Rashid Khan is known to be one of the best leg-spinners around the world and especially in the shorter format of the game. However, Rashid is shining with his bat in IPL 2022 as well playing two game-changing knocks against CSK and SRH in the tournament so far adding one more element to his game.
IPL 2022 has been a remarkable journey for Gujarat Titans so far. Before the mega auction for IPL 2022, they picked Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, and Shubhman Gill in the player draft. In the auction, they bought the likes of Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, and Joseph Alzarri which strengthened their bowling composition. David Miller has also been in fine touch and he has strengthened the lower order of the team.
GT were making their debut in the most competitive league around the world and it wasn’t going to be easy for them. However, they are sitting at the top of the points table as the tournament is almost at halfway stage. Hardik Pandya’s leadership was a questionable decision as he doesn’t have any experience of captaincy before. However, he hasn’t only excelled well in the role but is also leading from the front with his performances.
Apart from Pandya, one more retention has been pivotal for GT. Rashid Khan was their primary pick and he has been instrumental in the journey of the team so far. Rashid has been lethal with his bowling and there is not an iota of doubt about that. He has 34 Test wickets from five matches, 151 wickets from 80 ODIs, and 105 wickets from 58 T20Is. He has been impressive in international cricket with his bowling but has also scored five fifties in ODIs. He is an impressive bowler in international cricket but his aura is unmatched in the various leagues.
With a reputation of being a wicket-taker formed by playing all these years in IPL, the batters now don’t take risks against him. In IPL 2022, batters have handled Rashid with a defensive approach and so he has been not taking many wickets but he has scalped eight wickets from eight matches with an outstanding economy of 7.09. His economy is a testament to the kind of fear he has sowed in the hearts of the batters. He bowls his leg-spin and variation at a rapid pace and that becomes difficult for batters to read. They usually miss the line of the ball and walk back to the pavilion as a result. He has played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the previous season and the franchise not retaining him was a shocking move. He has been phenomenal in the IPL taking 101 wickets from 84 matches with an economy of just 6.40. He was going to be a great spin option for GT but this time around Rashid has also played a vital role with the bat in a couple of matches to solve an issue GT might have faced.
Going into the IPL 2022, the responsibility of finishing the innings was going to be on the shoulders of Rahul Tewatia and Hardik Pandya. David Miller was also in the team but his IPL numbers were not so impressive as he had scored only 124 runs in 2021 while 213 runs in 2019. In such a scenario the batting lacked depth and also Hardik started playing in the middle-order for the team. In such a scenario, the teal lacked batting depth and trouble due to a lack of finisher in the lower order was on cards.
Rashid had scored two ducks in the first five games for his franchise. It appeared from this record that the team lacked batting depth and they might face trouble finishing the innings. In the game against Chennai Super Kings, the team was chasing a target of 170 runs. However, they were reduced to 87/5 at one stage. David Miller was the rescuer for the team with his half-century but Rashid played a perfect supporting act by playing a cameo. His knock was so effective that it turned the game on its head and a tough target was within the reach of the team.
Rashid plundered 25 runs from a single over off Chris Jordan and that tilted the game in favour of GT. His second six in the over towards square was scored on a brilliant slice. His sixes in the leg-side were played in a very stylish manner and that not only scored runs but they also crushed the morale of the bowler. His cameo of 40 runs from 21 balls helped GT win the game by three wickets in the last over.
His next brilliance with the bat came against Sunrisers Hyderabad. SRH have been on a winning streak after their defeats in the first couple of games in the tournament. Against SRH, it was one of the worst days for him with the ball as he leaked 45 runs without taking any wicket. The opposition posted a total of 195/6 and chasing such a huge total was going to be a tough task.
GT were reduced to 140/5 when Rashid walked in to bat. He had suffered a bad day while bowling but he still believed in himself to succeed with the bat. He managed to score 47 runs from three overs shared by quality bowlers like T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Marco Jansen He was calmness personified in the middle and was playing calmly in the final over.
He produced a remarkable finish getting a boundary to seal the win as three runs were needed on the final delivery. In such a game, when Rashid was taken to the cleaners with the ball he found a way to bounce back with the bat. It was a kind of poetic justice as he steered his team over the finishing line against the team he was a part of.