IPL 2018 Review: Young stars Rishabh Pant and Rashid Khan feature in Team of the Season

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Rashid Khan in action in the IPL. Image - IPL/Twitter.

After the conclusion of an enthralling and highly engrossing IPL, we pick the Sport360 Team of the Season.

KL RAHUL  (KXIP)

M:14, Runs: 659, 50s: 6, SR 158.41

Easily the best opener of this edition. Once he launched himself with a blazing 14-ball 50 in his team’s first match against Delhi Daredevils, there was no looking back.

A stylish batsman, Rahul was equally adept at playing pace and spin.

Rahul carried KXIP's hopes single-handedly. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Rahul carried KXIP’s hopes single-handedly. Image – IPL/Twitter.

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AMBATI RAYUDU (CSK)

M: 16, Runs 602, 100s: 1, SR: 149.75

Rayudu scored a century against SRH. Image - BCCI.

Rayudu scored a century against SRH. Image – BCCI.

The 33-year-old was a revelation as an opener. All along Rayudu has played as a middle-order batsman but he revelled in his new role resulting in his most productive IPL. The biggest strength of Rayudu is that he can bat at any position.

MIDDLE ORDER

KANE WILLIAMSON  (SRH)

M: 17, Runs: 735, 50s: 8, SR: 142.44

The Kiwi was top-class throughout the IPL. Image - IPL/Twitter.

The Kiwi was top-class throughout the IPL. Image – IPL/Twitter.

The Kiwi captain stamped his class by emerging as the top run-getter. Not many can pace their innings as Williamson does. He is another batsman who has a range of strokes and can bat long once he gets set.

RISHABH PANT (DD)

M: 14, Runs: 684, 100s: 1, SR: 173.60

Pant displayed a fearless brand of cricket. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Pant displayed a fearless brand of cricket. Image – IPL/Twitter.

Having made a mark in the domestic circuit with his daring batsmanship, the 20-year-old stole the show in his third IPL smashing the most number of fours (68) and sixes (37). With the left-hander at the crease a high scoring rate was assured.

WK AND CAPTAIN

MS DHONI (CSK)

M: 16, Runs 455, 50s: 3, C: 11, Stumps: 3

Dhoni was back to his best with the bat too. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Dhoni was back to his best with the bat too. Image – IPL/Twitter.

For the umpteenth time, Dhoni proved that in limited-overs cricket few can match him in leadership and finishing skills. The 36-year-old created havoc in rival camps with his batsmanship by smashing 30 sixes, the most he has hit in any IPL.

ALL-ROUNDERS

KRUNAL PANDYA (MI)

M:14, Runs: 228, SR: 145.22; W: 12, Econ: 7.07

Krunal put in some handy performances for MI. Image - BCCI.

Krunal put in some handy performances for MI. Image – BCCI.

An impact player who is quite good at batting, bowling and in the field. The left-hander can pull out the big shots with ease and is quite miserly with his left-arm spin. Tends to fly under the radar as compared to his flamboyant brother Hardik. Surprising that he is yet to play for India.

ANDRE RUSSELL (KKR)

M: 16, Runs 316, 50s: 1, SR 184.79; W: 13, Econ: 9.38

Russell was brilliant with both bat and ball. Image - BCCI.

Russell was brilliant with both bat and ball. Image – BCCI.

When the burly Jamaican gets going, bowlers beg for mercy as his ability to smash sixes is nothing short of breathtaking. He was at it again, smashing 31 sixes for the Knight Riders this season. His pace bowling was another plus, even though an injured hamstring was a concern.

SUNIL NARINE (KKR)

M: 16, Runs 357, SR: 189.89; W: 17, Econ:  7.65

Narine was vital to KKR's march to the playofs. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Narine was vital to KKR’s march to the playofs. Image – IPL/Twitter.

Primarily an off-spinner of high quality, Narine has been quite effective as an opener providing some blazing starts for KKR. Entered the tournament with more questions being raised about his bowling action but finished with his reputation intact. With Narine in the side, captains have lot more options to play with.

SPINNER

RASHID KHAN (SRH)

M: 17, W: 21, Best: 3-19, Econ: 6.73

Rashid was the standout spinner of the IPL. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Rashid was the standout spinner of the IPL. Image – IPL/Twitter.

The 19-year-old leg-spinner troubled every batsman he bowled to. His rich haul of wickets and a mean economy rate made him the best spin bowler this season.

The Afghan teen is no mug with the bat and can land some big blows,as the Knight Riders found out in the Qualifier.

FAST BOWLERS

JASPRIT BUMRAH (MI)

M: 14, W: 17, Best: 3-15, Econ: 6.88

Bumrah grew into the tournament as it progressed. Image - BCCI.

Bumrah grew into the tournament as it progressed. Image – BCCI.

It’s very difficult to keep a bowler like Bumrah out because he is not only good at opening the attack but also in the death overs. Although he did not start well this season, he quickly found his radar and didn’t look back.

UMESH YADAV (RCB)

M: 14, W: 20, Best:  3-23, Econ: 7.86

Umesh Yadav bowled some fiery spells. Image - BCCI.

Umesh Yadav bowled some fiery spells. Image – BCCI.

It was heartening to see an Indian fast bowler rattle batsmen with pace as Yadav waded into rival line-ups regularly. He was at his best when he opened the attack but was not as effective at the ‘death’. Still, his best season by far.

12TH MAN

AB DE VILLIERS (RCB)

The South African lived up to his billing. Image - IPL/Twitter.

The South African lived up to his billing. Image – IPL/Twitter.

A tough call to leave a player of such calibre on the bench. Better performers with the bat and ‘utility’ players get the nod ahead of the South African in this list. He misses out by the smallest of margins but remains in the group.

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IPL 2018 Review: Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes turns into the biggest flop

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Jaydev Unadkat, Ajinkya Rahane and Ben Stokes of Rajasthan Royals during match forty nine of the Vivo Indian Premier League 2018 (IPL 2018) between the Kolkata Knightriders and the Rajasthan Royals held at the Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on the 15th May 2018. Photo by: Prashant Bhoot /SPORTZPICS for BCCI

The IPL season has ended and we take stock of the hits and misses of the season. Here is the biggest disappointment of IPL 2018.

BIGGEST FLOP OF THE SEASON

Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)

Stokes was highly disappointing with the bat. Image - BCCI.

Stokes was highly disappointing with the bat. Image – BCCI.

The 11th edition’s biggest buy was also the biggest flop.

England all-rounder Stokes, who was bought by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping $1.95 million, failed to justify the price tag following a lacklustre display. In 13 matches, he could muster just 196 runs at a low average of 16.33 and an ordinary strike rate of 121.73.

He was not effective with the ball either with just eight wickets and a poor economy rate of 8.18.

His best performances – 45 off 37 balls against Chennai Super Kings and 3-15 against Kolkata Knight Riders – did little to inspire the team as Rajasthan lost both matches. It was surprising that the Rajasthan think-tank continued to persist with him despite his poor showing.

Every move to make the all-rounder tick, including at the top of the order, failed. Funnily, when he seemed to be hitting the straps, atleast with the ball, call of national duty ended his stint. After a stupendous 2017 IPL for the Rising Pune Supergiant, Stokes seems to have lost his touch and given a posisble unavailability next season due to the World Cup, looks like Stokes will be away from the IPL limelight.

WORTHY MENTIONS

Jaydev Unadkat (Rajasthan Royals)

Unadkat failed to fire after commanding a big fee. Image - BCCI.

Unadkat failed to fire after commanding a big fee. Image – BCCI.

Another big buy ($1.8m) that failed miserably as the left-arm pacer’s 11 wickets came at a high economy rate of 9.65.

Mumbai Indians

The defending champions had a horror start. Image - BCCI.

The defending champions had a horror start. Image – BCCI.

The defending champions failed to justify their billing with a horrible start – one win in six matches – derailing their chances and they ended up fifth.

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IPL 2018 Review: Delhi Daredevils youngster Rishabh Pant is surprise of the season

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Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer in action for DD. Image - BCCI.

With the 2018 edition of the IPL having drawn to its conclusion, we take a look at eye-catching performances over the course of the season.

Here, we pick our surprise performer of the tournament.

SURPRISE OF THE SEASON

RISHABH PANT – DELHI DAREDEVILS

Pant played some highly explosive innings. Image - BCCI.

Pant played some highly explosive innings. Image – BCCI.

The 20-year-old had been marked as a future India prospect ever since he hit the fastest fifty (off 18 balls) against Nepal in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. He has grown in stature blasting a triple hundred besides scoring four centuries in first-class cricket.

Yet, no one could have predicted the youngster to smash the most number of fours (68) and sixers (37) in the IPL, a tournament that assembles the best powerhitters from around the world.

Sadly, his firepower was not enough to lift Delhi Daredevils, who finished at the bottom of the league table with just five wins and nine losses.

No Indian player in recent history has dominated the IPL charts like he has, bagging the Emerging Player and the Most Stylish player awards apart from logging the highest individual score of the tournament (128 v Sunrisers Hyderabad) while topping the run table with 684 runs after the league stage.

WORTHY MENTIONS

MAYANK MARKANDE – MUMBAI INDIANS

Markande picked up 15 wickets in his debut season. Image - BCCI.

Markande picked up 15 wickets in his debut season. Image – BCCI.

The 21-year-old leg-spinner, playing his first IPL, stole the show by claiming 15 wickets and even topped the bowling charts in the first half of the league.

PRASIDH KRISHNA – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Krishna impressed after being given a chance. Image - BCCI.

Krishna impressed after being given a chance. Image – BCCI.

Barring the Eliminator against Hyderabad, the 22-year-old pacer turned in some sterling displays including a 4-30, to finish with 10 wickets from seven matches.

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