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Feature

When some IPL stars turned up the heat against their exes in 2022

This IPL has seen a few feisty reunions, featuring Warner, Rashid, Kuldeep, Chahal, and others

Yash Jha
07-May-2022
A player-franchise association of years breaks down every few years. Now with a new home side, a player meets his old friend and turns up big against them. It's a script that plays out often and with much interest around it. Like in football, the IPL, now that it is a decade-and-a-half into existence, is seeing its own share of feisty reunions, and a fair few players have turned the heat on their past employers this season. We pick the most notable such contributions so far in IPL 2022:
David Warner (Delhi Capitals): 92* (58) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Brabourne Stadium
It's hard to think of a more publicly acrimonious fallout in the IPL than the one between Sunrisers and Warner in 2021: team legend, he led them to the 2016 title, three Orange Caps in six completed seasons alone for Sunrisers, and yet reduced to a reserve.
Warner quashed any arguments of how much was left in the tank with a Player-of-the-Tournament medal in Australia's title win at the T20 World Cup that followed the IPL season last year. Well into this IPL campaign came his chance to take on his team of the previous seven years.
He grabbed it with both hands, playing that quintessential Warner knock that had heralded so many Sunrisers victories in the past: cautious to begin with, unaffected by wickets at the other end, upping the gears with ease, and batting it out till the end. He took his time and picked his battles - 15 off 13 balls against Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but 47 off 25 versus Umran Malik and Kartik Tyagi combined - and was the fulcrum of Capitals' charge to 207 for 3, which proved too good for his old team.
Rashid Khan (Gujarat Titans): 31*(11) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Wankhede Stadium
The absence of Rashid from Sunrisers' list of retained players ahead of the 2022 auction sparked off the most blazing debate with many questioning the franchise owners and team management's logic.
It turned out to be an evening to forget for Rashid when he came on to bowl against Sunrisers. It was probably the familiarity that helped Sunrisers' batters taking Rashid apart: he conceded 40-plus runs for only the third time in the IPL, with Abhishek Sharma smashing him for 34 from just 15 balls.
But Titans - who had gleefully lapped Rashid up as one of their three draft picks - would have the final laugh.
The tie seemed beyond Titans with 56 needed from the final four overs when Rashid joined Rahul Tewatia in the middle. The equation became 37 off 14 after Rashid hit his first six - a helicopter flick off Bhuvneshwar - and some blows from Tewatia brought it down to 15 off four, with Rashid on strike, facing Marco Jansen. Six, dot, six, six: a stunning sequence left Sunrisers seething, the usually-calm Muthiah Muralidaran fuming, and Titans extending their stay at the top of the table.
Wriddhiman Saha (Gujarat Titans): 68 (38) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Wankhede Stadium
That Titans were still in the hunt in the back-end of that chase was down to another ex-Sunrisers man. Saha got a late entry into the XI after the move to play Matthew Wade at the top didn't work, and he hadn't done much in his first two outings (11 off 18 and 25 off 25).
But he took the attack to Sunrisers, comfortably outscoring Shubman Gill in a strong start to Titans' pursuit of 196. The openers faced 18 balls each in the powerplay - Saha scored 39 and Gill 15. Saha brought up a 28-ball fifty and continued to motor on, leaving Titans with 74 to get off 40 balls by the time he was done.
Saha was fluent against his former Sunrisers team-mates, taking 10 from seven balls off Bhuvneshwar and 13 off six off T Natarajan, while taking Marco Jansen to the cleaners: 26 off nine balls, laced with four fours and a six.
Kuldeep Yadav (Delhi Capitals) : 4 for 35, Brabourne Stadium and 4 for 14, Wankhede Stadium, both vs Kolkata Knight Riders
From 2019 to 2021, Kuldeep Yadav had bowled 270 balls for Knight Riders in the IPL and picked up just five wickets. By the time he bowled his 27th delivery against them this season, the Capitals' lead spinner had crossed that tally, and he is the second-highest wicket-taker this IPL right now.
The first rubber was a high-scoring clash at Brabourne, and Kuldeep had gone wicketless while conceding 28 runs from his first 16 balls - but his last eight deliveries would decisively turn the game in Capitals' favour. He had Shreyas Iyer stumped for 54 off 33 before dismissing Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav in the space of four balls - the last an excellent caught-and-bowled effort.
Kuldeep took it to another level 18 days later. After getting rid of B Indrajith and Narine off consecutive deliveries in his first over, he got the wickets of Shreyas and Andre Russell in his third. It could have been more than a four-for, but Capitals - for some reason - didn't bowl out Kuldeep's quota.
Yuzvendra Chahal (Rajasthan Royals): 2 for 15 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Wankhede Stadium
Chahal's exclusion from Royal Challengers' shortlist was one of the talking points when the retentions were announced ahead of the mega auction. Between 2014 and 2021, Chahal picked up 139 wickets in 113 games for Royal Challengers; no bowler took more wickets in the IPL in that period.
That provided enough intrigue as the legspinner lined up against his old unit early in the 2022 season, and although his new team - Royals - couldn't get the win, Chahal was arguably the best bowler on the night. He returned superlative figures of 2 for 15 from his four overs, accounting for Faf du Plessis and David Willey, and also playing a part in the run out of his former captain Virat Kohli.
Rahul Tripathi (Sunrisers Hyderabad): 71 (37) vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Brabourne Stadium
With 397 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 140, Tripathi was key to Knight Riders' run to the final last season and second only to Gill on their run-scoring charts. Knight Riders did stay in pursuit of him till the INR 6-crore mark at this year's auction, before seeing Sunrisers eventually acquire the 31-year-old for INR 8.5 crore (USD 1.1 million approx.).
Tripathi walked out early in Sunrisers' chase of 176, and took the attack to Knight Riders. Sunrisers went from 15 for 1 at the end of the third over to 105 for 2 after 11, with Tripathi flaying 53 of those runs off just 23 balls. He was particularly severe on Varun Chakravarthy, taking 19 runs from six balls off him, including two magnificently-driven sixes on the off side.
Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran (Sunrisers Hyderabad) vs Punjab Kings, DY Patil Stadium
Markram and Pooran had been part of the Punjab Kings line-up that found ways to not finish over the line in 2021. The pair, most notably, was in the middle for that Kartik Tyagi over last year when Kings contrived to lose to Royals in Dubai.
So what could be more IPL than the same duo being tasked to finish off a chase against Kings? It wasn't the most nerve-wracking equation - 75 needed from 57 balls when Pooran joined Markram in the middle - but they assembled knowing there wasn't a lot to follow for Sunrisers. Shashank Singh, who hadn't batted in the IPL until then, was slated at No. 6, and J Suchith at No. 7.
They took Sunrisers home with little trouble. Markram was fluent in his 41 off 27, Pooran solid in his 30-ball 35, and Sunrisers were over the line with seven balls to spare.