The introduction of 'Impact Player' has been one of the biggest rules changes in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Chennai Super Kings (CSK) medium-pacer Tushar Deshpande became the first 'Impact Player' in IPL history when he replaced veteran batter Ambati Rayudu at the start of the Gujarat Titans innings in the inaugural match of IPL 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
The CSK think tank had brought in Deshpande to boost the pace bowling department. Captain M S Dhoni and head coach Stephen Fleming have been handicapped by the injury to England all-rounder Ben Stokes who played solely as a batter. Also CSK did not want to gamble on Shivam Dube's medium-pace bowling on a true wicket.
However, Deshpande was smashed all around the park by Titans openers Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha. Wicketkeeper-batter Saha hoisted him for a six off the first ball and followed it up with a four. Deshpande conceded 29 runs off his first two overs, including a no-ball.
Though Deshpande dismissed Gill in his third over he leaked another 11 runs. Dhoni entrusted the 27-year-old to bowl the final over of the match with Titans needing just eight runs to reach the target of 179.
The right-armer started off with a wide and was smashed for a six and a four by Rahul Tewatia as Titans romped home with four balls to spare.
Deshpande's bowling figures read 3.2-0-51-1 at an economy rate of 15.3.
On the other hand, Titans' 'Impact Player' Sai Sudharsan fared much better. Sudharsan, who came in for the injured Kane Williamson at No.3, made 22 off 17 ball and added 53 for the second wicket along with Gill.