Thirty-seven matches into IPL 2023, and the battle for a play-off spot has intensified. Gujarat Titans are firmly ensconced at the top of the table with 12 points. Meanwhile, four teams, SRH, RR, LSG and RCB, are snapping at their heels, with 10 points apiece.
Midway through the season, we cannot discount the likes of DC, KKR, and PBKS, all of which have 6 points each. Suffice it to say that this is turning out to be the most competitive IPL season ever.
|IPL Points Table as on 26 April 2023|
Highlights of the Week Gone by
Buttler Scores Successive Tons
Jos Buttler is in the form of his life. That form translated into back-to-back centuries to help RR climb to third place on the points table.
103 versus KKR on 18 April
The first of those came against KKR on 18 April. Put in to bat, RR got off to a great start, thanks to a 97-run opening stand between Buttler and Padikkal. Samson joined Buttler at the crease after Padikkal was bowled out by Narine.
The pair added 67 runs for the second wicket. At 164 for 2 in 15.2 overs, RR had the perfect platform for a big score. Buttler grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He finished with 103 from 61 balls, helping his side to a formidable 217/5. Despite a spirited reply, KKR fell short, and bowled out for 210 in the last over.
116 versus DC on 22 April
Buttler’s second ton of the week came against DC on 22 April. Batting first yet again, RR were given the perfect start by their openers, who put on 155 before Padikkal got out for 54. Buttler carried on in the same vein before he was dismissed in the 19th over for 116 from 65 balls.
With nine fours and an equal number of sixes, Jos helped push the RR score up to 222/2. On a great batting surface, DC fell agonisingly short, finishing at 207/8.
Chahal Spins Web Around KKR Batsmen
RR achieved a unique record versus KKR on 18 April when leg break googly bowler Yuzvendra Chahal took a fifer. It was the first instance in the IPL when a match featured a ton as well as a five-for. Chasing 211 to win, after Buttler had propelled RR with a brilliant hundred, KKR were undone by Chahal.
From a position of strength at 178/4 in 16 overs, the KKR innings unravelled. They were eventually bowled out for 210 with two balls to go. Chahal, who finished with 5/40, was the wrecker in chief. Consequently, he grabbed the man of the match award ahead of Buttler.
Controversy Rears Its Ugly Head
IPL matches and controversy cannot be kept apart for long. And so it proved when RR faced DC on 18 April. DC needed 36 to win from the last over. Rovman Powell was on strike against McCoy, the bowler. Powell smashed sixes off the first three balls to set up the possibility of an unlikely win.
The third six came off a full toss that appeared to be above waist level. DC players wanted the umpires to check the ball for height. A no ball would have given the batting team an extra run as well as an additional ball. That would leave them 4 balls to score 17 to win
Things got a bit ugly, with DC’s assistant coach running into the ground to confer with the umpires. However, the umpires stuck to their guns. As things transpired, Powell scored two more from the fifth ball and got out on the sixth.
Bet on the IPL