Suresh Raina’s journey in the IPL has been a spectacular one. He rose to the title of Mr.IPL lead the run-scoring charts for a considerable time and built a legacy as Chennai Super King’s most prolific player. Going by the statistics, he leads most of Chennai’s charts, and holds a fair share of records in the franchise. However, after thirteen seasons of IPL, involving ten as a playing member of the side, Suresh Raina is finally out of the Chennai Super Kings. This is the first time he is not retained by the franchise, and while there is a possibility of Chennai buying him back, the chances look bleak for the time being.
With Raina unretained, let us look at some memorable knocks by him for Chennai, that helped catapult him to the role of Chennai’s best batter, who was a constant fixture at the number three spot.
57 off 35, Vs Mumbai Indian, 2010 IPL Finals
CSK made their second final in three seasons and was in a spot of bother early in the game. They lost in-form batters Murali Vijay, and Subramaniam Badrinath within the tenth over, while a struggle from Matthew Hayden resulted in CSK getting off to a very slow start. Suresh Raina came in at three and built a partnership with MS Dhoni. Suresh Raina quickly began a counterattack against the Mumbai bowlers and held the innings together nicely. Despite the fall of players like Dhoni and Morkel, Raina stood through and finished with 57 off 35. He took Chennai to a score of 168, which is a par score in the final.
After a good contribution with the bat, Raina did not stop. He picked up a wicket and took a stunning catch at deep mid-wicket to help Chennai win their first title. He was CSKs best batter throughout IPL 2010, and Raina put his hand up in the final to help CSK fight their rivals in a tough encounter.
73 off 50 Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2011 Qualifier 1
Coming into qualifier 1, Chennai was in good form, and their players had some good performances under their belt. Ahead of them was the top side in the league and a side with explosive batters. While Chennai managed to dislodge Chris Gayle early, Virat Kohli got going and helped Bangalore get to a challenging score of 175.
The odds quickly went against Chennai with Hussey and Vijay falling in the first two overs. Once again, Suresh Raina and Badrinath began to rebuild, and MS Dhoni came in to provide some impetus. Through the innings, Suresh Raina faced another issue as well. He suffered with cramps early in the innings, and the cramps kept hampering him through the innings.
He still manage to stick through, and play a blinding inning. He countered the bowlers well, attacked the likes of Daniel Vettori and Zaheer Khan, and helped Chennai stay afloat with the rising required rate. In the end Raina was the man-of-the-match for his 73 off 50 balls. He carried his side into the finals with a magnificent innings in a high-pressure situation.
100 off 53, Vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2013
IPL 2013 started off on a quiet note for Suresh Raina. He didn’t have too many dominating performances until mid-season. After an anchoring fifty against Pune, Suresh Raina played a knock against Kings XI Punjab, to remind people who the king of IPL is. He came into bat during the fourth over and was very patient early on.
He took 32 balls to get to fifty and was aggressive after reaching a milestone. He took apart the bowling attack, and slammed some massive sixes over the sightscreen over the course of his innings. Suresh Raina took 53 balls to reach his century in the final over. The knock was a dominating one, and it helped propel CSK to 186, which turned out to be enough.
87 off 25, Vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, Qualifier 2
CSK were left with a daunting task, chasing 227 in the qualifier. Suresh Raina played a key role in the eliminator, and was in good form during the IPL. However, the task on hand looked massive.
A wicket in the first over made things even more challenging. Suresh Raina walked in to face the music of Mitchell Johnson in the first over, and within the next thirty minutes, Suresh Raina wreaked havoc in Mumbai. He took apart each bowler in the powerplay, and didn’t spare even Johnson, who was in the form of his life in 2014.
Suresh Raina bought out a range of strokes. He pulled fiercely, went for some beautiful shots down the ground, pierced gaps, timed the ball beautifully, and also unfurled his signature inside-out shot. His knock was full of proper shots, and not slogs, and for a moment it looked like MR.IPL could bail his team out of a tough situation yet again.
He finished the powerplay taking 33 runs of Parwinder Awana, and took CSK to a record of 100 runs in the powerplay. The required rate was in a reachable state after his onslaught, but a runout shortly after the powerplay ended Raina’s entertaining stay. He walked off distraught, after making 87 off just 25 balls. His wicket unfortunately opened the flood gates, and CSK fell away quickly.
109 off 63 Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, CLT20 Finals
Chennai Super Kings took on the Kolkata Knight Riders in the CLT20 finals, in 2014, and the spectators witnessed another whirlwind innings from Suresh Raina. Chennai was set a target of 180, against a side that was in the middle of a hot winning streak. A wicket in the first over brought Suresh Raina to the crease, and he has left the job of keeping Chennai in the game. He had a good partnership with Brendan McCullum.
The two batters complimented each other well, with McCullum taking on the pacers, while Raina took on the spinners. Once Raina was settled though, an onslaught began. He took a young Kuldeep Yadav, and Piyush Chawla apart, and within a few overs the asking rate looked easy.
Suresh Raina finished with 109, hitting eight sixes. His performance in the finals was full of dominance, and throughout the tournament, he was on a different plane. He was awarded the player of the tournament award after making 234 runs in the tournament.