The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 is making the right noises with plenty of last-over, last-ball finishes in the week gone by. It promises to be yet another exciting week in the cash-rich tournament as the teams continue to scrap for points. Let's dive right into the good stuff as we look at some of the major headlines from the tournament and beyond.
Indian punishment league?
From Injury Premier League to Indian Punishment League: Phew...it's been quite the week! We have seen as many as three captains being fined as their side maintained slow over-rates. Faf du Plessis, Hardik Pandya and Sanju Samson had to shell out INR 12 lakh for this offence and it will be stricter if they were to be found guilty of a similar offence. Clearly, fines and one fewer fielder outside the 30-yard circle do not seem to bother the teams. Stricter rules may need to come into place. Five penalty runs perhaps? Are you listening ICC?
Not to forget, Ravichandran Ashwin too was fined for his take on umpiring in the IPL. In a press conference, Ashwin said he was "flummoxed" with a few umpiring decisions in the tournament. If only he had realised that it wasn't a recording for his YouTube channel, he could have saved 25% of his match fee.
Non-striker end run out gone wrong
Harshal became the butt of many jokes as he failed in his attempt to run Ravi Bishnoi out at the non-striker's end. I mean, how do you miss that? There surely was a plan in place. All he had to do was run in, pretend to bowl and then knock the bails off before he got into his delivery stride. That would have seen IPL 2023's first-ever Super Over. Alas, it wasn't to be! Akshay Kumaraswamy, our in-house RCB fan, writes about the roller-coaster ride.
Rinku Bhaiya Zindabad!
There was no Daya(l) for Yash as Rinku ripped into the pacer, smashing five sixes off the final over of the match to take Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) home. KKR needed 39 runs from the last eight deliveries. Rinku first hit Josh Little for a six and a four and followed that up with an assault that nobody will ever forget. How much will that win mean in the larger scheme of things, i.e., a playoff spot? Here's Shweta Haranhalli on one of the best IPL innings.
How many last-over finishes have we had in the past week? Punjab pushed Gujarat to the brink despite putting up just 153. Sandeep Sharma held his nerve against MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja despite CSK needing seven off three. Thanks to Harshal's little goof-up, LSG got over the line by just a wicket, while Anrich Nortje almost defended five off the last over, with Tim David and Cameron Green at the crease. Speaking of Sandeep, here's Anirudh Suresh's take on the fast bowler, who from being unsold in the IPL, went on to bowl three continuous yorkers in the final over to seal a victory for RR.
What's happening in international cricket?
To break away from the IPL rut, there was finally some international cricket to watch as Pakistan took on New Zealand in the first T20I in Lahore. While it turned out to be a one-sided game, BlackCaps pacer Matt Henry stole the limelight to become the fourth from his country to complete a hat-trick. Henry removed Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed off the final two deliveries of the 13th over and picked up the wicket of Shaheen Afridi right away when he returned to bowl the penultimate over thanks to a superb effort on the boundaries. New Zealand were eventually bowled out for 94, chasing 183 thanks to Haris Rauf's 4 for 17.
Afghanistan to tour India?
Yes, you heard that right. According to reports, Afghanistan are set to tour India for a bilateral series for the first time in five years, after the World Test Championship (WTC) final. While India are scheduled to tour West Indies for an all-format tour, it will be interesting to see how India squeezes Afghanistan in. Maybe have two different teams? It's still in the works.
India Women to get coaches soon
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah took to Twitter to announce that there will be advertisements shortly inviting applicants for the head coach of the Indian Women's side and other posts. The Women in Blue have relied on Hrishikesh Kanitkar on an interim basis following the resignation of head coach Ramesh Powar. Who do you think should fill up the spots?
PAK to lose USD 3 Million?
Yes, it's yet another India-Pakistan tussle. PCB chairman Najam Sethi says that the board will lose USD 3 million if Pakistan loses their hosting rights for the Asia Cup. Given India's reluctance to tour Pakistan for the Asia Cup later this year, Sethi has suggested a hybrid model wherein India play their matches elsewhere, while Pakistan plays theirs on home soil. We all know how it's going to pan out, aren't we? UAE ARE YOU READY?
Anything wrong with the NCA?
Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer and now Deepak Chahar. What connects them? While the former two have already been ruled out of the IPL, Chahar could very well be the latest to join them after he pulled his hamstring against Mumbai Indians. Many including former head coach Ravi Shastri and former India batter Mohammad Kaif have pointed fingers at the NCA for giving them a green signal to play competitive matches. The result: they get back into rehab once again.
McCullum in trouble?
ECB are believed to be investigating their head coach Brendon McCullum after his involvement with bookmaker 22Bet India. According to the guidelines in ECB's anti-corruption, those employed under them are not allowed to "directly or indirectly entice, persuade, encourage or facilitate any other party to enter into a bet in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any match or competition".
Articles in focus
If you are into IPL nostalgia, then this piece is for you. Former Rajasthan Royals all-rounder, Abhishek Raut speaks of his time with the team in South Africa, where he first laid eyes on Shane Warne. Raut, a leg-spinner himself, recounts his time with the Australian legend, their interactions and much more. Oh, in case you didn't know Raut is still very much an active cricketer, currently playing for Odisha. How else will Bastab know him, right?
Is Ben Stokes becoming more of a liability to the Chennai Super Kings? Does it do them more harm than good? Here's Aakash Sivasubramaniam decoding what CSK miss about Stokes' absence. Spoiler Alert: Absolutely nothing!
Aakash is our in-house Harry Brook fan. Why else would he write two articles on him in a span of six months? In his most recent piece, Aakash talks about how the 24-year-old has cracked the IPL code as well, bringing up his maiden ton after being written off following a string of low scores leading up to it. Would you like to know what he did to deserve another piece six months ago? Here it is.
Following his impressive performance against Delhi Capitals, Shubh Aggarwal writes about the wily leg-spinner Piyush Pramod Chawla. At 34, Chawla is still a master of his art and he reminded everyone what he could do, especially with his googlies by hitting the right spot on a sticky Delhi wicket.
What makes Mumbai Indians a successful side? This article could be a little confusing if you have been following just the last two seasons. However, Suryanarayanan S, from our data science team, digs up interesting numbers that have stood out over the years, which has turned them into the most successful team in IPL history.
Akshay Kumaraswamy is at it again as he writes about the evergreen Mohit Sharma, who turned out to be the difference against Punjab Kings on his Gujarat Titans debut. Injuries have hampered the former purple cap winner, but having spent last season with GT as a net bowler has undoubtedly done the 34-year-old a world of good. Here's more on the Haryana pacer.
What makes Rashid Khan a T20 GOAT? Watch this as we deep dive into his incredible career so far.