Some eat bats, some talk to them and some use them for more conventional reasons, such as ending an innings in style. All three feature this week alongside our usual dose of delight, disappointment and drama from the world’s greatest T20 competition. As is the case every Wednesday, we are all set to unveil our winners of Wrong ’Uns, our IPL weekly awards that promises to honour the brilliant and the bizarre and most things in between.
Two fresh awards are up for grabs this week along with a twist to one of the mainstays. Additionally, in what is turning out to be a weekly tradition, our White Cap has changed heads once more. Without further ado, here is presenting the seventh edition of Wrong ’Uns.
The Socrates Award for Best On-Field Dialogue
Rovman Powell listened to David Warner’s advice and piled the misery on SRHBCCI
Rovman Powell, who recently confessed to talking to his bats ahead of his resurgence in form with the Delhi Capitals (DC), was part of an inspiring conversation with David Warner against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Before the last over of DC’s innings against SRH, Powell went up to Warner to ask if the Australian wanted to get back on strike and complete the eight runs he needed for his century. Warner, according to Powell, responded by saying: “That’s not how the game is played. Go big.” Warner’s advice led Powell to launch into the SRH bowling and smash the last six balls for 19 runs, bringing up his own half-century in the process. Warner’s selflessness earned him numerous plaudits on social media and it has also earned him and Powell our Socrates award for this week.
Most Startling Statistic of the Week
The numbers keep going from bad to worse for the man who seemed incapable of doing anything wrong with the bat. With another first-ball duck against SRH, Virat Kohli has now equalled the record for the most golden ducks in an IPL season with three, a feat he shares with no less than 12 players, including Suresh Raina (2013) and Rohit Sharma (2018). Kohli’s failure to trouble the scorers on Sunday afternoon also brought up his ninth duck in IPL history, which is still some distance away from the all-time highest of 14, jointly held by Rohit and Mandeep Singh.
The Yudhisthir Award for Unfiltered Honesty
At 42, no IPL fan would reasonably expect Chris Gayle to turn up for another season and tonk the ball for fun as if it was still 2012. But Gayle, who is not officially retired, revealed this week why he is not a part of the ongoing IPL. Speaking to Mirror, a UK-based daily, Gayle did not mince his words about his absence, admitting how “for the last couple of years, the way the IPL went about, I felt like I wasn’t treated properly”. Gayle added that he did not get the respect he deserved, which made him decide against putting his name in the auction earlier this year. However, the straight-talking “Universe Boss” threw in a curveball when he announced: “Next year, I’m coming back. They need me.”
The KitKat Award for Best Snacker
Feasting on the bat certainly helped Dhoni feast on the bowlers against DCBCCI
It is no novelty to spot cricketers grabbing a bite or two during a match, especially when they are padded up in the dressing room and waiting for their turn to step out into the middle. But ahead of his quickfire cameo against DC, viewers were stunned to see Mahendra Singh Dhoni attempting to eat his bat! Sitting next to Robin Uthappa, Dhoni was snapped digging his teeth into his willow, something that also happened during the 2019 World Cup in England. With Mahi fans on social media losing their mind, Amit Mishra took to Twitter to clear the air, explaining how Dhoni often “eats” his bat to take off any strand of tape that might have remained stuck on the bat.
Rahul Tripathi thanks his stars after compensating for his drop catch with a stylish fifty against RCBBCCI
Generally, this award is reserved for those taking an unlikely catch after being in danger of dropping it for the longest time. But this week we are turning this category around thanks to Rahul Tripathi, who managed to make a meal of a catch that most outfielders would have grabbed with one hand. Fielding at deep square leg during the last over of SRH’s match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Tripathi must have felt relieved when he saw Dinesh Karthik pick him out to perfection, with the ball heading straight towards Tripathi’s grateful palms. Yet, half a second later, the umpire signalled a six, with Tripathi having allowed the ball to slip through his grasp and cross the ropes without landing. While the sun may have been an excuse for Tripathi had he not been wearing his shades, he did make up somewhat for letting the ball burst through his fingers by hammering 58 off 37 during SRH’s run chase.
The Sourav Ganguly Award for Sweet Revenge
Warner was in unstoppable form against SRH, the team he represented with aplomb for so many yearsBCCI
On May 5, 2012, Sourav Ganguly stepped out at the Eden Gardens to face the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the colours of the now defunct Pune Warriors India (PWI). With a partisan crowd split between KKR and Ganguly fans, the former Indian captain produced a valiant innings that many saw as a fitting reply to the KKR authorities for letting him go. Fast forward a decade to the day, and David Warner did the same, albeit in a much grander fashion, against SRH. Warner’s unbeaten 92 against his ex-employers oozed class and control, but more than anything else, it released a lot of the pent-up resentment that Warner must have accumulated against the Orange Army in the most productive fashion possible.
The Tewatia Award for the Most Explosive Finish
Dinesh Karthik is a man on a mission in this IPL, having made clear his intentions of reclaiming his spot in the Indian team in time for this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. On form, there is simply no better Indian finisher in the IPL right now, barring the man this award is named after. The latest exhibition of Karthik’s explosive death-overs hitting came against SRH, with DK racing to 30 off just 8 balls, with half the deliveries dispatched for maximums. After being given an unlikely reprieve by SRH’s Tripathi, Karthik used the depth of the crease and his powerful wrists to great effect to plunder 16 runs off the last three balls of RCB’s innings, taking them past the 200 mark and ticking one more box in his quest to represent the Men in Blue Down Under.
Back with a Bang
Devon Conway has been in impeccable form since making his return to the CSK lineupBCCI
The only reason Devon Conway began the IPL season for CSK in the starting line-up was because Moeen Ali was yet to arrive in India. Having scored three off eight in his IPL bow, Conway gave the CSK management little reason to rejig their team combination to retain him once Moeen was part of the camp. But a string of low scores from Robin Uthappa necessitated a change at the top, and Conway was handed a second chance. In the three innings since, which have neatly coincided with Dhoni’s return to captaincy, Conway has accumulated 228 runs at a strike rate of 142.50. Against DC, Conway looked as if he had been batting on Indian pitches all his life, as he took the bowling attack to the cleaners, with a special liking for Kuldeep Yadav, who was dismissed to every possible part of the ground. Having come back with a bang, Conway has not just guaranteed himself a starting slot for the rest of the season, but also given CSK the impetus that just might help them make a sensational comeback.
The White Cap
With Ishan Kishan back among the runs for the Mumbai Indians (MI), the White Cap has changed heads again this week, with its new occupant being one of the nicest gentlemen to play the gentleman’s game, New Zealand and SRH captain Kane Williamson. With 199 runs in 11 games at a woeful strike rate of 96, Williamson has simply not been good enough for SRH with the bat, which raises the question whether he is still playing only because he is the captain. Against DC on Thursday, Williamson used up 11 balls for just four runs before being sent back by Anrich Nortje. Three days later, against RCB, he did not even get to open his account or face a ball, after being run out by Shahbaz Ahmed for a diamond duck. Over the last few weeks, we have seen how the White Cap has had a “bounce effect” on its wearer, and SRH would be hoping that the same holds true for Williamson. If Williamson remains in charge of our prized possession next Wednesday, SRH’s playoff hopes may be all but over.