After eight weeks of riveting contest, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has come to an end with Mumbai Indians, one of the most dominating sides in the history of the tournament, winning back to back titles. This very tournament was the most remarkable season by an absolute mile, not only because it was hosted amid Covid-19, but also because of the sheer competition. The tournament has given the fans many moments to remember and a lot of cricketers delivered some memorable performances.
The Business Standard (TBS) has attempted to pick the best XI of this tournament. The performances of the cricketers and most importantly the impact of their performances on the results of the matches have been taken into account.
1. KL Rahul (C & WK, 670 Runs at 56 avg, Strike rate 129)
Many things changed, but KL Rahul getting runs remained a constant throughout the tournament. He was a shining light in Kings XI Punjab's slightly disappointing campaign. His team could not make the playoffs but Rahul still stayed at the top of the list of highest run-getters in the tournament. His strike rate may be slightly on the lower side because he held the innings together almost each time Kings Xi Punjab batted in the tournament. He will carry out the job of the wicketkeeper and will also skipper the side.
2. Shikhar Dhawan (618 runs at 44 avg, Strike rate 145)
Shikhar Dhawan was the mainstay of the Delhi Capitals batting order who came second to Mumbai Indians in the final. The southpaw became the only player in the history of the tournament to score back to back hundreds. He struck four fifties as well to go with that. Dhawan's inclusion will enable to have a left-right combination too. The likes of David Warner, Quinton de Kock, Devdutt Padikkal could challenge him for the spot but Dhawan's superior strike rate gives him an edge over others. Hence, Rahul and Dhawan will open the innings.
3. Suryakumar Yadav (480 runs at 40 avg, strike rate 145)
Suryakumar Yadav has been a vital cog in the Mumbai Indians batting line-up for three years now. He has now scored in excess of 400 runs in three consecutive seasons for the franchise. This year he was exceptional. He was in sublime form throughout the tournament in terms of timing, placement and winning matches. His amazingly consistent run at a brilliant strike rate makes him a great contender for the number three position. Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey could challenge him but his better strike rate gives him an upper hand.
4. Ishan Kishan (516 runs at 57.3 avg, Strike rate 146)
Safe to say, this was the breakthrough season for the left-handed batsman. He had shown glimpses of promise many times before but could never really make use of the unquestionable talent. He was undoubtedly at his best this season, being the highest run-getter for Mumbai Indians despite missing the first few games. He batted in the middle order and opened in few games in absence of Rohit Sharma. Kishan struck 30 sixes, the most by anyone in the tournament which makes him an obvious choice for the number four position.
5. Marcus Stoinis (352 runs, 13 wickets, Strike rate 148.5)
Marcus Stoinis was undoubtedly the most valuable player for the Delhi Capitals as he performed superbly well throughout the tournament with both bat and ball. He was destructive at the middle order and very effective with his medium-pace bowling. He was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals roped him in for Rs 1 crore. He was a revelation in the tournament for them where he gave flexibility to the team having contributed big time with the bat and the ball. He will bat at five and squeeze a few overs too.
6. Hardik Pandya (281 runs at 35 avg, strike rate 179)
Hardik Pandya is used to contributing to the team with both the bat and the ball. This year due to issues with his fitness, he could not bowl at all. But that did not prevent the hard-hitting batsman from making an impact. He could not face a lot of balls too, 157 to be precise. But Pandya was second in the list of highest strike rate in the season with 179, just behind his teammate Kieron Pollard. He hit as many as 25 sixes and scored the joint third fastest fifty in the tournament too.
7. Rahul Tewatia (255 runs, 10 wickets, strike rate 139)
Rahul Tewatia was a revelation in this year's IPL. He wasn't a familiar name before this tournament by any means, but became a household name soon after. He scripted a historic run-chase against Kings XI Punjab with an astonishing 31-ball fifty from being 8 off 19 at one stage. He hit five sixes off Sheldon Cottrell in an over in that match. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Tewatia took on Rashid Khan, one of the best in the business, and won the game for his side. He bowled reasonably well too, with a brilliant economy rate of 7.08.
8. Rashid Khan (20 wickets at 17.2 avg, economy rate 5.37)
Rashid Khan can easily walk into the best XI of any IPL franchise without any doubt. Teams now tend to see off Rashid's four overs and attack others. It was, all the same, this year too, which is evident from his economy rate. But he picked up a bagful of wickets too, 20 to be precise and no other bowler had a better economy than him. He has been one of the most important members for Sunrisers Hyderabad and continues to deliver the goods tirelessly. His ground fielding is also a great aspect of his game, so is his outrageous hitting ability.
9. Jofra Archer (20 wickets at 18.25 avg, economy rate 6.55)
Jofra Archer won the award of the most valuable player in this year's IPL, despite his team not making the playoffs. Archer was phenomenal with the ball upfront and at the death. Not only did he pick up truckloads of wickets, he kept runs in check. He got very little support from the other Rajasthan Royals bowlers. Apart from his bowling, he was effective with the bat too, hitting 10 sixes in the tournament. Archer is a gun fielder too and has taken one of the catches of the tournament. With his three-dimensional ability, he is an obvious pick in the XI.
10. Kagiso Rabada (30 wickets at 18.26 avg, economy 8.34)
Kagiso Rabada was sensational with the ball in this year's IPL for the Delhi Capitals. He did not get many wickets in the powerplay because he played the role of specialist death over bowler for the Capitals. He was a bit off-color in the latter part of the tournament but bowled well enough to take the purple cap with 30 wickets in the tournament. No other Delhi Capitals bowler took more wickets than him in a single IPL season. The 25-year old speedster took four wickets in the second qualifier match against Sunrisers Hyderabad which earned them a place in the final.
11. Jasprit Bumrah (27 wickets at 14.96 avg, economy rate 6.73)
Jasprit Bumrah did not have the best of starts in the tournament. He was taken to the cleaners in the first few games but the Indian quick came back strongly and became the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, just behind Kagiso Rabada. Despite being a designated slog over bowler, his economy of 6.73 was absolutely remarkable. He peaked at the right time for Mumbai Indians and once he found a bit of form, he kept on taking wickets both in the powerplay and at the death. He had a major contribution in his team's successful IPL campaign.