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Rahane is producing the most WTF season of all time, and it’s glorious

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Last updated on 23 Apr 2023 | 09:56 PM
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Rahane is producing the most WTF season of all time, and it’s glorious

You really have to pinch yourself at this point. It seems like a dream, except it isn’t

You might be an alpha. But know this: you will never be as alpha as Ajinkya Rahane.

The bloke has already made an absolute fool out of every single individual through his showing with the bat, but after playing one of the knocks of the year, this is what he had to say 👇

 “I still feel my best is yet to come.”

Stop it, Jinx. We’re already dead. (Reason for death: having consumed way too much humble pie). Below is the apology form all of us need to mandatorily fill btw.


Usually, you’d look at quotes like the one above as potential ‘meme material’, but considering how Rahane’s been batting this season so far, it honestly feels like he might be foretelling rather than fudging around. 

The whole, ‘Hah. Looks like CSK have unlocked Rahane LOL’ started off as a joke in the aftermath of his onslaught against Mumbai, but now, halfway into the season, the joke’s on us. 

Rahane is striking the ball as sweetly, cleanly and crisply as any batter in the history of this sport has, and no one can possibly deny the fact that he’s so far been the most watchable batter of IPL 2023, if not the best.

It is a turnaround that is simply hard to process.

Prior to this ongoing season, Rahane had played 227 T20 matches and had a career strike rate of 119.5. 

His IPL performances over the past three seasons — 254 runs @ 15.88 and 104.5 — tended to suggest that he was a veteran that was past it, in T20s at least, and his showing in the 2023 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy kinda reiterated the same: in eight matches, he managed just 112 runs at an average of 16 and strike rate of 112 and he did not post a single fifty despite exclusively batting in the top three.

Him going from THIS to being the most explosive batsman in the IPL is arguably the single biggest WTF transformation in the history of this competition.

How? JUST HOW?

Maybe it’s the CSK/Dhoni juju. Maybe it’s simply beyond science. 

But here’s a pro tip: do yourself a favor and quit trying to make sense of what’s happening. We have no idea how long this version of Rahane will last, so embrace it, enjoy it and drink it all in while the madness lasts.

Watching this version of Rahane bat is………something else.

Rahane in T20s was always a batter that provided viewers with the odd eyegasm, but he seldom got people off their seats. When Rahane batted, you often found yourself yelling stuff like ‘shottttt yaaaar’ and ‘lovely, Jinx’ but that’s about that. He never made you lose your shiz. He never made you scream in disbelief.

It’s been a completely different story this season.

Five innings, 105 balls faced, and Rahane has made every single person go 😵😵😵 at least 50 times.

Against Mumbai, it was the 23-run over against young Arshad Khan. Against Rajasthan, it was the utterly ridiculous inside-out maximum off Ashwin.  Against Bangalore, it was the monster six off Vyshak that hit the roof.

On Sunday against Kolkata, it was, well, the entire innings.

You really had to see it to believe it. Rahane finished with 71* off 29 balls but we can probably add 20 more runs to his tally because, hey, extra marks for good handwriting.

Most T20 knocks (the strokes, not the actual contribution) are forgettable due to how hackneyed and banal they are — the same old slogs, hoicks and whatnot — but on Sunday, Rahane played a knock that you’d love to remember.

Some of the stroke-making was outrightly nuts.

After a relatively ‘slow’ start (19 off 14 balls), a pick-up six off Umesh Yadav got Rahane going on the night. But no one, absolutely no one, was prepared for what was to follow.

After the pick-up came a cheeky scoop (which, again, went for six), which was followed by a crunchy, crispy, tasty cover drive.

It was only the trailer, though, as three singles later, Rahane absolutely LEANED INTO a short one from Russell to hit a monster 86-meter six. The hit was SO, SO SWEET that it triggered a sensory overload. The human body is capable of handling eyegasms and eargasms separately, but both at the same time? Come on now, Jinx. Have some mercy.

Rahane went 6, 6 and 4 against Chakaravarthy in the penultimate over to finish his innings (he did not take strike in the 20th) but he’d already made the entire world collectively lose its mind well before that, through what he did on the final ball of the 17th over.

So 17.6 was a wide full toss from left-armer Kulwant Khejroliya. The Rahane of old would have given himself room and looked to carve it through the off-side, but you know what this version did?

Ahem (this is not a drill), he shuffled, waited for the ball to come to him and delicately and exquisitely REVERSE-LAPPED THE BALL OVER SHORT THIRD-MAN.

 

You really had to pinch yourself at this point. It seemed like a fever dream, except it wasn’t.

***

Five innings into IPL 2023, Rahane pretty much tops every ‘strike rate’ and ‘boundary frequency' list.  What he’s managed to do against pace needs to be highlighted separately though, for it simply doesn’t make sense. At all.

So far this season, Rahane has faced 48 balls against pace. In that, he’s scored 122 runs (!!) at a strike rate of 254.2 while being dismissed zero times.

Forget this season. In IPL’s 15-year history, no batter has ever scored THIS QUICKLY against pace. We’re witnessing something unprecedented.

In Rahane’s own words, the best is yet to come, apparently.

Write it off as a joke at your own peril. At this rate, he might just end up surpassing Chris Gayle’s 175*. 

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