla? Bowling is Mumbai’s weaker suit but no one would have guessed that the 34-year old will be their best bowler at this point. Chawla has the most wickets for an MI bowler - five - while maintaining an economy of only 6.3. Be it the helpful surface of Delhi or the flat pitches in Wankhede, Chawla has clicked in all games for Mumbai. Like Mishra, Chawla also did not feature in the 2022 season. 

In a similar vein, Mohit Sharma was the net bowler for Gujarat last year. Graduating to become a team member, Mohit began his Gujarat Titans’ career with a player-of-the-match performance against Punjab Kings. He snaffled 2/18 in his four overs to cease Punjab’s progress in the middle-overs. 

ALSO READ: 34 years young, Piyush Chawla rips the magic of his googlies again

In some honourable mentions, we have Manish Pandey rising through the ranks again in a faltering Delhi batting line-up. Not to forget, Punjab’s Harpreet Bhatia. He last featured in IPL in 2012, for the now-defunct Pune Warriors. After a gap of 11 years, he added to his IPL caps, debuting for Punjab Kings, against Lucknow. It has truly been a week of inspiring comebacks. 

Faltering home sides

In an inexplicable trend, it was not the week for the home sides. Across the nine matches played in the week, only twice the home team emerged victorious - Bangalore against Delhi on Saturday afternoon and Mumbai against Kolkata in the first of the two games on Sunday. 

Bangalore were the only side that played two home games. Considering their defeat on Monday (April 10th), Mumbai were the sole side that won their first home game of the week. Meanwhile, Rajasthan were the only team that didn’t have any home games scheduled. What a week to not host a cricket match. When things are going right for you, everything simply falls into place. 

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