A player-franchise association of years breaks down every few years. Now with a new home team, a player meets his old friend and proves important against them. It’s a script that plays out often and with a lot of interest around it. As in football, the IPL, now that it has been around for a decade and a half, is seeing its own share of fiery reunions, and a few players have put pressure on their former employers this season. We select the most notable such contributions so far in IPL 2022:
It’s hard to imagine a more publicly acrimonious fallout in the IPL than that between Sunrisers and Warner in 2021: a team legend he led them to the 2016 title, three Orange Caps in just six seasons completed for Sunrisers, and yet reduced to a reserve.
Warner quashed all arguments over how much was left in the tank with a player of the tournament medal in Australia’s T20 World Cup title win following the IPL season last year. Well into this IPL campaign came his chance to face his team from the previous seven years.
He caught it with both hands, playing that quintessential Warner shot that had heralded so many Sunrisers victories in the past: cautious to begin with, unresponsive to wickets at the other end, shifting gears with ease and beating until at the end. He took his time and picked his battles – 15 of 13 balls against Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but 47 of 25 against Umran Malik and Kartik Tyagi combined – and was the pivot of the Capitals’ charge at 207 for 3, which was proved too good for his former team. .
Rashid’s absence from the Sunrisers roster ahead of the 2022 auction has sparked the most heated debate, with many questioning franchise owners and the logic of team management.
It turned out to be a night to forget for Rashid when he came to play against the Sunrisers. It was probably familiarity that helped Sunrisers hitters take Rashid down: he conceded 40+ runs for only the third time in the IPL, with Abhishek Sharma thrashing him for 34 on just 15 balls.
But the Titans – who had happily picked Rashid as one of their three draft picks – would have the final say.
The tie looked beyond the Titans with 56 needed from the final four overs when Rashid joined Rahul Tewatia in the middle. The equation became 37 from 14 after Rashid hit his first six – a helicopter shot off Bhuvneshwar – and a few shots from Tewatia brought it down to 15 from four, with Rashid on strike, facing Marco Jansen . Six, point, six, six: A stunning streak left the Sunrisers seething, the usually calm, furious Muthiah Muralidaran, and the Titans extending their stay at the top of the table.
That the Titans were still hunting in the back end of this chase was down to another ex-Sunrisers. Saha got a late entry into the XI after the decision to play Matthew Wade at the top didn’t work out, and he hadn’t done much in his first two outings (11 of 18 and 25 of 25 ).
But he took the offense against Sunrisers, comfortably edging out Shubman Gill in a strong start to the Titans chase of 196. The openers faced 18 balls apiece on the power play – Saha scored 39 and Gill 15. Saha threw about 50 28 balls and continued on the motor, leaving the Titans with 74 to strike out 40 balls by the time he finished.
Saha was fluid against his former Sunrisers teammates, taking 10 from seven balls at Bhuvneshwar and 13 from six balls at T Natarajan, while taking Marco Jansen to the cleaners: 26 from nine balls, intertwined from four to four and six.
The first rubber was a high-scoring clash at Brabourne, and Kuldeep had gone wicketless while conceding 28 runs on his first 16 balls – but his last eight deliveries would definitely turn the game in favor of the Capitals. He lost Shreyas Iyer for 54 of 33 before dismissing Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav in the space of four balls – the last an excellent catch-and-throw effort.
Kuldeep took it to another level 18 days later. After getting rid of B Indrajith and Narine in consecutive deliveries in his first game, he got the wickets of Shreyas and Andre Russell in his third. It could have been more than a four-for, but the Capitals — for some reason — didn’t go over Kuldeep’s quota.
It provided enough intrigue as the legpinner lined up against his old unit at the start of the 2022 season, and although his new side – Royals – couldn’t claim victory, Chahal was arguably the better bowler of the night. He returned superlative numbers of 2 for 15 from his four overs, representing Faf du Plessis and David Willey, and also playing a part in the running of his former captain Virat Kohli.
Tripathi came out early in the Sunrisers pursuit of 176 and took the attack against Knight Riders. The Sunrisers went from 15-for-1 late in the third to 105-for-2 after 11, with Tripathi flaying 53 of those runs on just 23 balls. He was particularly harsh on Varun Chakravarthy, taking away 19 points from six balls, including two magnificently led offside sixes.
So what could be more IPL than the same duo tasked with completing a pursuit against Kings? It wasn’t the most nerve-wracking equation – 75 needed on 57 balls when Pooran joined Markram in the middle – but they came together knowing there wasn’t much for them to follow. Sunrisers. Shashank Singh, who had not struck in the IPL until then, was designated at No. 6 and J Suchith at No. 7.
They brought the Sunrisers home with no problem. Markram was fluent in his 41-for-27, Pooran solid in his 30-ball 35, and Sunrisers were over the line with seven balls to spare.