IPL 2022 season has moved into the play-offs. The top four teams have been identified. Gujarat Titans will play Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1, while Lucknow Super Giant will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator. In the two months of group stages, there have been some exceptional performances from cricketers who can be easily called the find of the season. Let’s have a look.
Rinku has been with KKR since 2018 but mostly turned up as a substitute fielder. He played just 10 matches in 4 seasons of IPL for KKR, scoring 57 runs. But come IPL 2022, Rinku grabbed the limited opportunities he received with both hands. He not only showed the world his talent but came close to stealing a thriller against LSG single-handedly. He scored 40 runs off 15 balls with 2 fours and 4 sixes. Needing 21 runs off 6 balls, Rinku slammed 4, 6, 6, 2 off Marcus Stoinis, but was brilliantly caught by Evin Lewis on the fifth ball to just fall short of taking KKR to win. Stoinis then clean bowled Umesh Yadav on the last ball to break Rinku’s heart.
Now, it is up to KKR how they manage Rinku and get the best out of him in the upcoming seasons. For the record, Rinku scored 174 runs @ 34.80 at a strike rate of 148.72 in 7 matches this season.
The young South African star, who is just 19, announced his arrival to the cricketing world with his brilliant strokeplay in the game against Punjab Kings where he slammed 25-ball 49 with 4 fours and 5 sixes. He just fell a run short of becoming one of the youngest players to score a fifty in IPL. His knock got praise from all quarters, more so from Mumbai mentor Sachin Tendulkar. Although Brevis could not repeat his same heroics again, he has made people note of his talent, and with more games, he could be the match-winner Mumbai can bank on in the upcoming IPL seasons.
When experienced players such as Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Kieron Pollard blew hot or cold in the 2022 season, there was another young 19-year-old cricketer who was making his presence felt. Tilak Varma was the only consistent batsman for Mumbai this season. His ability to take on the best bowlers, play according to the situation, and unleash the big strokes saw him turn up as the second top-scorer for Mumbai this season. Varma scored 397 runs @ 36.09 in 14 games this season.
Malik has shown signs of his raw talent in the last season itself. But it is in the 2022 season that he has done justice to his talent, being the only handful of bowlers to take 20 or more wickets this season. His raw pace has been dangerous to handle, but more than that, he has got better control over his line and length now. It was his exceptional length deliveries, coupled with raw pace, that got him a five-wicket haul in the clash against Gujarat Titans. He was the only bowler to take a wicket for SRH in that match, but unfortunately, his team lost. However, Malik has also gone for runs as his pace has been easy picking. Only if Malik manages to control his pace, and bring in subtle variations, he could be far more dangerous than now.
For reasons best known to Mumbai Indians, Tim David was not the preferred overseas player in the XI. But with Mumbai struggling to force a win, David got a chance to prove that his popularity as a pinch hitter was not a flash in the pan. He came up with a match-winning knock of 44 not out against Gujarat Titans that helped Mumbai post a winning total of 177/6. Later, in the last game against Delhi, David rode his luck to score 11-ball 34 to help Mumbai win, and give RCB the play-off berth. David is set to be the next future Mumbai star who could replace the now struggling Kieron Pollard.