The IPL has seen many great players over the years. Today we discuss why there’s only one man who deserves the title of Mr. IPL. Read on…
There have been numerous cricketers who made an impact bigger than what people thought in the IPL. The Indian Premiere League has proved to be a talent hunter from around the world.
In 2020, IPL completed its 13 successful seasons but some players have been inevitable since the first season. Some got lost in the limelight of the charm and some are still chasing the glory.
There are veterans and then there are youngsters who have come a long way to become a man of worth.
The one who stood against all of the odds and delivered consistently is termed Mr. IPL. More than that, it’s a professional term that means business.
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Who is called Mr. IPL and Why?
This is a tricky question. If we sit down to nominate some of the players, it may take a whole long list. Yet we cannot rule out every other player straightaway.
Whenever we think of IPL, one player always comes to mind, it is Chris Gayle. With almost 5000 runs with a strike rate of 149.46, he makes a strong case for the title.
He has been a match-winner but not a trophy winner. The same goes with our Mr 360, AB de Villiers.
Lasith Malinga would be a perfect man for this label but it’s not wrong to say that batsmen have remained a bit better with the limelight in this league.
There’s the Indian National Team’s captain and IPL’s leading run-getter Virat Kohli.
Rohit Sharma has lead the Mumbai Indians to 5 IPL title wins so doesn’t he a candidate for the Mr. IPL title?
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Another candidate for the Mr.IPL title would David Warner. Warner has won the most number of Orange Caps (3) in IPL history- in 2015, 2017, and 2019. He is also the 5th highest scorer of all time in IPL history with an average of 42 and a strike-rate of 140.
Now the million-dollar question is…who should be crowned as Mr. IPL?
Did you forget that guy with not-so-big looks but a classy left-handed batsman who hits the ball out of the park whenever he creates a bit of momentum with the bat?
Who could field like a hawk under the lights!? It’s no other than CSK’s very own Suresh Raina. He mostly bats at no.3 for the yellow army.
Let us unfold the reasons for him being Mr. IPL among all other superstars.
Why Suresh Raina is called Mr. IPL
Suresh Raina is a name that remained inevitable in white-ball cricket for India as well as in IPL for years. He made his ODI debut in 2005 vs Sri Lanka but IPL has been his biggest break since 2008.
Raina started with a bang finishing with 421 runs in the first season for CSK. He has played 12 complete seasons in which he made over 400 runs in every 9 of them.
He is the first player to reach 5000 runs in IPL. At a time, he was the top run-getter of IPL but now he sits at 3. He now has 5491 runs at a commendable average of 33.08.
Raina loves to bat according to the situation of the game but he is one of the most explosive batsmen.
He has hit 202 sixes in 200 matches which can be averaged as more than 1 six per match.
Over the years, he has established himself as the most crucial player in CSK’s eleven. He had a big hand in the journey of 3 title wins for Super Kings.
Let’s a take a look at Suresh Raina’s IPL stats:
Suresh Raina’s IPL career stats:
|IPL Title as a player||3|
|IPL salary||Rs. 11 crores|
He also captained Gujarat Lions for two years in 2016 and 2017 after CSK got dissolved due to fixing allegations.
Raina led the Lions to the top of the points table after the league stage in 2016 but was not able to qualify for the finals.
In the following year, the Lions finished 2nd from the bottom. But Raina was retained by CSK when the team returned in 2018 and created a fortune by winning the trophy in the comeback year.
Other than batting, Suresh Raina has been a gem of a fielder throughout the seasons. He has taken a total of 104 catches in 199 innings which are the most by any player in IPL.
One can judge his fastness by the fact that he has 12 more catches than the 2nd placed giant fielder Kieron Pollard.
He is a fine slip fielder as well as a brilliant boundary-line grabber which saves a lot of crucial runs for the team.
Raina is a handy bowler too. With home pitch assisting spin, his arms often prove to be an extra aid to the team.
He has 25 wickets with an economy of less than 8 which is quite beneficial in the T20 format.
He has played some great knocks over the years. He has 1 hundred and some good 90s knocks. Along with 39 fifties he has made plenty of impactful short-run knocks.
It will be unfair if we do not talk about his splendid innings in particular. So let us have a run over Raina’s top 5 knocks of IPL.
The Top 5 IPL Knocks of Suresh Raina
1. 87 off 25 balls against Kings 11 Punjab in 2014
This was probably the best knock of not only IPL but of T20 cricket. It was the second qualifier of the 2014 playoffs.
Punjab made a massive 226 runs with 4 wickets remaining in 20 overs with the help of a blistering batting by Virender Sehwag who made 122 runs.
In return, CSK was dismantled early with Mitchel Johnson taking the wicket of Du Plessis on the very second ball of the innings.
Mr. IPL Suresh Raina walked in at his usual no. 3 position. He smashed a four on his first ball later hit the second quickest fifty in IPL off 17 deliveries with a six in just 4.2 overs.
He charged up even more right after the wicket of Dwayne Smith. In the next over, everyone saw near impossible stuff from Suresh Raina.
He hit 2 sixes and 5 fours in the 7 ball-over from Parvinder Awana who ended up leaking 33 runs in the over.
CSK shot up to 100 runs in just 6 overs. But Raina got run out with a splendid throw by George Bailey. This ended a jubilant 87 runs off just 25 balls that included 12 fours and 6 sixes.
Later, CSK lost the plot and match by 24 runs which ended its IPL 2014 campaign. But Raina almost did the job for the team.
2. 100 off 53 balls against Kings 11 Punjab in 2013
This was his maiden and only century of the IPL. It was the 45th match of IPL 2013. CSK came to bat first but Mr. IPL entered the field in the 4th over after the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha.
Raina started very cautiously as he made only 14 runs off his first 15 balls. He slowly accelerated his scoring pace and notched up a fine half-century while facing 32 deliveries by the end of the 15th over.
He changed his gears swiftly in the death overs and started hit the ball out of the park. In no time Raina reached his first-ever hundred in IPL with a single on the last-second delivery of 20th over.
He remained unbeaten on exact 100 runs off 53 balls. He hit 7 fours and 6 sixes in the match powering his team to 186/4.
It proved to be a match-winning hundred as CSK defended the target by 15 runs.
This knock was important for Raina as he already missed his 2 tons by one run and another by two. He is the only player who made all 98, 99, and 100 in T20 format.
3. 99 off 52 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013
2013 was a great year for Mr. IPL Suresh Raina. This knock came just after his maiden hundred which came 2 matches before.
In this match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, CSK openers gave a good start of 45 runs before falling. Then came Raina in 6th over but he started carefully until he went down the track to spank a massive 6 at a spin delivery.
He completed his fifty in 35 balls. He respected Dale Steyn but took on every other bowler. After he got the momentum, he hit 23 runs in the 17th over.
He needed 5 runs on the last ball of the innings but he was able to hit a boundary to remain not out at a score of 99 in just 52 deliveries.
He made two big partnerships, one with Michael Hussey of 133 runs and another with Ravindra Jadeja of 40 runs with a major contribution.
CSK finished with 223/4. SRH was completely outplayed by the yellow army. They were bundled out for 146 runs leading to a CSK win by 77 runs.
It was a gem of a knock considering that it came against one of the most skillful bowling attacks. At the end of the IPL, he bagged 548 runs at an outstanding average of 42.15.
4. 57 off 35 balls against Mumbai Indians in 2010
This was a pressure knock as it came in the final of 2010 IPL against Mumbai Indians. CSK came to bat first but the openers started with an over-cautious approach.
They added 43 runs in the first 7 overs followed by a wicket in the next. After Raina came, another wicket of Matthew Hayden fell.
The batting was under immense pressure as the wickets kept falling at the other end but Raina stood holding his nerve.
With a crucial knock by Dhoni, Raina added 72 runs with him. He rinsed out 19 and 12 runs in the 16th and 17th over which tool CSK to a respectable score.
He made sure that he batted till the last ball of the innings. He made a fine 57 runs off 35 balls which powered CSK to 168/5.
Later, his innings came out to be victorious as CSK clinched its first-ever IPL trophy. They were able to restrict MI at 146 runs with 22 runs short of the targeted score.
5. 73 off 50 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore
It was 1st Qualifying Final when the two strongest teams met at Mumbai in 2011. RCB batted first and set a target of 176 runs with the help of Virat Kohli’s masterclass of 70 runs off 44 balls.
CSK did not start well as their two wickets were knocked out in the first two overs. It meant that batters need to settle down on the pitch to score some runs.
At a time, CSK was 36/2 after the end of the 8th over. After the wicket of Badrinath, Raina started to take chances.
Raina completed a gritty half-ton in 41 balls. He, along with Dhoni added 61 quick runs. Raina kept CSK until the very last over as Morkel hit a 6 to power his team to a win and into the finals.
Raina remained unbeaten on a score of 73 runs off 50 balls which included 4 fours and 6 marvelous sky-rocketed sixes.
As we say, even a low score that brings victory is better than any hundred that results in a loss.
So, these were just 5 knocks that show the professionalism of Suresh Raina. Mr. IPL has played those kinds of knocks quite frequently.
Suresh Raina is not just like any other player. Our Mr. IPL has been a man of principles. He changes his words into actions.
He has inspired the youth not only with his batting but his thoughts also. He is a perfect team man. He is the first guy to hug and give a high five to the bowler when the wicket comes.
Raina celebrates other’s success more than his own. More than that he knows how to value the game within the limits of the sportsman’s spirit.
Words will come down to a scarceness if we sit down to write about how good of a human being Suresh Raina truly is.
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So, we have picked Suresh Raina as Mr. IPL 2021 and have given the reasons why he is so. He might have retired from the international circuit but he has a lot left in him for the IPL.
We wish that he never retires but every good thing has to end. Let us just enjoy his greatness while he is playing out there in the middle. Let us cheer him like the way he cheers others!