IPL 2022 kicked off in Mumbai last week. Due to the presence of Omicron, this year’s tournament is being played at just four stadiums across the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Rahul Patil, Indian Weekender’s Thirteenth Man, analyses all the action from Week 1. The Thirteenth Man will appear in every weekly print edition and online on Fridays.

Game 1
Kolkata Knight Riders 133 for 4 (Rahane 44, Bravo 3/20) beat Chennai Super Kings 131 for 5 (Dhoni 50*, Yadav 2/20, Narine 0/15)

With both teams having new captains i.e. Jadeja for CSK and Shreyas Iyer for KKR the opening game was unbelievable for many reasons. Jadeja scoring 27 of 28 balls in a t20 game is unheard of. Considering his form from the last couple of years Dhoni playing a swashbuckling innings of 50 not out was extraordinary. Rahane playing aggressively at the top of the order for KKR and making their run chase easy was also unexpected. Red ball specialist Umesh Yadav got the man of the match award and KKR picked up the points for a clinical victory.

Game 2
Delhi Capitals 179/6 (Lalit Yadav 48*, Axar 38*, Shaw 38, Murugan 2/14, Thampi 3/35) beat Mumbai Indians 177/5 (Kishan 81*, Sharma 41, Kuldeep 3/18, Khaleel 2/27)

The historic Brabourne stadium was the venue for the second match of the season and a resurgent Kuldeep Yadav produced a left arm Chinamen master class to pick up the man of the match award and a win for his new team the Delhi Capitals. Ishan Kishan, this year’s most expensive buy at a whopping INR 152.5 million played a lone hand for Mumbai making 81 not out in just 48 balls. Chasing 178 Delhi Capitals were in trouble at 72 for 5 but their 3D players Shardul Thakur, Lalit Yadav and Axar Patel kept a calm head and took them home.

Game 3
Punjab Kings 208/5 (Rajapaksa 43, Dhawan 43, Patel 1/36) beat RCB 205/2 (Du Plessis 88, Kohli 41, Chahar 1/22)

It is the 15th year of the tournament and both these sides are still searching for their maiden IPL title. Punjab’s strategy of filling their side with power hitters at this year’s auction paid immediate dividends as they chased down a target of 209 with an over to spare. Thanks mainly to the Sri Lankan Rajapaksa and big hitting West Indian Odean Smith. There was an outpour of emotion by CSK fans when Faf Du Plessis was bought by RCB this year. And his innings of 88 of just 57 balls explains why he is such a valuable player.

Game 4
Gujarat Titans 161 for 5 (Tewatia 40*, Pandya 33, Chameera 2/22) beat Lucknow Super Giants 158 for 6 (Hooda 55, Badoni 54, Shami 3/25)

Everybody had their eye on this game as the two new teams of the IPL were showcasing their talents for the first time. Opening the bowling for the Titans man of the match Shami rocked the Super Giants top order picking up 3 wickets and giving away only 10 runs. But a spirited partnership between Deepak Hooda and rookie Ayush Badoni saw Lucknow post a fighting total of 158. Although the Titans left it late they chased down the total thanks to their INR 9 crore finisher Rahul Tewatia and another rookie Abhinav Manohar. The highlight of the match though was the comradery between Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda who not so long back had an ugly public spat. A great example of how sport always unites.

Game 5
Rajasthan Royals 210 for 6 (Samson 55, Padikkal 41, Bhuvneshwar 1/29) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 149 for 7 (Markram 57*, Washington 40, Chahal 3/22, Krishna 2/16)

Two words come to mind to sum up this game. ‘Rusty’ for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and ‘Clinical’ for the Rajasthan Royals. Rajasthan had a great auction and it showed on the field too. All their batters got runs in quick time and all their bowlers bowled well in good batting conditions. The huge margin of defeat meant that the Sunrisers net run rate took a massive blow in the very first game and they will have to pull up their socks quickly if they want to turn their fortunes around.

Game 6
RCB 132 for 7 (Rutherford 28, Shahbaz 27, Umesh 2/16, Southee 3/20, Narine 1/12) beat KKR 128 all out (Russell 25, Umesh 18, Hasaranga 4/20, Patel 2/11)

Low scoring games more often than not produce nail biting thrillers and this one was no different. At the half way stage when KKR were bowled out for 128 one thought that RCB would win easily but the game went right down to the wire and in the end it was a cameo from the evergreen Dinesh Karthik that took RCB to their first win of the season. KKR though will be happy with the way they fought. Roll on week 2.