Rahane, Du Plessis, and Chawla lead smart stats MVPs
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is considered the pinnacle of T20 cricket, and it has often been regarded as a young man’s game. However, the performances of some of the seasoned campaigners in the 2023 season have shown that age is just a number in this format of the game. The likes of Faf du Plessis, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, and Piyush Chawla have not just defied the notion that T20 is a young man’s game, but they have also been instrumental in their teams’ success in the tournament.
Du Plessis, who will turn 39 in July, has been the stand-out batter of the tournament so far. The former South African captain has amassed 405 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 165.3. What has been impressive about du Plessis’ performances is his consistency with the bat. He has scored five fifties in the tournament so far, with each of them getting more than 75 impact points, according to ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats. It is a testament to his ability to maintain a terrific strike rate while scoring runs consistently. Dhawan, who is 37, has been another player who has shown that age is just a number in T20 cricket. Despite missing three games due to injury, Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten knock of 99 runs off just 66 balls is being considered as one of the best batting performances of the tournament.
Rahane and Chawla have been the surprise packages of the tournament so far. Rahane, who will turn 35 in June, has been in scintillating form with the bat. Ajinkya Rahane has been in impressive form this season, having scored 30-plus runs at a strike rate of 160-plus in four out of his five innings. Furthermore, he has scored two half-centuries at a strike rate of over 200, with both innings being over 60 runs. Rahane is currently making a greater impact per innings than he has ever made in his IPL career, with a score of 55.99. He has often been regarded as a Test match specialist, but his performances in this T20 tournament have shown that he is more than capable of holding his own in this format of the game.
Chawla’s resurgence has been equally remarkable. The leg-spinner has been in excellent form with the ball, taking 11 wickets in the tournament so far at an average of 17.45 and an economy rate of 7.11. In the last three IPL seasons that he played (2019 to 2021), Chawla took 17 wickets in 21 games at an average of 36.9 and an economy rate of 9.04. His performances this season have shown that he still has a lot to offer in T20 cricket, and his experience has been invaluable for the Mumbai Indians.
What is noteworthy about the performances of these seasoned campaigners is their impact on their respective teams. Du Plessis has been the top impact player of the tournament so far, collecting 71.2 impact points per match. Dhawan’s unbeaten 99 helped the Delhi Capitals to a crucial victory, and his experience has been invaluable for the team. Rahane’s performances have been a big reason why the Rajasthan Royals have managed to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, while Chawla’s resurgence has been a big boost for the Mumbai Indians. The performances of these seasoned campaigners have shown that age is just a number in T20 cricket.