The Edict’s IPL 2022 End-of-Season Awards
By Samhith Shankar, UG24
For the first time since 2019, the Indian Premier League returned to India in 2022, welcoming back thousands of cricket-starved fans into stadiums in customary extravagant fashion. In some ways, it felt like cricket was finally returning to normal, after more than two years of chaos, despite the novelty of all the league games being played in Mumbai and Pune. 5-time and 4-time winners, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, would finish last and second-last on table — the first time in the history of the competition that both have failed to qualify for the playoffs! In stark contrast, the two new teams, Gujarat Titans and the Lucknow Super Giants, both made the top 4 quite comfortably. GT would climb to the top right from the beginning and stay there for the rest of the competition, facing few hiccups on their journey to the title in their debut season — a feat previously achieved only by Rajasthan Royals in 2008, whom funnily enough, they beat in the finals. RCB would also go on a decent run of form, instilling their fans with hope, as they do every year, before failing to cross the penultimate hurdle, in a fairly timid defeat to RR in Qualifier 2.
This IPL, a fair few probably paid more attention to the bottom of the table, whipping out their calculators to explore every possibility where arch-rivals CSK and MI could pip each other to that coveted 9th spot. In the end, both teams finished with 3 wins apiece, with CSK having a marginally better Net Run Rate which saved them the embarrassment of finishing rock bottom.
Nonetheless, like every season, this one too had star performers, standout young talents, and thrilling moments, which tell the story of an eventful and momentous season with the addition of two new teams, after a mega auction that quite literally flipped the table on its head.
Player of the Season: Jos Buttler
You saw this coming. We all saw this coming. Jos Buttler has had a phenomenal season, bringing some much-needed consistency to his usual power hitting, which has resulted in the Englishman taking this IPL by storm. Deservedly winning the Orange Cap, he amassed a colossal tally of 863 runs (historically the second-highest run tally ever) at a strike rate of just below 150, averaging a massive 57.53. Having a bank of runs at the top of the order has proved crucial to Rajasthan making it deep into the season, with Buttler providing nearly 30% of the total runs scored by the team.
Buttler has arguably had the second-best season for a batsman in IPL history, bettered only by Virat Kohli’s 973 runs in 2016. He also equalled Kohli’s record for most hundreds (4) in one IPL season, with the last of these coming in Qualifier 2 to take Rajasthan to their first IPL final since the inaugural season in 2008. Quite cruelly, Buttler and Kohli’s world-class seasons both ended as runners-up, but that doesn’t take away from the marvelous hitting we’ve stood witness to over the last three months.
Honourable Mention - Yuzvendra Chahal
Picking the highest run-scorer and wicket-taker are the easy choices for player of the season, but what makes Chahal’s season stand out is the fact that it is only the second time in the last 10 seasons that a spinner has won the purple cap. Moreover, Chahal’s tally of 27 wickets marks the highest number of wickets ever taken by a spinner in the history of the IPL, worth special mention. Along with Buttler, Chahal’s individual brilliance was key to propelling RR to the finals.
Emerging Player of the Season: Umran Malik
Known for producing prodigious bowling talent season after season, Sunrisers Hyderabad seem to have struck gold again with young speedster Umran Malik. People were quick to doubt the unlikely retention of an unknown name in the build-up to the season, but Malik has certainly proved these doubters wrong, finishing the season with 22 wickets - the fourth highest in the league. The talented pacer regularly hit speeds of over 150 km/h, hitting a maximum of 157 km/h. He also picked up a 5 wicket haul against eventual winners Gujarat Titans. While he was fairly expensive with an economy rate upwards of 9 runs an over, his performances for SRH have earned him a call-up to the Indian National team for the forthcoming T20 series against South Africa.
Honourable Mention - Tilak Varma
One upside of the Mumbai Indians’ season effectively coming to a premature end were the plethora of chances awarded to young names in the squad. The standout of these has surely been the left-handed 19-year old, Tilak Varma, who has been a rock in the middle-order, in an otherwise chaotic batting line-up. Hitting 397 runs in his debut season as teenager has been no small feat, and the future looks bright for the young star.
Moment of the Season: Punjab’s Worst Nightmare — Rahul Tewatia
Match 16: Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans. 3 balls left. 13 runs for Gujarat to get, with David Miller on Strike. Odean Smith is the bowler. Miller can’t get the ball away but an overthrow allows for Gujarat to take a run. 12 off 2 now, and those two balls turn out to be in-the-slot which Rahul Tewatia smashes over the ropes. The crowd goes crazy, the commentators can’t believe what they’ve seen, and neither can Odean Smith, but Rahul Tewatia has embarrassed Punjab for the second time in three seasons. The scenes echo Sharjah 2020, and Smith looks just as distraught as Sheldon Cottrell did that day. Looking back at his career, you won’t remember too many other performances, but Rahul Tewatia has certainly carved out a few pages in the IPL history books just for himself, much to the agony of the Punjab fans.
Honourable Mention - The Return of Captain Cool
Regardless of their position in the league table, MI vs CSK is, and always will be, the IPL’s biggest rivalry. Their first match-up this year would prove crucial in the battle for 9th place, and victory is a matter of pride for both teams, regardless of the consequences. Chennai needed 17 off the last over, which became 16 off 4 after a wicket and a single saw MS Dhoni come on strike. 6,4,2,4 - easy as that for Captain Cool, as he won the game for his team off the last ball, leaving Mumbai and their fans distraught, as they continued looking for their first win of the season. The greatest finisher in the history of the game was not finished yet.
The Edict’s IPL Team of the Season
Jos Buttler: 863 runs @ 57.53, 149.05 SR
David Warner: 432 runs @ 48.00, 150.52 SR
Rahul Tripathi: 413 runs @ 37.55, 158.24 SR
Hardik Pandya: 487 runs @ 44.27, 131.27 SR + 8 wickets @ 27.25, 7.29 econ
David Miller: 481 runs @ 68.71, 142.73 SR
Dinesh Karthik (WK): 330 runs @ 55.00, 183.33 SR
Rashid Khan: 19 wickets @ 22.16, 6.60 econ
Mohammed Shami: 20 wickets @ 24.40, 8.00 econ
Josh Hazlewood: 20 wickets @ 18.85, 8.11 econ
Yuzvendra Chahal: 27 wickets @ 19.52, 7.75 econ
Mohsin Khan: 14 wickets @ 14.07, 5.97 econ
Expect a raging comeback from the dormant giants of the IPL next season, who were missing some star players this time - you can never keep them silent for too long. Among those who didn’t feature this year, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran seem poised to make a thrilling comeback to the IPL, which has duly missed them this season. Can GT continue their unreal consistency? Can RCB make the playoffs 4 seasons in a row? Will Buttler and Chahal retain their world-class form? Tune in next March for another 2 months of cricket-crazy madness.