In the last league game, against the Chennai Super Kings, Chahal picked two wickets and reached the tally of 26 wickets, taking the Purple Cap back from Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Wanindu Hasaranga who has taken 24 wickets in 14 games.
With this, Chahal also equalled Imran Tahir’s tally of 26 wickets from the 2019 season – which is the most for a spinner in a single IPL season ever. Tahir won the Purple Cap that year; in fact, there have only been two instances when a spinner has won the Purple Cap: Pragyan Ojha with 21 wickets in 2010 and Tahir with 26 in 2019.
Now, Chahal has a good chance to finish with the Purple Cap this year because the Rajasthan Royals have qualified for the playoffs: after Chahal (26 wickets) and Hasaranga (24), the third leading wicket-taker this season is Kagiso Rabada(22), whose Punjab Kings team is eliminated from the playoff race, followed by Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Umran Malik(21) whose side has also failed to qualify for the playoffs.
If RR finishes in the top two, then Chahal will get at least two chances to not only go past Tahir’s 26 wickets – but the wily leg-spinner will also then eye Dwayne Bravo and Harshal Patel’s record of 32 wickets in a single season.
Speaking about his game vs CSK, Chahal dismissed senior batters Ambati Rayudu and CSK captain MS Dhoni for his brace. On the surface assisting the spinners, Chahal flighted one and got it to turn inviting Rayudu for a drive – the batsman obliged and succumbed to it, edging to first slip, where Devdutt Padikkal took the catch easily.
Dhoni had already struck Yuzvendra Chahal for a boundary, a poor half-tracker met with a disdainful pull. Given the 19th over then, when Dhoni excels better than most in the world, Chahal took upon the contest head-on.
On the last ball of his over, Chahal tossed up again away from Dhoni’s hitting arc. The CSK captain swung across the line but got it off only from the toe end of the bat. The ball went high up in the air but didn’t have the distance to clear Buttler at long-on. Chahal ended the game with figures of 2/26 of his 4 overs.