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.
AMBATI RAYUDU (CSK)
M: 16, Runs 602, 100s: 1, SR: 149.75
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.
KANE WILLIAMSON (SRH)
M: 17, Runs: 735, 50s: 8, SR: 142.44
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
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
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.
KRUNAL PANDYA (MI)
M:14, Runs: 228, SR: 145.22; W: 12, Econ: 7.07
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
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
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.
RASHID KHAN (SRH)
M: 17, W: 21, Best: 3-19, Econ: 6.73
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.
JASPRIT BUMRAH (MI)
M: 14, W: 17, Best: 3-15, Econ: 6.88
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
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.
AB DE VILLIERS (RCB)
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.
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)
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.
Jaydev Unadkat (Rajasthan Royals)
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.
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.
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
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.
MAYANK MARKANDE – MUMBAI INDIANS
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
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.