74 matches and over two months of an action-filled cricket extravaganza saw Gujarat Titans better all their opponents and eventually come up trumps in their debut year. Led by an inspirational skipper in Hardik Pandya and backed by consummate team performances, they overcame the lack of heavy star power in their ranks to stun all opposition and raise the trophy in a rather lopsided final against the Rajasthan Royals.
The tournament witnessed a plethora of stars, however, with each team giving it their all to try and upstage the others. Based on how they fared in IPL 2022, what follows is the summarization of the Dream XI that took the field this season, winning trophies and hearts every time they stepped out into the middle.
#1. Jos Buttler:
Perhaps this one slot in this playing eleven will be the most predictable of all. Amassing a Herculean 863 runs while slamming four record-equaling hundreds at an average of 57.53 and a beastly strike rate of around 150, Buttler served it hot almost every time he took the field for Rajasthan Royals. He holds the record for most sixes and fours this year, is behind only Virat Kohli’s godly 973 runs on the list for scoring the highest amount of runs in a season, is tied with him for having scored four tons in a year, and won the Orange Cap in a season where he was ahead of the second-highest run-scorer by a mind-boggling 247 runs.
He endured a lean period of 3-4 matches toward the back end of the tournament but came good in the playoffs again, bludgeoning over 200 runs while becoming the only batsman to ever do so in the playoffs. His heroics weren’t enough for RR to get over the line, but his purple patch grants him an easy in on this list of ours as an opener.
#2. Quinton de Kock:
The Protea’s keeper-bat had to leave his team MI behind to get aboard new franchise Lucknow Super Giants, but he carried his sublime hitting prowess along for the trip. Standing third on the list of run-getters this season, having gathered 508 runs at an average of around 36 and a solid strike rate of 148.97, QDK made the most of his chances at the top of the order for LSG. Combining with India’s Mr. 360 and skipper KL Rahul, QDK launched into Powerplay assaults with aplomb every time he walked out to bat. His clean hitting made him live by the sword and die by it, resulting in a modest average but a top score of 140*, a season record, against KKR. He comes in on our dream list at number 2, opening alongside the fiery Englishman in a fine left-right combination.
#3. KL Rahul (C):
A designated opener himself, Rahul finds himself at number 3 in this playing eleven because of his ability to bat throughout the order and because QDK is a better option while opening, given that he is left-handed. KL has breached stratospheric limits when it comes to consistency in the IPL – he became the first batsman to score 600 runs in 4 seasons when he slammed 661 in 2022 and the first to score 500 runs every season for five seasons on the trot: he had scored 593 in 2019. A sound skipper and an able ’keeper, his addition to any playing IPL eleven is an automatic choice for our Dream Team. He had a good season in 2022 for LSG, ending up second on the run-scorers’ list, but was thoroughly overshadowed by the maniacal season Buttler had.
#4. Rajat Patidar:
There would be few who would back this unheralded youngster to find his way into this list, but such has been his impact in the limited opportunities he has been given, he has outdone the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana to claim the number 4 spot in this Dream Team. Having batted only seven innings for RCB, the young southpaw slammed two fifties and cracked a sublime hundred against LSG to help eliminate them, scoring 333 runs at an average of 55.50 and a magnificent strike rate of 152.75. Much will be expected of the youngster in the coming seasons.
#5. Hardik Pandya:
Playing Hardik Pandya as a specialist batsman and not an all-rounder might have been heady talk some time back, but he has asserted his usefulness with the bat in hand as a responsible anchor and devastating finisher in this season. He top-scored for GT with 487 runs while leading them, scoring at 44.27 and striking at a modest 131.26, and was seen playing a role hitherto unseen by the talismanic all-rounder – that of being the batsman around whom others rallied to score runs. He also bowled with a fair bit of bite, picking three wickets in the final and winning the Man of The Match Award. Arguably one of his best seasons yet, Pandya may well be on the path to getting back into the India team as well, judging from Venkatesh Iyer’s lean returns.
#6. Dinesh Karthik(wk):
The second RCB player on this list, and along with Patidar, one of the names no one could have predicted to have been on this list, although for different reasons. Burdened with captaincy and in a questionable team environment at KKR for several seasons, DK’s runs had dried up, and it seemed like his career was about to teeter off the edge.
That was not to be the case, however, as Karthik got a fresh lease of life at RCB. Cracking 330 runs at an average of 55 and a screaming strike rate of 183.33, incidentally higher than that of IPL giant Andre Russell’s, Karthik’s return to form has been one of the talking points this season. His capacity to finish chases or add the extra incentive toward the death while setting totals has been brought to the fore even as it seemed he had aged younger this season. His sound wicketkeeping skills and experience make him the primary wicketkeeper for our Dream Eleven.
#7. Andre Russell:
One of the standout all-rounders this year, as has been the case most years, Andre Russell had been KKR’s trump card. He was the side’s highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps, with best figures of 5-4, and he also lashed 335 runs at a strike rate of over 174, becoming the side’s third-highest scorer in the process. In a phase of the IPL for KKR marred by change and inconsistency, Russell’s returns have been reliable, and his exploits at the death are the stuff of legend. His death-overs bowling is spectacular, and he could prove to be an able pace all-rounder partner to Hardik Pandya in our eleven.
#8. Kagiso Rabada:
A pace merchant who can bat a fair bit? Kagiso Rabada has been a revelation of sorts with a bat in hand, be it in the IPL or for South Africa. While nowhere near the likes of Pat Cummins as a batsman, what helps him edge out the Aussie star is his lethal pace bursts, which helped him scalp 23 wickets for PBKS. An all-format wonder like Jasprit Bumrah, Rabada’s cutting-edge pace and game awareness helps him keep his place on this side at Dream XI’s number eight.
#9. Wanindu Hasaranga:
The Sri Lankan mystery-spinner was roped in by RCB last year when he had an indifferent season, but he showed up all guns blazing this year, ensnaring 26 victims and falling just one shy of Yuzvendra Chahal’s tally of 27 in the race to the Purple Cap. His variations and ability to extract turn from the greener surfaces as well probably made him a better bowler than Chahal in IPL 2022. His middle-overs control and ability to tonk a few balls out of the park make him a ready pick at number 9 for this Dream XI.
#10. Mohsin Khan:
A veritable find of the season, the young Mohsin Khan has impressed one and all with his genuine variations and raw pace. Bowling in tandem with the exuberant Avesh Khan for LSG, Mohsin ran a tight ship whenever he came on to bowl, keeping an economy under 6 runs an over, which is gold dust in this format. He picked 14 wickets in the nine matches he bowled and may have picked quite a few more if he had played the full season. Much will be expected from the likes of the two Khans and Umran Malik in the coming seasons.
#11. Yuzvendra Chahal:
Capping off our Dream list at number 11 is Yuzi Chahal of Rajasthan Royals. Let go by RCB despite being their wrecker-in-chief for several seasons, Chahal turned on the heat this year, bagging 27 wickets in spite of a late-season dip in form. His is a comeback story of sorts, what with him being gradually phased out of the Indian team owing to poor international returns, but this year’s performance has gotten him back on the roadmap. Alongside Kuldeep Yadav, who crafted a comeback of his own this year, Chahal can wreak havoc for Team India. As for this playing eleven, Chahal bowling in tandem with Wanindu Hasaranga can spell doom for any opposition batter, and he fits in perfectly to round off our best playing eleven from IPL 2022.
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