Top five knocks of IPL 2023
Just over two weeks into the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the tournament has already enthralled us with some magnificent batting performances. Over 15 games and 30 innings, we have witnessed some high-class displays with the bat in hand across the board in IPL 2023.
To trim down these scintillating performances into a list of the top 5 would be a major headache. But the quality always shines through. Hence, the innings with the sternest possible opposition challenge faced can be assigned greater weightage and overall value.
Below then is a list of the top 5 knocks played in IPL 2023 so far, determined on the basis of the quality of the opposition attack faced and the situation that the given player encountered with his innings in the middle. These would evolve and be updated over time through the course of the season.
IPL 2023 top five knocks
Shikhar Dhawan 99* vs SRH
This might go down as the best knock played in the tournament. Dhawan's exceptional hand in the league stage encounter versus the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) not only reinforced his pedigree but also his status as one of India's finest modern-day cricketers.
The Punjab Kings (PBKS) skipper outperformed all of his teammates, who managed only 44 at the loss of 8 wickets even as the experienced left-hander stood tall at the other end, finishing just short of what would've been the most well-deserving of T20 centuries.
Ruturaj Gaikwad 92 vs GT
Gaikwad gave IPL 2023 a perfect start with terrific knock versus defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT). Facing an attack featuring international standard quality in presence of Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph and Mohammad Shami on an Ahmedabad surface that kept a touch slow, Gaikwad allowed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to post a competitive 178/7 with his innings of 92, featuring 4 fours and 9 sixes.
It was a telling example of how far the Maharashtra and India batter has come with his game. Making improvements against fast-bowling, and expanding his range, Gaikwad stood unleashed on his return to the CSK jersey. It would take some doing to displace this knock from the list.
Tilak Varma 84* vs RCB
If there were doubts that Mumbai Indians' (MI) young talented left-hander Tilak Varma might face the second-season blues heading into IPL 2023, the batter dispelled those with an stupendous knock of 84 not out in the fixture against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Another of the stand-out efforts, Varma helped MI paper over their top-order struggles and retain some level of competitiveness with RCB.
Featuring 9 fours and 4 sixes during his 46-ball stay, his knock allowed MI to post 171/7 even as the next highest score for the innings was only 21 from Nehal Wadhera. Like Dhawan's imposing 99* versus SRH, Verma's knock, too, ended in a defeat. But so often it's these knocks that are the hardest to compile.
Shardul Thakur 68 vs RCB
The RCB were at the receiving end of another IPL 2023's most valiant batting efforts. This time the protagonist was Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) lower-order aggressor Shardul Thakur. Known more for his bowling, Thakur came up with an exceptional act, blazing it away for 68 off just 29 deliveries when KKR looked like losing the plot irredeemably.
From 4 for 89 in the 12th over, they managed to reach 204/7 by the close of the 20th over. It was thanks to a match-winning partnership with the talented Rinku Singh that Thakur dominated with an innings comprising 9 fours and 3 sixes. The player vindicated the faith shown by the KKR franchise, which had traded him in from the Delhi Capitals (DC).
Kyle Mayers 73 vs DC
Very rarely do we see a batter managing to completely overcome the challenge posed by the conditions in the shortest format. Kyle Mayers played one such knock in the league stage encounter versus the Delhi Capitals (DC) on the driest, slowest surface of the competition in Lucknow.
Playing their campaign opener only because Quinton de Kock was unavailable, the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) cricketer made his first, and potentially last, opportunity count with a blistering 73 off just 38 balls.
On a track where no other batter from either side managed to impose himself on the proceedings, Mayers struck the code with a rate of scoring of 192.10 and singlehandedly took LSG to a game-sealing 193/6 when the next highest score was 36 from Nicholas Pooran.