The second week of the ongoing IPL 2023 came to a head with a high-scoring game between Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Due to Harry Brook's marvelous century, SRH posted 228 runs before winning the game by 23 runs on Friday (April 14).
After winning three of their first four matches, all three of the Rajasthan Royals (RR), Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Gujarat Titans top (GT) are tied with six points and are at the top of the points table.
Delhi Capitals (DC), on the other hand, have largely underperformed and are yet to open their account. They are languishing right at the foot of the table.
Following a rather placid first week of the IPL, the second week of the competition lit up due to some exhilarating and nail-biting contests throughout.
Together, in a total of eight fixtures in Week 2, as many as 3,213 runs have been scored by the 10 IPL franchises.
With that being said, let's take a look at the five best batting performances from Week 2 of IPL 2023.
Note: Only the games from Match 11 (RR vs DC) to Match 19 (KKR vs SRH) in IPL 2023 have been taken into consideration.
#5 Ajinkya Rahane - 61 off 27 vs MI in Match 12
In the first 'El Cassico' of the season, Ajinkya Rahane starred on his CSK debut and scored a fiery 27-ball 61.
After being put to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium, the hosts posted 157 runs on the board after 20 overs. CSK, in their chase, lost Devon Conway in the very first over which led Rahane to the crease.
Batting in his home ground, the IPL veteran rocked MI bowlers with some glorious strokes and brought up his fifty in just 19 balls.
Rahane made 61 runs off just 27 balls, and laid a perfect platform for the other CSK batters to chase down the target comfortably.
While Ruturaj Gaikwad (40*) kept his wicket intact at one end, Shivam Dube and Ambati Rayudu scored 20s as CSK hunted down the required runs with 11 balls remaining.
#4 Shikhar Dhawan - 99* off 66 vs SRH in Match 14
After getting dropped from the national team, Shikhar Dhawan has batted with intent and purpose in the tournament. The Punjab Kings (PBKS) skipper is currently the Orange Cap holder with 233 runs at a breathtaking average of 116.5 across four games.
His best knock came when his team needed him the most against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
After putting Punjab to bat first in Hyderabad, the SRH bowlers put in an excellent performance with the ball and kept inflicting wickets regularly. With 88/9 on the board, PBKS stared down the barrel.
However, Dhawan, who opened the innings, stood firm and batted throughout the 20 overs. He clobbered 12 exquisite fours and five maximums to remain unbeaten on 99 off 66 balls. The southpaw accumulated almost 70% of his team's total as Punjab scored just 143 runs in the first innings.
While PBKS went on to lose the encounter, Dhawan played one of the best ever IPL innings in a losing cause.
#3 Harry Brook - 100* off 55 vs KKR in Match 19
SRH's marquee signing Harry Brook slammed the first hundred of IPL 2023 in a match against the Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Friday, April 14.
Opening the batting alongside Mayank Agarwal, Brook made his intentions known from the very first over, where he scored three boundaries off Umesh Yadav.
He then carried his onslaught on every other pacer before negotiating with the KKR spinners with patience.
In the second half of the innings, the Englishman resumed his hard-hitting against the pacers and raced away to his second T20 ton off just 55 balls in the final over, which included 12 fours and three sixes.
This stunning knock propelled the Sunrisers to a huge 228/4, the highest total of the season and the highest ever by a visiting team at Eden Gardens.
Despite a late scare by Nitish Rana (75) and Rinku Singh (58*), SRH managed to win the game by 23 runs as Brook received his first 'Man of the Match' in the IPL.
#2 Nicholas Pooran - 62 off 19 vs RCB in Match 15
With a point to prove following his massive ₹16 crore purchase by the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the IPL 2023 auction, Nicholas Pooran exhibited a masterful knock when his team were under pressure against RCB.
With a steep chase of 213 runs ahead of them, the LSG unit found themselves in dire straits. The team lost three wickets inside the first four overs and skipper KL Rahul struggled to get going.
Marcus Stoinis then delivered a counter-attacking knock of 65 from just 30 balls. However, another double strike in quick succession meant that LSG were left reeling at 105-5 in 11.1 overs.
However, Pooran, who batted at No. 6, took no time in stamping his authority and stunned RCB fans with his stroke-filled 62 off 19 deliveries at an incredible strike rate of 326.32.
Pooran's sumptuous innings turned the match upside down as LSG recorded an exhilarating victory on the very last ball of the match.
With just five needed off the last over, Harshal Patel did his best to restrict the opposition batters but he didn't have enough runs to defend as LSG won the match by just one wicket.
#1 Rinku Singh - 48* off 21 balls vs GT in Match 13
No surprises here with Rinku Singh's unprecedented knock against Gujarat Titans (GT) being the best amongst all.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first in an evening game in Ahmedabad, GT, who were without captain Hardik Pandya, posted an imposing 204/4 in 20 overs.
The chase was always going to be an arduous task for the Kolkata franchise. However, KKR got over the line in the most exhilarating fashion.
After enduring a rocky start, Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana joined forces to steady the ship for Kolkata. The two left-handers put on 100 runs for the third wicket, with Iyer producing his best IPL score of 83. The game turned in GT's favor once again when Rashid Khan inflicted the first hat-trick of IPL 2023.
The match seemed to be done and dusted for KKR with 38 more runs needed off just eight deliveries. But, Rinku Singh had other plans.
Closing out the 19th over with a six and a boundary, Rinku had the outrageous task of needing to get 28 runs from the final five balls to win his side the game. However, the southpaw remained imperturbed and did the unthinkable.
He clobbered Yash Dayal for five consecutive maximums to script a remarkable run-chase for KKR.
With six lusty maximums and a boundary, Rinku remained unbeaten at 48 off just 21 balls and single-handedly scripted his side's greatest run-chase ever.