After two months of gripping cricket, filled with twists in the tale till the very last ball, the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League came to a close on Tuesday. Chennai Super Kings became the joint-most successful franchise, alongside Mumbai Indians, when it bagged its fifth title.
At the end of the day, there can only be one winner. But in such a competitive tournament, there was many a compelling performance by players from each dugout
Chennai Super Kings
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway, the top-two run-scorers for CSK, regularly gave their side tremendous starts. Previously, the right-hand-left-hand combination had worked wonders for CSK, and this season was no exception.
In the middle order, Shivam Dube flaunted his six-hitting prowess. The southpaw’s explosive batting and ability to counter spin, lent an edge to CSK’s innings on multiple occasions.
Matheesha Pathirana has undoubtedly been the find of the season for CSK. The young Lankan pacer, likened to the legendary Lasith Malinga, proved his mettle, especially during death overs.
The stream of laurels never ceased for Shubman Gill in IPL 2023. The young batter, touted to be the next big thing in Indian cricket, toyed with the bowlers and racked up runs in another memorable campaign for Titans.
An experienced campaigner, Mohammed Shami proved that he was a valuable asset in T20s. He was a force to reckon with, especially in the PowerPlay where he picked up most of his wickets.
A net bowler in the preceding season, Mohit Sharma re-invented himself as an extremely dependable death bowler for GT. A true impact player, the skills he brought made the team’s bowling unit potent.
Despite a shaky start to the season, Suryakumar Yadav demonstrated why he is among the best in the business. The sensational batter carried his side with quickfire knocks, including a century against Titans.
Cameron Green made a great impact for MI. With his flexibility to bat anywhere in the order and ability to bowl a few handy overs, he did not succumb to the pressure of his price tag.
Piyush Chawla emerged as the highest wicket-taker for his side. He was the only dependable bowler for MI and his experience played a huge part in the team’s qualification to the playoffs.
Lucknow Super Giants
After a couple of seasons where he failed to make his mark, Nicholas Pooran was at his flamboyant best this time around. He played numerous crucial knocks for LSG and was the differentiating factor for his side in a few games.
Ravi Bishnoi turned out to be the most effective bowler for LSG. The leg-spinner made important breakthroughs in the middle overs and helped slow down the momentum of the opposition.
A solid batter in the middle order, Marcus Stoinis’ contributions to LSG cannot be overstated. His runs also came at a quick rate, meaning they were often key to the side’s victory. He was also useful with the ball.
Yashasvi Jaiswal followed up a fantastic domestic season with an even better streak for RR. With the fastest-ever IPL fifty in just 13 balls and a hundred to boot, the prodigious batter was deservedly the ‘Emerging Player of the Season’.
The highest wicket-taker in the league, Yuzvendra Chahal once again spun a web around batters. The leg-spinner continued where he left off last season and was as wily as ever.
R. Ashwin, the other half of RR’s spin duo, was more parsimonious, though he did not pick many wickets. A thinking bowler and a left-hander’s nemesis, he was pivotal in his side’s campaign.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The opening partnership between Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli was one of the highlights of this season. The duo established a commendable rapport with each other, expertly rotating strike and helped the side post competitive totals.
Glenn Maxwell completed the trio of the prolific batters. The Australian maverick’s improvised shot-making and and his ability to stitch rapid partnerships were critical factors that stood RCB in good stead.
Mohammed Siraj finally came into his own and was the leader of the pack. The dexterity with which he swung the ball in the first six overs was an ever-present threat for the rival batters.
Kolkata Knight Riders
A finisher par excellence, Rinku Singh’s incredible batting made improbable-looking chases possible. His extraordinary onslaught took the team over the line from difficult situations.
Varun Chakravarthy was back to being a mystery spinner and was nearly unplayable for much of the season. Adaptability was his strength as his skipper could call upon him at any point of the match.
Although he played only in the second half of the season, Jason Roy made his presence felt. He was the first opener to score a half-century and to be involved in the first 50-plus stand for the opening wicket for KKR.
An IPL veteran, Shikar Dhawan continued to be a reliable batter at the top of the order. During his knock of 99 n.o., he batted with the No. 11 and added 55 runs to his team’s tally.
After being sidelined for a few editions, Prabhsimran Singh was given a full run this year. He capably assisted his captain while opening the batting and even scored a ton in a winning cause.
Arshdeep Singh, known for his yorkers at the death, was once again in the forefront for PBKS as the highest wicket-taker. The left-arm seamer’s four-for against MI was quite memorable.
Arguably one of the greatest batters the league has ever seen, David Warner crossed the 500-run mark for the seventh time this season. His dominance at the top was the only positive for DC on the batting front.
Axar Patel, with his all-round show, was one of the side’s most treasured players. The fact that he ranks second in both the run-scoring and the wicket-taking charts, underlines his utility.
Ishant Sharma, considered a Test specialist, polished his T20 skills and made quite an impact for DC. He was able to both contain and strike during the PowerPlay as well as at the death.
Heinrich Klaasen was the silver lining in SRH’s campaign. The aggressive batter repeatedly cleared the ropes and was usually the prized scalp for the opponents.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, regarded as one of the best seamers in the tournament, delivered this time too. His five-for against Titans was his best performance of the edition.
Mayank Markande put up a rejuvenated display for SRH. He was the side’s main spinner, in the absence of Washington Sundar, and was able to return creditable figures on a couple of occasions.
Every squad in this IPL had the potential to go the distance, but the one with the most consistent showing tasted victory.
Teams have almost a year to regroup and revisit their strategy and come out stronger. Until then, it’s Dhoni’s men who will bask in the glory.