On Wednesday (January 18), New Zealand all-rounder Michael Bracewell almost pulled off a heist with his outstanding 140-run knock in the first ODI against India in Hyderabad.
Asked to chase down a target of 350, the Kiwis were reeling at 131/6 and staring at an early defeat. In came Michael Bracewell, who was tasked with rebuilding the Kiwi innings. Alongside vice-captain Mitchell Santner, he did more than just that.
While he has come up with a few clutch knocks back in New Zealand, Bracewell announced himself in front of the Indian crowd with an unreal innings.
With his clean striking and a counter-attack of the highest order, the left-hander put the Indian bowlers to the sword.
Bracewell struck 12 boundaries and ten maximums during his stay. The southpaw kept motoring along the boundaries to bring the equation down to 20 needed from the last over.
He even smacked Shardul Thakur for a six off the first ball of the 50th over, but was trapped in front of the stumps on the next delivery as the bowler had the last laugh and sealed the deal for India. New Zealand fell just 12 runs short of what would've been a remarkable victory.
Normally, when a foreign player does this well in an international game against India, they garner enough interest from the IPL franchises. Unfortunately, for Michael Bracewell, the IPL 2023 auction was held a month ago.
He was among the 991 players who registered for the IPL 2023 mini-auction. However, none of the franchises asked for Bracewell's name to be announced and thus the 31-year-old went unsold.
Given how well Michael Bracewell has fared for New Zealand across formats in recent times, it is safe to say that some IPL franchises made a mistake by not grabbing him during the mini-auction in Kochi.
On that note, let's take a look at three IPL franchises who might regret not signing Michael Bracewell at the IPL 2023 Auction.
#1 Gujarat Titans
The Gujarat Titans (GT) achieved a spectacular IPL victory in their inaugural season thanks to their reliable bowling attack. Once again, GT's bowling department appears to be their most potent weapon, while their batting unit may be the weakest of all the franchises.
Despite adding Kane Williamson and KS Bharat to their top-order, the duo of Hardik Pandya and David Miller will once again be burdened with scoring consistently at a fast rate.
Had Gujarat gone in for Bracewell in the auction, the left-hander would not only have provided a cushion to Pandya and Miller, but would have complimented Rashid Khan with his wily off-spin.
#2 Chennai Super Kings
Although the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) already boast several all-rounders on their roster, Michael Bracewell would've been an ideal CSK signing.
A multi-faceted player with no price tag baggage, Bracewell would've certainly strengthened the four-time champions.
It would have been wiser for CSK to release Mitchell Santner and replace him with his Kiwi counterpart, Michael Bracewell. While Santner does provide more discipline with the ball than Bracewell, the latter's batting abilities are far superior to those of the left-arm spinner.
Bracewell could've also been an ideal backup for Moeen Ali, who has been and will be a crucial part of CSK in upcoming editions.
#3 Delhi Capitals
One of the teams that will head into the tournament with a couple of issues to sort will be Delhi Capitals (DC).
Due to Rishabh Pant's unfortunate car accident, the southpaw has been ruled out of this year's IPL. The Delhi-based franchise now not only doesn't have a designated skipper but will also have to look for wicket-keepers to replace Pant.
Having said that, DC look thin as far as their lower-order is concerned and also have the problem of a long tail.
If Rovman Powell fails to perform, the franchise will have to be reliant on Lalit Yadav, Ripal Patel, and Axar Patel to provide the finishing touches in the death overs. That's where Michael Bracewell would've come in handy for the Ricky Ponting-coached side.
Had they invested in Bracewell, who possesses clean striking abilities, the franchise would've gotten an able finisher at a minimal price.
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