The IPL this year has thrown plenty of surprises with regard to some players re-inventing themselves and others emerging out of nowhere to prove their mettle. Here are 5 of the biggest surprises this IPL:
1. Emergence of Rahul Tripathi
Of all the players to shine for RPS, nobody expected Rahul Tripathi to be one of the front-runners for the best batsmen in the league. The batsman was not even in the first predicted XI with Mayank Agarwal expected to have been the one opening for the team. However, Tripathi was drafted in after Agarwal’s bad run of form.
Tripathi has hit an impressive 353 runs in the tournament and has made everyone sit up and take notice of his stroke play and ability. He certainly has been big surprise from this IPL.
2. 18-year old wrecker-in-chief Rashid Khan
Teenagers from Afghanistan aren’t expected to be playing cricket at a high level. Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi are two exceptions. Khan in particular has bowled both economically and effectively, picking up crucial wickets for the SRH.
For an 18 year old, he shows tremendous temperament and has been inspirational at times for the SRH. Batsmen have been left bamboozled by his spin and he has certainly lit up this IPL for sure.
3. Ben Stokes’ gratification
When a whopping 14.50 crores was spent on England all-rounder Ben Stokes, everybody thought it was a little overpriced. Considering that he had crumbled under pressure in last year’s World T20 Final, giving away four sixes in the final over to lose the game against West Indies, Stokes certainly was in the eye of the storm.
However, this IPL he has proven his doubters wrong and has performed superbly with the bat and ball, picking up three Man of the match awards. He has 10 wickets and 285 runs, not bad for someone who was “overpriced.”
4. Two hat-tricks on the same day
There have been hat-tricks in the IPL before, but not on the same day. This happened on the double header when Gujarat Lions bowler Andrew Tye picked up a hat-trick in the first match of the day on his debut versus the Kings XI Punjab.
In the second match that followed, Samuel Badree repeated the feat for the Royal Challengers Bangalore against the Mumbai Indians, picking up a hat-trick. This is the first time in IPL history that two hat-tricks occurred on the same day, sending fans ballistic on social media.
5. Sunil Narine’s renaissance
When Sunil Narine was banned from the ICC for a suspect bowling action, everybody in the cricketing fraternity thought it was the end of his career. He worked on his action and made a re-entry into the West Indies team. However, KKR stood by him and decided to give him a chance with the bat. What transpired was one of the most special performances in the history of IPL.
Narine opened the batting for KKR as an experiment and it has proved to be extremely successful. He unleashed his array of attacking shots and went on to help KKR put big totals on the board in the first six to ten overs. He also scored the fastest fifty in IPL history in 15 balls, putting all doubters to shame.