After 60 matches played over one and half months, curtains have been finally been drawn on the tenth edition of the annual cricket carnival, better known as the Indian Premier League. A nail-biting final match saw Mumbai Indians edge past the Rising Pune Supergiant by a solitary run to become the first team to lay hands on the coveted trophy thrice. In this article, we take a look at the IPL team of the season.
The tournament had all the ingredients to make this edition a special one- from five centuries to three hat-tricks or some nerve-wracking close encounters including super over, IPL 10 was indeed a journey to remember. A perfect blend of batting and bowling extravaganza kept the fans enthralled for the entire 47 days before the bowlers had the final laugh over the batsmen in the final.
While many were standout performers for the respective teams, some were just too good in their department. Now we take a look at the IPL team of the season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad may not have been able to defend their title, but skipper Warner maintained his consistent run with the bat from the last season. With 641 runs from 14 innings, the Aussie notched up four fifties besides a splendid ton against KKR. His prolific form with the willow immensely benefitted SRH in their run to the play-offs. Last year Warner lost the Orange Cap to Kohli even after scoring 848 runs but won the title. This year he achieved the personal milestone, but the ultimate silverware eluded him.
IPL 10 saw a new avatar of so-called test specialist Proteas batsman Amla. Unleashing his charismatic dominance over the bowlers with proper cricketing shots, Amla was the only player with two centuries in this edition. He finished with 420 runs from just 10 innings at an impressive strike rate of 146. However, his absence in the final stages of the competition proved to be too costly for Kings XI Punjab who narrowly missed out on a play-off spot and finished 5th in the standings.
Gautam Gambhir (C)
The KKR captain might have missed out on the Champions Trophy berth, but with 498 runs GG proved that he is far from finished. While many believe this as the Delhi lad’s last IPL, Gambhir’s performance proved he is still a force to reckon with. His unending appetite for runs has been enhanced with supreme leadership skills, something which the entire KKR unit thrived on. Whether we are able to see Gambhir next year may be a mystery, but his spot in our XI is definitely a certainty.
Out of the Indian mix for long and ignored for CT 2017, Raina proved his critics wrong with another solid show in this year’s IPL. Unlike last year where Gujarat finished as table toppers, the franchise had to endure a low-light campaign this season, but the IPL veteran stamped his class with 442 runs in 14 innings. He missed the play-offs for the first time in IPL career, but Raina showed he still has it in him to deliver at the top most level.
Rishabh Pant (Wk)
While many have already hailed the teenager as MS Dhoni’s heir in limited overs cricket, the pocket dynamo from Delhi was the most impressive among the wicket-keepers. Having an ability to bludgeon huge sixes, Pant’s 97 (43) against Gujarat was arguably the best knock of IPL 10. He scored 366 runs in the tournament and has assured the cricket pundits that the future of Indian keeping lies in safe hands.
To be honest, Stokes did not pitch in any noticeable performances in the first half of the competition. But in latter stages, the English all-rounder became Pune’s trump card and justified the amount the franchise showered on him. Playing a significant role in RPS’ journey to the second spot in the table, Stokes scored 316 runs and scalped 12 wickets from as many games. It included a century and some spectacular fielding which left the experts short of words to appreciate Stokes’ all-round contribution to the game.
The second player from Punjab to make our XI, Patel was a shining star in Kings XI’s roller coaster campaign with 227 runs and 15 wickets from 14 games. Scoring runs at a strike-rate of 140 and having an economy of below eight, Patel delivered the goods whenever this team needed. In spite of his and Sandeep Sharma’s bowling efforts, a lacklustre batting performance was the telling blow as Kings XI’s search of the maiden title still continues.
In a repeat of his performance last year, Bhuvneshwar finished IPL 10 too as the Purple Cap owner. With 26 victims from 14 matches, Bhuvi was not only the spearhead of the SRH attack but also proved that India has no dearth of class when it comes to fast bowlers. His 5/19 against Kings XI was perhaps the best bowling spell of this edition, a game which the Indian seamer won it single-handedly. With this job done, Kumar would eye the Champions Trophy, a place which will suit his style of bowling.
Playing for his fourth IPL franchise, a revitalised Unadkat has been nothing short of a revelation in this tournament. Arguably the best fast bowler in this edition, Unadkat scalped 24 wickets from 12 games at an economy of just above seven. The more astonishing fact is that the quick did not go wicketless in any of the games he played. He also took a hat-trick against SRH and has made his case strong for an India comeback at least in the shorter formats of the game.
As expected, the death specialist came to Mumbai’s rescue when it mattered the most. Though Bumrah maintained his form throughout the competition, he reserved his best for the final two matches which saw MI emerge victorious over KKR and RPS in the Qualifier 2 and the final respectively. 20 wickets from 16 games clearly show Bumrah was Mumbai’s go-to man in times of need, and he did live up to the expectations and played an instrumental role in Blue Army’s title triumph.
With 17 wickets from 14 matches, the Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been the find of the tournament. Many eyebrows were raised as SRH chose to play Rashid over the limited overs specialist Mustafizur Rahman, but the unknown package proved to be quite troublesome for the opposition batsmen. His economy of just 6.62 was an additional bonus with his wicket taking ability and surely the teenager will be one to watch out for in the coming seasons of the IPL.