Among the greatest batsmen India has ever produced, Ajinkya Rahane turns 35 on June 6, 2023. The Mumbai-born player will forever be enshrined in Indian folklore, especially for his prowess in Tests, but he is no slouch when it comes to white-ball cricket.
Opened the innings for India in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the T20 World Cup and was the controversial no. Rahane, who has almost secured the No. 4 spot, has also won moments in limited overs cricket.
Moreover, he also boasts of a successful IPL career on his resume with a high-impact stint with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL).
The veteran batsman was picked up for his base price in CSK’s 2023 mini-auction. Initially regarded as a bench warmer, Rahane was called into action after just two matches due to an injury to Ben Stokes. Instead of his usual opening slot, Rahane was handed the number three role with clarity and freedom.
Rahane made the most of his opportunity and became one of the franchise’s most important players in a season that ended in silverware. He scored 326 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 172.49.
Along with being aggressive, the batter showed glimpses of the class he is so famous for.
On that note, let’s take a look at Ajinkya Rahane’s 3 best shots in IPL 2023.
#1 Reverse lap and ramp shots (KKR vs CSK; Eden Gardens, Kolkata)
Rahane had one of his best IPL performances in the league clash against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens. After a good start by the openers, he came in and continued the momentum with an unadulterated and raw attack.
The veteran batter is not generally one associated with unusual shots. However, he made the most of his red-hot form by unleashing some jaw-dropping shots to embrace his inner Mr.360, which stunned the KKR bowlers.
He played a scoop shot against Umesh Yadav early in his innings and even pulled off a reverse lap against Kulwant Khejrolia in the death overs. Finally he scored 71 runs not out in 29 balls.
#2 Spectacular straight drive (MI vs CSK; Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai)
Rahane made his debut this season during a high-profile match against Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Wankhede Stadium. A clinical bowling performance left CSK chasing 157 in 20 overs.
The run chase started with a bang after Devon Conway was dismissed for a duck in the very first over, forcing Rahane to come in to bat. He made the most of the powerplay with minimal risk and showed his class in the innings as well with an excellent straight drive.
Rahane set the tone for the run chase by dropping Arshad Khan for 23 in the fourth over, which included a brilliant drive down the ground. It ranks among his best shots of the tournament. 61 off 27 balls was all it took for CSK to seal victory on enemy turf.
#3 Blending Class with Aggression (CSK vs GT; IPL 2023 Final; Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad)
Rahane went into bat at the crucial stage of the run chase in the tension caused by the rain in the 2023 IPL final. With the scoreboard reading 78-2 after seven overs, the right-handed batsman had to ensure that momentum continued.
He scored 27 runs off 13 balls and was crucial in the context of the run chase. He hit a magnificent six over midwicket, but his crown jewel came in the form of a straight shot that cleared the rope and was played with great elegance.
Rahane relied on timing and the fact that there was no long-off as Josh Little played a full delivery through the line.
Are doors still open for the veteran to play white ball cricket again for Team India? Let us know what you think.