Pandya’s rise, CSK & MI’s woes: The best and worst of IPL 2022

Like every year, IPL 15 too had its shares of memorable performances, forgettable ones, hits, flops, heartbreaks, controversies, and more

Gujarat Titans' players celebrate after winning IPL 2022. Photo: BCCI/IPL

The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2022) ended last night (May 29) with debutant Gujarat Titans (GT) winning the title at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

This year’s expanded league lived up to the expectations as 74 matches delivered high-quality action for more than two months.

Also read: IPL’s longest six hitters

Like every year, IPL 15 too had its shares of memorable performances, forgettable ones, hits, flops, heartbreaks, controversies, and more.

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The Federal presents some of the best and worst of IPL 2022.

The best…

1. Winning the trophy

There is no better feeling than holding the IPL trophy. And it is even more special if you have achieved the feat in front of more than 1 lakh spectators. Months of planning, preparation, hard work and the difficulties of staying in a bio-bubble all came to fruition on May 29 for the Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat while it was heartbreak for the other finalist Rajasthan Royals. Gujarat won the final by seven wickets, chasing down 131 in 18.1 overs. Opener Shubman Gill sealed the title with a six off Obed McCoy.

2. Umran Malik’s rise

IPL is a platform for Indian youngsters to showcase their talent. It was again evident as the tournament unearthed a fast bowler – Umran Malik of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). He made headlines with his pace and won the Emerging Player award. In all 14 games that he played, he won the award for bowling the fastest delivery of the match. He bagged 22 wickets but his team failed to progress to the playoffs. He held the record for bowling the fastest ball (157 kmph) of IPL 2022 until it was broken by Gujarat Titans’ Lockie Ferguson (157.3 kmph) in the final. The 22-year-old from Jammu, riding on IPL performances, earned a maiden call-up to the Indian T20I team for the home series against South Africa.

Also read: List of fastest IPL deliveries

3. ‘Jos, the boss’

Rajasthan Royals opener Jos Buttler ruled IPL 15 with his dominant batting. The Englishman struck a record four hundreds this season and accumulated 863 runs, the second-most in a season in IPL history after Virat Kohli’s 973 in 2016. The right-hander had an impressive strike rate of 149.05 and deservedly won the Orange Cap. One of the reasons for Rajasthan reaching the final was Buttler.

Hardik celebrates Gujarat’s entry into final after defeating Rajasthan in Qualifier 1. Photo: BCCI/IPL

4. Hardik Pandya, the leader

The emergence of Pandya as a leader is one of the best moments of IPL 2022. Having been a key member of the Mumbai Indians franchise, Pandya was released ahead of this season and was signed up by Gujarat to lead the franchise. He delivered a blockbuster performance in his maiden IPL season as a captain, batter, and bowler. While there are players who feel the burden of responsibility, Pandya took captaincy like a duck to water and has delivered the title to the Gujarat franchise. This augurs well for Indian cricket.

Also read: Tactical flaws, tepid Kohli: Reasons why RCB floundered yet again

5. MS Dhoni’s future

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fans wanted an answer to the big question – “Will MS Dhoni play in 2023?” The confirmation came from the man himself as while playing the last game of the season, said he will return next season. The reason mentioned by Dhoni for continuing is that he wants to thank the fans in Chennai by playing at the franchise’s home – M A Chidambaram Stadium, and also fans in other cities who have showered him with unconditional love during this career. Though the team did not do well in IPL 2022, Dhoni returning next season was one of the best news for CSK’s team management and the fans.

And the worst…

1. No-ball controversy

It was almost a controversy-free IPL this year barring for one moment of madness from the Delhi Capitals against Rajasthan Royals at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on April 22. Delhi captain Rishabh Pant was livid with the on-field umpires for not calling a no-ball in a crucial final-over run chase. This led to Pant calling back his batsmen and sending assistant coach Pravin Amre onto the field to argue with the umpires. The match continued, the tense situation was defused and Delhi lost. Amre was fined 100% of his match fee and suspended for one match while Pant and fast bowler Shardul Thakur were fined 100% and 50% of their match fees respectively. This had to be the worst moment in IPL 2022.

Rishabh Pant. Pic: Twitter

2. Last-place finishes

Mumbai Indians (MI) is the most successful team in the history of IPL with five trophies. But when a champion side like this falters, its players are hurt and want to come back stronger next season. Mumbai’s supporters endured a forgettable season as the Rohit Sharma-led franchise finished last in the 10-team table with just four wins and 10 losses. The second-most successful IPL franchise – Chennai Super Kings (CSK), coming into the season with four titles and needing to defend the crown, too was disappointing. CSK too lost 10 games of the 14 and was placed ninth.

Also read: Virat disappointed himself and his legion of fans, says Sehwag

3. Out-of-form Virat Kohli

One of the reasons for Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) massive fan following is Virat Kohli. Be it international matches or IPL, Kohli the batsman has always flourished, winning supporters not just in India but around the world. It was expected that Kohli would rule IPL 2022 without the burden of captaincy but what we saw was a huge disappointment. It was a season to forget as Kohli collected three golden ducks including two successive ones. This had never happened to him in IPL history. Though he scored 341 runs in 16 matches, he was far from his best, as his 115.98 strike rate suggests.

4. Ravindra Jadeja’s exit and Ambati Rayudu’s ‘retirement 

A few days before the start of IPL 2022, CSK announced that Dhoni has handed over the captaincy to Ravindra Jadeja. However, after a poor start and eight games into the tournament, Jadeja handed the reins back to Dhoni. Later, Jadeja was completely ruled out of the tournament with an injury. However, there were speculations on social media that the all-rounder was “dumped” and may not play next season. One more issue which cropped up in the CSK camp was Ambati Rayudu announcing his retirement on Twitter and later deleting the post. The franchise said he has not retired but the player remained silent on why he decided to retire and unretire.

Also read: Launching soon, a cricket bat tailored for greenhorns and budding players

5. Below-par umpiring

Throughout the IPL, the quality of cricket was at its best. However, the same cannot be said of umpiring. While players who were at the receiving end of wrong decisions survived with the help of DRS (Decision Review System), there were other calls involving wides and no balls where the umpires erred. Former India batsman Kris Srikkanth and others had slammed the umpiring. “What is happening with the umpiring @IPL, it’s quite pathetic and small bad decisions lead to big outcomes! Wake up and put some people who actually can be a ref! (sic)” Srikkanth had tweeted.

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