BENGALURU: Wicket-keepers play an important role in any team’s prospects, but their importance increases manifold in the T20 format. Not only do they have to don gloves and acquit themselves with distinction, wicketkeepers are also required to come good with the bat and unfurl brisk innings.
Here are the three best wicketkeepers of the IPL 2022:
Dinesh Karthik: Dinesh Karthik has perhaps been the most impactful wicketkeeper-batsman of the IPL 2022. He has been tremendously skilful behind the stumps with 8 catches and one stumping. But more importantly, he has reeled off a slew of blistering cameos at critical junctures to win many matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Playing the role of a finisher to the tee, whether his team is batting first or chasing the target, his sterling performances have been instrumental in RCB’s success this season.
Whether an unbeaten 66 off 34 balls against Delhi Capitals, 30 off 8 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad or 44 off 23 balls against Rajasthan Royals, all his turbocharged innings came at important stages of the matches and propelled the fortunes of Bangalore.
Overall, he has scored 285 runs so far at a terrific average of 57. Crucially, the strike-rate of 192.57 is quite telling.
At the age of 36, he’s making a huge statement and has compelled Indian selectors to consider him for a place in the Indian squad for the upcoming World T20.
Sanju Samson: Sanu Samson was embroiled in a controversy just before the IPL 2022 began as the social media manager of his franchise Rajasthan Royals was fired for posting a disparaging tweet about him.
However, Samson, the captain of Rajasthan Royals, has shown appreciable gumption as a captain in the season. His wicketkeeping has also been spectacular as he has rarely missed a beat. So far, he has grabbed 11 catches and effected two stumpings in the tournament.
As far as the batting is concerned, Jos Buttler has been the star for Rajasthan. He is the leading run scorer of the tournament so far (627 runs) and has blasted three tubthumping centuries. Because of Buttler’s rumbustious form, Rajasthan has got off to breezy starts in most of the matches and that has made things slightly easier for Samson.
The 27-year-old has sensibly played second fiddle to Buttler and has cobbled up several vital partnerships. His 46 off just 19 balls against Delhi, when Buttler cracked 116, helped Rajasthan reach 222-2 in 20 overs. Against Kolkata Knight Riders, he blitzed 38 off just 19 balls and supported Buttler, who thumped 103, to the hilt.
Overall, he has 359 runs this season so far at a robust strike-rate of 153.42.
MS Dhoni: IPL 2022 has been a roller-coaster ride for MS Dhoni who quit the captaincy just before the tournament. However, since new captain Ravindra Jadeja looked like a fish out of the water as a captain, it was Dhoni who set the field and took tactical decisions. But in the middle of the tournament, Jadeja was stripped of the captaincy and Dhoni once again took over the reins.
Chennai’s performance in the season so far has been dismal having lost 9 out of 13 matches. They have crashed out of the tournament but Dhoni’s reputation as a wicketkeeper and finisher remains undiminished.
In the match against Mumbai, Chennai needed 17 runs off the last over. When Dhoni came at the strike, the equation changed to 16 off 4 balls. However, Dhoni stepped up and once again pulled off a Houdini act by smashing four off the last ball.
Though overall he has scored only 160 runs in the tournament so far, his average is an impressive 34.33 because he has remained unbeaten in most of the matches. Moreover, out of Mumbai’s four wins, two came because of Dhoni’s vital contribution.