Opinion

#TATAIPL2022Looking Back : A Worthy Winner ; Case Of Baffling Selections, Auction Blunders Cost Other Teams Heavily

Picture : Twitter/ ANI

In the end it was fitting that Gujarat Titans clinched their first ever IPL trophy in their debut season at the Tata IPL 2022 at the Narendra Modi stadium , Ahmedabad as they beat the Rajasthan Royals By seven wickets dashing their hopes to give their first Royal the late Aussie legend Shane Warne a perfect tribute with their first title since 2008.

When the BCCI had announced that Tata IPL 2022 would be 10 team affair with two new teams Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans joining the likes of – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore , Delhi Capitals one was wary how it would go . But once it began all doubters vanished .

Maharashtra as a venue hosing 70 league games pulled off a superb show . The four venues – DY Patil Stadium, Brabourne , Wankhede and one at MCA Pune stood out . The ground staff and curators deserve a pat on the back to prepare great wickets and the crowds back at the venues post pandemic could not have asked for more. It was terrific.

Here one looks at the teams how they fared in the Tata IPL 2022

Winners : Gujarat Titans : Doubts over his fitness and form and frequent questions when will Hardik Pandya bowl became a national obsession. And when Hardik Pandya was named skipper of the new franchise Gujarat Titans, it took all by surprise . Will he lead well given his own form ? . Well, Hardik not only led by example and powered his team to their first title in their maiden season. Given responsibility he played with lost of composure and batted as the situation of the match demanded . And yes even rolled his arm over to take vitals wickets like his three strikes in the final. Overall with the astute Gary Kirsten and wily Ashish Nehra as bowling coach GT managed to filed a very balanced playing eleven . They had all areas covered – Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia, Lockie Ferguson, vice- captain Rashid Khan , David Miller played pivotal roles in the triumph . The GT did not fiddle much with the playing eleven and stuck to the combinations they believed in and it paid dividends. Hardik Pandya’s return to from with both and ball augur well for India ahead and his captaincy winning kudos means potential India skipper is here waiting .

Runners- Up : Rajasthan Royals : It was so near yet so far for the team which was keen to give their first Royal the late Shane Warne a perfect tribute by winning their first title since 2008 . Jos Buttler led the Royals with the bat with stupendous 800 plus runs. His four hundreds were simply astonishing. Pity he did not finish on the winning side . Skipper Sanju Samson led well but Samson was guilty of not going further when he was needed most to count. His dismissal in the final is the case in point. How often he ends up ending his innings with a reckless shot . Buttler carried the Royals hopes right through and barring him Shimron Odilon Hetmyer was find for the Royals with is timely cameos. The rest did not fire as much . Riyan Parag could not keep the consistency. Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna , Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Obed McCoy impressed and the Royals attack was much better this time after a long long time . There was quality in it. Kumar Sangakkra would look to add some fire power in the batting line-up next season to cross the line next year. Overall they played well.

Lucknow Super Giants  : In their debut season the KL Rahul led side played good all- round cricket to reach the eliminator where they lost to the  Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mentored By former Two- Time IPL winning skipper Of KKR,  Gautam Gambhir , the team played its brand of fearless cricket. Rahul batted well at the top of the order with Quinton de Kock . the likes of Deepak Hooda, new find Ayush Badoni impressed . The bowlers too stood up – Avesh Khan,  Mohsin Khan, Dushmantha Chameera,  Ravi Bishnoi, made their presence felt . The team will be force next season for sure . For debut this was good beginning .

Royal Challengers Bangalore : The hunt for the elusive IPL crown continues for the franchise . Despite the change in leadership from Virat Kohli to Faf du Plessis  the RCB still was found wanting. Virat Kohli’s form was big worry right through. It was nightmare from Virat’s point of view with only two fifties against his name. Skipper faf du Plessis was left to do a lot . Glenn Maxwell was inconsistent . The biggest star of RCB this time and excelling as finisher this time was Dinesh Karthik. DK was brilliant this  season and such was his form that he rightly earned a national team re- call. Wanindu Hasaranga in spin and Josh Hazelwood  with his  pace lent lent quality to the bowling unit. Mohammed Siraj struggled to take wickets. RCB were inconsistent in the season and it hurt them .

Kolkata Knight Riders : If there was team which fiddled with the paying eleven the most it was the KKR. No player it seems right through barring Andre Russell , Sunil Narine,  Skipper Shreyas Iyer  were sure of the places .  It was suicidal . Ajinkya Rahane played in some matches and was soon benched  after poor scores then brought back suddenly. Sam Billings was wicket-keeper to bench next replaced by Sheldon Jackson.  Australia’s T20 World Cup ( 2021)  winning skipper Aaron Finch was not sure of his place. So too was Australia Test skipper who after one blazing match winning effort found his place in the bench . Shreyas Iyer was insipid  as skipper   and strategy of head coach Brendon McCullum ( now appointed England Head Coach Test) left experts baffled . Umesh Yadav bowled with purpose, Pat Cummins in one or two game game produced good spells. Tim South was in and out but played his part . Nitish Rana, Andre Russell played some important knocks to keep them alive. overall KKR disappointed with their showing.

 

Punjab Kings : Much like KKR , Punjab Kings too suffered due to lack of inspiring leadership from Mayank Agarwal. Agarwal named skipper ahead of experienced Shikhar Dhawan surprised many. And making the matters worse was Mayank’s own form with the bat. He pushed himself down the order so late in the tournament the damage was done. Jonny Bairstow was promoted to open very late. Liam Livingstone played some blistering knocks to help Punjab win some matches. Kagiso Rabada , Arshdeep Singh impressed with  the ball. Anil Kumble will have lot to think about the playing eleven .

 

Sunrisers Hyderabad :  The Kane Williamson led side promised much after  poor start winning couple of matches on the trot only to lose momentum later on to crash out . Kane himself was shadow of his self as he struggled hard for runs. Thanks to Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Kyle Markram , SRH won some matches. Jaosn Holder too was not at his best. The star for SRH this season was fast bowler who impressed all with his fiery pace and became crowd puller Umran Malik. Malik’s performance was the only highlight of the SRH showing this season.

 

Delhi Capitals : Rishabh Pant may India’s first choice wicket-keeper in all formats but  he has miles to go as skipper. In this season Pant failed to fire consistently and it hurt DC big time. The big swashbuckling innings he was known for never came. His captaincy was not up to the mark. Thanks to David Warner, Mitchell Marsh ( towards the end) , Rovman Powell,  Axar Patel , DC could win some matches. Anrich Arno Nortje  was in  and out of the playing eleven. Shardul Thakur struggled to get wickets. Prithvi Show was not consistent enough at the top. Head coach Ricky Ponting will have to take tough call next season .

Chennai Super Kings : The defending Champions had a forgettable tournament . And the replacement of Ravindra Jadeja by Mahendra Singh Dhoni as skipper after the team lost some early matches unsettled the team . Jadeja was captain sans powers on the field as various images showed MSD calling the shots in field placing and in strategic time- outs  head coach Stephen Fleming conversing with MSD . It put a question mark on Jadeja’s role as skipper. No wonder a peeved Jadeja quit captaincy and even missed some matches towards the end giving enough hints of a possible rift with the team. Whom Ravindra Jadeja plays in 2023 remains to be seen. MSD however has made it clear he would be around in 2023 in the IPL .

Mumbai Indians : Five time Champions and led for the first time by national team skipper in all formats Rohit Sharma it was a horrible tournament, Finishing 10th is the last things one likes to see on the points table. Mumbai made blunders of epic proportions in the auction . It let go likes of Trent Boult, Quinton de Kock, Pandya brother – Hardik , Krunal, Rahul Chahar and with no sense bought English Jofra Archer for Rs 8 crore ( he did not play as he was injured) and son of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar Arjun for Rs 20 lakhs.

Adding to woes was poor form of skipper Rohit Sharama, Jasprit Bumrah ( five wickets in match when all was over ) hurt them big. Kieron Pollard has clearly passed his prime. He looked out of touch and rusty this time. The big- hitting rescue act is only memory now. Ishan Kishan with Rs 15. 25 cr price  tag did not light up the IPL as desired. Tim David found a place in the eleven very late. Dewald Brevis named baby ABD gave hints of his talent in some matches. Mumbai Indians moreover never really gelled as a team this season and the results were there to see.

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