IPL

IPL 2023 preview: Buttler aims to serve up a repeat as new season could be Dhoni's last act

By Sports Desk March 30, 2023

The Ashes is coming up this year, and so too is the Cricket World Cup.

But the roaring success of the Indian Premier League means its 16th season is anticipated on a similar level to those totemic events on the cricket calendar.

And why not? There is no greater franchise competition in cricket, featuring star names from across the globe playing to vast crowds and huge television audiences.

A measure of the boom in IPL popularity came when its broadcast rights were sold in the wake of last year's tournament, with five-year deals bringing in 48,390.5 crore (£4.8billion), testament to the tournament's enormous appeal.

Among leagues worldwide, only the NFL is said to have bigger per-game TV deals, with the spectacle of T20 cricket becoming a big winner with spectators, sponsors, broadcasters and advertisers.

Heading into the 2023 season, which begins on Friday with an eye-catching tussle between defending champions Gujarat Titans and 2021 winners Chennai Super Kings, Stats Perform has identified potential key storylines for the new campaign.

How can Buttler follow his MVP season?

Jos Buttler had a staggering campaign last time out for Rajasthan Royals, hitting 863 runs in 17 innings at an average of 57.53, with four centuries to his name. That was as many centuries as everyone else in the IPL combined managed to score.

He finished 247 runs ahead of KL Rahul, who was second on the batting list. Buttler cracked 83 fours and 45 sixes, and he has since been appointed England's white-ball captain.

This is a huge year for Buttler, with England defending their title at the World Cup, and all eyes will be on the 32-year-old to see how he contributes for the Royals.

Chris Gayle, in 2011 and 2012, is the only batter to have finished as top scorer in consecutive IPL seasons.

This is a league that brings explosive moments, and Australian bowler Pat Cummins surprisingly managed the fastest fifty with the bat last year, achieving the feat from 14 balls for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians.

With the ball, Buttler's Rajasthan team-mate Yuzvendra Chahal took a league-leading 27 wickets, at an average of 19.51 and with a 7.75 economy rate. He was the only bowler to take a hat-trick in the 2022 IPL, doing so against KKR.

The economy rate king was two-time former MVP Sunil Narine, who gave up an average of 5.57 runs in his 56 overs, albeit taking just a modest nine wickets.

CSK seek immediate statement win

Gujarat were champions in their debut season last time around, while defending champions Chennai finished a miserable ninth out of 10 teams.

This time CSK are determined to start strongly and banish memories of 2022, and one way or another it promises to be a memorable campaign.

It appears likely to be MS Dhoni's final IPL campaign, with the 41-year-old giant of the game and former India captain reportedly considering whether to call time on his illustrious playing career.

Dhoni would want to go out on a high, and in the hope of building a winning team CSK have taken an expensive plunge by bringing in England Test captain Ben Stokes.

There are suggestions Stokes could inherit Dhoni's talisman status at CSK, although there has been an early blow with the all-rounder not expected to bowl in the early stages of the tournament due to concern over his left knee.

CSK suffered another setback to their bowling department when they lost New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson to a back injury, replacing him with South Africa paceman Sisanda Magala.

Could pulling the Short straw work out well for Punjab Kings?

Jonny Bairstow would have been lining up for Punjab Kings, but a freak golf course injury continues to keep the England wicketkeeper-batter out of action.

In his place comes Australian Matthew Short, who has yet to play international cricket or feature in the IPL, but the 27-year-old is experiencing quite a moment in his career.

Short was player of the tournament in Australia's Big Bash League, the domestic T20 competition, when he scored 458 runs for Adelaide Strikers and became just the third player in 12 seasons to hit 400 runs and take 10 wickets in a single season.

He will fancy stepping up to IPL level and continuing his rich run of form, and joins a franchise that has seen significant change since finishing sixth last year. Punjab have a new captain and new coach, with Shikhar Dhawan and Trevor Bayliss replacing Mayank Agarwal and Anil Kumble.

PBKS will hope Short makes a long-lasting impact, while they are trusting a huge investment in Sam Curran pays off after making the England all-rounder the most expensive player in IPL history, landing him in the draft for 18.5 Cr (£1.85million).

Changes across the board

A year is a long time in the IPL, and there have been a host of new appointments.

Australian veteran and IPL master blaster David Warner has taken over as captain of Delhi Capitals due to Rishabh Pant being ruled out while he recovers from the major car accident he experienced in December.

Brendon McCullum's move to coach England means Kolkata needed a new man in charge, and they have brought in Chandrakant Pandit, while Brian Lara has taken over from Tom Moody with Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Mark Boucher will pull the strings with Mumbai Indians after Mahela Jayawardene became global head of performance.

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    A disappointing first innings batting effort proved too much to overcome for the West Indies Academy as they went down by 72 runs to Emerging Ireland on day four of their first of two four-day encounter at The Green in Comber on Friday.

    Chasing 344 for victory on Friday, the tourists were eventually dismissed for 271 in 56.4 overs.

    Openers Kadeem Alleyne and Ackeem Auguste did the bulk of the scoring with a 151-run opening wicket partnership but their wickets in quick succession dashed the hopes of the West Indians pulling off a successful chase.

    Alleyne fell narrowly short of a maiden first class hundred with an 84-ball 93 including nine fours and four sixes while Auguste hit a patient 82-ball 47.

    Joshua Bishop was also a key contributor with the bat with 42 off 40 balls including six fours and a pair of sixes.

    Leg spinner Gavin Hoey was the pick of the Emerging Ireland bowlers with 4-81 from 19 overs while Matthew Humphreys and Liam McCarthy took 3-44 from 8.4 overs and 3-49 from 17 overs, respectively.

    Earlier in the game, Emerging Ireland batted first and posted 283 from 91.3 overs in their first innings after being put in to bat before the West Indies Academy replied with a disappointing 214 in 49.1 overs.

    The Irish responded to that with 274 off 74 overs in their second innings leaving the West Indies Academy needing 344 for victory.

    The second Four-Day game takes place from June 25-28 in Belfast.

    Full Scores:

    Emerging Ireland 283 off 91.3 overs (Christopher De Freitas 88, Morgan Topping 45*, Thomas Mayes 42, Johann Layne 4-84, Nyeem Young 3-73) & 274 off 74 overs (Cade Carmichael 92, Stephen Doheny 41, Gavin Hoey 37, Johann Layne 5-39, Onaje Amory 2-88)

    West Indies Academy 214 off 49.1 overs (Nyeem Young 48*, Kadeem Alleyne 47, Jordan Johnson 33, Thomas Mayes 4-61, Liam McCarthy 3-62, Matthew Humphreys 2-44) & 271 off 56.4 overs (Kadeem Alleyne 93, Ackeem Auguste 47, Joshua Bishop 42, Gavin Hoey 4-81, Matthew Humphreys 3-44, Liam McCarthy 3-49)

  • Hapless West Indies Women crushed by 160 runs as Sri Lanka completes series sweep Hapless West Indies Women crushed by 160 runs as Sri Lanka completes series sweep

    In a dominant display, Sri Lanka Women's cricket team crushed the West Indies Women by 160 runs in the third ODI in Hambantota on Friday, securing a comprehensive 3-0 series sweep. Sri Lanka's innings, led by half-centuries from Chamari Athapaththu, Nilakshika Silva, and Anushka Sanjeewani, set an imposing target of 275 for 6, before Sachini Nisansala's maiden five-wicket haul dismantled the West Indies, who were bowled out for a meager 115.

    After being put into bat, Sri Lanka started strongly with an opening partnership of 93 runs between Athapaththu and Vishmi Gunaratne. Gunaratne fell just six runs short of her half-century, miscuing a lofted shot to Aaliyah Alleyne at mid-off. Despite losing two more quick wickets, Sri Lanka's captain Athapaththu steadied the innings with a vital 57-run partnership with Nilakshika Silva.

    Athapaththu's innings came to an end at 91 off 106 balls when Afy Fletcher spun one through her bat and pad, leaving Sri Lanka at 156 for 4. However, any hopes West Indies had of restricting the hosts were dashed by Silva and Sanjeewani. The duo added 117 runs for the fifth wicket, propelling Sri Lanka to a formidable total. Silva scored 63 off 78 balls, while Sanjeewani contributed a quick-fire 55 off 46 balls. The pair's efforts saw Sri Lanka plunder 93 runs in the final 10 overs, ensuring a challenging target for the visitors.

    In response, the West Indies struggled from the outset, losing both Rashada Williams and skipper Shemaine Campbell within the first six overs. The only resistance came from Chedean Nation and Stafanie Taylor, who put together a 57-run partnership off 82 deliveries. However, Taylor's dismissal, edging behind off Oshadi Ranasinghe, left the West Indies in dire straits.

    Nation, who top-scored with 46 off 57 balls, was bowled by Athapaththu, reducing the West Indies to 69 for 4. From there, Nisansala took over, exploiting the grip and turn of the surface with her slow left-arm orthodox deliveries. She trapped Zaida James leg before and accounted for Chinelle Henry, Afy Fletcher, and Qiana Joseph, all of whom fell attempting aggressive shots.

    Nisansala completed her five-for by dismissing Aaliyah Alleyne, who chipped a return catch after a brief cameo of 27 off 27 balls. The West Indies' innings folded for 115, with Nisansala finishing with figures of 5 for 28, marking her first five-wicket haul in ODIs.

    This victory marks Sri Lanka's second series whitewash against the West Indies and highlights the stark difference in form and execution between the two sides. The West Indies will need to reassess and regroup after a disheartening series, while Sri Lanka can take confidence from their dominant performances as they look ahead to future challenges.

  • 'Awesome to join the club', says Cummins after T20 World Cup hat-trick for Australia 'Awesome to join the club', says Cummins after T20 World Cup hat-trick for Australia

    Pat Cummins said it was "awesome to be able to join the club" after he took a hat-trick in Australia's T20 World Cup win over Bangladesh.

    Cummins starred with the ball while David Warner was key with the back as Australia maintained their perfect record in the tournament to start their Super 8s campaign with a 28-run victory.

    It was a rain-impacted encounter in Antigua on Thursday, with Australia ultimately prevailing on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, with the weather having ended play when they were on 100-2 while chasing a target of 141.

    Cummins' three wickets came across the 18th and 20th overs of Bangladesh's innings, with Towhid Hridoy (40) his final wicket.

    "At the end of the over, I saw it come up on the screen and I totally forgot about [the hat-trick]," Cummins said.

    "I've taken a few in junior cricket but never for Australia. It's pretty awesome to be able to join the club."

    Warner then took control with the bat, striking an unbeaten 53 from 35 deliveries to ensure Australia were well on course for victory before the weather closed in.

    Australia captain Mitchell Marsh added: "A really solid bowling performance, everyone chipped in.

    "We've always spoken about having 15 guys who can take us deep in this World Cup and we will pick teams on conditions."

    Data Debrief: Magnificent seventh

    Cummins became just the seventh player to take a hat-trick of wickets at the men's T20 World Cup and the first Australia player since Brett Lee took 3-27 in 2007.

    Coincidentally, Lee's hat-trick also came against Bangladesh.

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