Over one-third of the league phase of the IPL 2023 has been done and dusted with the tournament providing great entertainment in terms of close matches and individual brilliance.
Some of the terrific, even jaw-dropping individual excellence has come from unexpected quarters. There have been a few players who were thought to be outdated and past their best have surprisingly put on match-winning performances.
Here are the 3 surprise packages of IPL 2023:
Perhaps nobody has stunned and surprised the fans as Ajinkya Rahane in Indian Premier League 2023. Rahane, who played in 9 matches across the last two seasons with below-average returns, and who had been dropped from the Indian team last year, has recreated a new avatar of his batting and unleashed an ultra-aggressive hitter at number 3 for CSK.
He didn’t start the tournament, but when he got the chance after injuries to Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, Rahane played a blitz of a knock of a knock, smashing 61 runs off 27 balls vs Mumbai Indians. He continued on that form and cracked 31 (19) vs RR and 37 (20) vs RCB. He has been ultra-aggressive in the powerplay, his runs in the first six overs have come at a strike rate of 222!
Piyush Chawla has turned the clock back in the IPL 2023 and has surprised everyone. Mumbai’s spin attack ahead of the start of the tournament had looked less potent, but Chawla has led it with great charisma, showing his class and experience and making impact in the middle-overs.
The leg-spinner had gone unsold in the IPL 2022 auction, but MI bought him for 50 lakh in Indian Premier League 2023 auction. Chawla is currently Mumbai’s leading wicket-taker with 7 scalps in 5 matches while keeping a tidy economy of 7.15.
Similar to Chawla, senior leg-spinner Amit Mishra had gone unsold in IPL 2022 mega-auction before finding a team, Lucknow Super Giants, in Indian Premier League 2023 auction as the oldest player in the auction pool.
The veteran leggie got his first chance of this season on a spin-friendly track in Lucknow and made impact with a two-wicket haul late in the innings vs SRH and then against RCB he finished with 1/18. Mishra could prove crucial for Lucknow in their home matches this season.