Faf and Warner
Royal Challengers Bangalore's skipper Faf du Plessis with David Warner of Delhi Capitals are holding the top two spots in the batting charts.. Image Credit: Source: IPL Twitter

Dubai: When Twenty20 started in 2007, it was spoken of as a game for the youth. It was due to this reason the then newly installed Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had several rookies in the World Cup-winning squad. But after 15 years of Indian Premier League, this edition of the richest Twenty20 franchise league in the world is proving that there’s no substitute to experience and the veterans are calling the shots in the 2023 season.

At a time when all eyes are on the wannabes of Indian cricket, the international stars who have either hung up their boots or those walking towards the sunset have taken the centrestage with some breathtaking performances. The battle-scarred veterans are not ready to vacate their thrones for the aspirants yet.

Ishant Sharma strikes

Former India pacer Ishant Sharma must have dusted the cobwebs off his bowling spikes when he surprisingly got the chance to turn out for Delhi Capitals against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday. Grabbing the rare opportunity, the lanky 34-year-old pacer produced a match-winning spell to get the man of the match award. Leg-spinners Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra have also redeemed themselves this season in the chances that have come their way.

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In the earlier match of the double-header on Thursday, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Faf du Plessis clearly showed that the has not lost the touch that made him one of the most feared international batters with an 84 against Punjab Kings.

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South African Faf du Plessis has been one of the main scorers for Royal Challengers Bangalore this season. Image Credit: AFP

The 38-year-old South African is leading the charts with 343 runs that has David Warner (36), Virat Kohli (34) and Shikhar Dhawan (37) in the top six, with 32-year-old Jos Buttler and Venkatesh Iyer, the only one in their 20s.

Not his aggressive best

Warner, who is under fire from his critics for playing below his aggressive best, is in second spot with 285 runs that has included three half-centuries. But the Australian left-hander feels he has regained his rhythm.

“I just felt like I was probably a bit tentative after losing a lot of wickets in the first couple of games. But for me, it’s about going out there and playing the way that I do, in the way that I know.”

Former India skipper Kohli, who didn’t have the best of his time in the last IPL with just two 50s, is also showing signs of returning to his best with three half-centuries in six matches.

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Former Indian skipper Virat Kohli has already scored three half-centuries this season. Image Credit: AFP

Young brigade

Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill lead the young brigade with Tilak Varma and Ruturaj Gaikwad filling the top 10 in the batting charts.

One of the reasons why the experienced campaigners are able to succeed is that Twenty20 has undergone huge evolution with bowlers trying several variations to arrest the free-flowing strokes, forcing batters to play more in the traditional way. So with the immense experience under their belt, they are able to play the field around when the boundaries are hard to come by.

The two Indian team discards, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane, have shown that they still have plenty to offer. The evergreen Mahendra Singh Dhoni at 41 is still showing glimpses of his capabilities as a feared finisher. This IPL so far has shown that the old order still has plenty of value.