With the final match rescheduled on 29 May 2023 due to heavy rains washing out the Sunday’s schedule both the finalists CSK & Gujarat Titans wait with bated breath for the match to start without further rain intervention, we look back at how the captains of the 10 IPL teams fared this season with ratings on 10
MS Dhoni :
Starting the season with all sorts of problems in the bowling department with injuries to Mukesh Chaudhury and Simarjeet Singh both of whom were impressive last season as well as the lingering injury to pace bowling mainstay Deepak Chahar , Dhoni moulded his team with whatever bowling resources he had and created a matchwinner out of a young Sri Lankan quick Matheesha Pathirana making him bowl the challenging death overs & the quick with his unorthodox action came out with flying colours. As usual Dhoni used his spin trio beautifully and in batting unleashed Shivam Dube at the right times when 6s are required . Dhoni also backed Rahane which helped the Indian veteran to play some glorious knocks at number 3 . Dhoni used himself as a batter in last few balls with generally to good effect and he was safe as a keeper . 2023 saw the best of Dhoni as a captain that resulted in CSK reaching the final despite all odds . Rating ( 9/10 ) .
Winning the title first time is one achievement but following it up to play another final the very next season as a reigning champion is a great big tick mark to Hardik Pandya as captain . Hardik kept things simple and used his strong bowling resources to a nicety . He ensured that there was not much chopping and changing and helped in keeping up the momentum in style that helped Gujarat to finish at the top of the league table with minimum of effort . Personally bowled sparingly (3 wickets ) but batted well in some matches (325 runs, 134 strike rate ) though he has not been at his blistering hitting mode . Rating (8/10) .
Rohit Sharma :
Like CSK , Mumbai Indians had their bowling issues . Bumrah was out of IPL and Archer after playing a few games got injured again and finally left . Bowling continued to be a worry right through for Rohit Sharma as only veteran Piyush Chawla was consistent. Mumbai were winning games exclusively due to their powerhouse batting and despite all their bowling struggles Rohit Sharma succeeded in getting his team sneak through into the playoffs . However he struggled in his own batting scoring a modest 332 runs at 133 strike rate and 20 average . Overall captaincy rating (7/10) .
KL Rahul , Krunal Pandya
LSG lost KL Rahul midway into the season through an injury. Till then Rahul was having a tough time as few wins were followed by a few crucial losses despite having a good team . Raul’s deputy Krunal Pandya tried his best to improve matters and LSG just about limped into the playoffs under him only to lose to Mumbai Indians in the eliminator. Both Rahul and Krunal had mediocre performances as players this season with only a few good sparks . Ratings KL Rahul (4.5/10) , Krunal Pandya (5.5 /10)
Rajasthan Royals was regarded as the most talented side in this season and one expected them to be a sure shot team for the playoffs. However after a strong first half , the team fell from a cliff in the second half and kept losing games . Finally they were knocked out before reaching playoffs . Sanju Samson has his good moments as captain but not been able to lead this well balanced team into the playoffs and not been able to score in some crucial games will go against his ratings . As a batter 362 runs at 153 strike rate was decent but more was needed out of him . Rating (5/10) .
RCB goes through another year without a title. They had a decent bowling attack and a top quality high performing top order . Unfortunately the middle and lower order’s continued frailties costed them dear . To his credit Faf Duplessis performed brilliantly as an individual with 730 runs at 56 average and 154 strike rate and led the team well overall but crucial errors by the team in a few important games took its toll . Rating (6/10) .
KKR looked an unsettled unit even before the start of the season and Shreyas Iyer’s injury was a big blow which catapulted Nitish Rana to the captains chair . With a dubious top order and a few out of form superstars , KKR huffed and puffed throughout the season but did have a few sparking moments . Nitish Rana learnt a lot during this season as a captain and performed decently with the bat overall (413 runs 32 average , 141 strike rate ) . KKR s away wins over CSK , GT and RCB were big ticks for Rana’s captaincy but he also copped criticism for bowling the first over to an in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal in the home game against Rajasthan Royals and was taken for 26 runs, a well thought out gamble (offie to lefty) that failed . Overall a decent captaincy performance. Rating (6.5/10) .
Dhawan actually had a very average season as a captain. Punjab Kings came up with some stellar performances but immediately followed it up with a few below average ones . One of the strongest batting lineups and a decent bowling attack , they under Dhawan could not perform with any consistency despite raising playoff hopes from time to time . Dhawan himself had a decent season with the bat ( 373 runs, 41 average, 142 strike rate) but could have done much better as a captain being such an experienced cricketer . Rating (5/10) .
David Warner :
A very underwhelming season for Warner as a captain and a batter. Delhi Capitals despite having a quality team could not perform well. Of course they missed Pant but they had a good core . Poor form of the Indian batters including Shaw made Warner’s job difficult . However not using Axar Patel as a number 4 or 5 batter was poor strategy . Their bowling had their good moments which helped Delhi to improve their performance in the latter half but it was too late . As a batter Warner scored runs ( 516 runs at 37 average) but his 131 strike rate was much below par and as a captain , had a disappointing season. Rating (4/10) .
Sunrisers Hyderabad was expected to be the dark horse this season with the talent they possessed but they flattered to deceive and too many chopping ,changing after each defeat further got them into a hole . Aiden Markram struggled to lift the team as a captain and his own mediocre performance ( 248 runs , 23 average , 126 strike rate) did not help matters at all . Rating (3/10)