After picking up 19 wickets in TATA IPL 2022, our talismanic leg-spinner picked up things exactly where he left last season.
Not many bowlers in the world have matched Rashid Khan’s consistency over the last few years. Everywhere he goes, our Titan stamps his authority and in the opening match of TATA IPL 2023 against Chennai Super Kings, he was at his clinical best on a track that offered very little to the bowlers.
It all began with a magnificent flipper that bamboozled Moeen Ali. He was adjudged LBW but alas, the DRS spoiled the party for the Gujarat Titans. However, Rashid took only two deliveries to redeem himself. This time, it was the googly that did the trick, picking up a thin outside edge off the English all-rounder’s bat.
As it turned out, this was the fourth instance of our Afghan leggie getting the better of Moeen Ali in TATA IPL. In the seven innings Rashid has bowled to Moeen, he has dismissed the left-hander four times, equalling his best record against a batter in this tournament. Shikhar Dhawan is the other batter who has been castled four times by our vice-captain.
They say in the cricketing circles that leg-spinners against left-handers is a risk, but for Rashid, it is a challenge he welcomes with open arms.
In his next over, he went on to dismiss the English Test skipper Ben Stokes as well, scalping two big wickets in a trice. On a day when the batters scored at nine-an-over, Rashid nonchalantly returned with figures of two for 26 in his four overs, once again showing why he is one of T20 cricket’s MVPs.
While his bowling exploits alone make him a prized asset, time and again, he yields his bat like a sword and smacks it big! Imagine yourself in that tense situation - wickets falling down, with the required rate well over 12, in front of a packed house at the world’s largest stadium.
Rashid said “Thank you very much” and soaked in all the pressure so easily, you would wonder if there was anybody watching him. That’s what Rashid does, and that’s why he is one of the best.
Gujarat Titans registered the highest run-chase in T20s so far at the Narendra Modi Stadium and began their pursuit for excellence in style. With magicians like Rashid Khan on our roster, one thing is assured, that he will leave all of us awe-struck.