I know I’m a little late on this – This year’s IPL finished a week ago today, but I thought I’d have a crack at naming my ideal t20 side from the tournament. This isn’t going to be the best side possible from everyone who played, but the 11 players who impressed me the most this year. I will be following the IPL selection rules, which require one uncapped Indian player and no more than four overseas player.
Opening Batsman – Dwayne Smith (CSK)
Smith’s IPL season has been by far his most impressive, scoring 566 runs at a strike rate of 136. He was Chennai’s ‘Mr Reliable’ having made only five scores below 20 in his 16 innings opening the batting, and proved useful with the ball as well, picking up 4 wickets at an average of just 23. A former Mumbai Indians player, something we’ll see a surprising amount of in this team, but a valuable asset for Chennai to hold on to next time around.
Opening Batsman – David Warner (SRH)
Hyderabad fans know that their team has more than enough world-class bowling to be in with a chance of defending any total, but their batting lineup left a lot to be desired. David Warner, scoring 58 runs at 140 strike rate, was the answer to their prayers. Helping the Sunrisers to a defendable score on a number of occasions, and being crucial in several successful chases gives Joe Root’s worst enemy a spot in this XI.
Batsman – Glenn Maxwell (KXIP)
Glenn stormed onto the IPL scene this year, contributing three of the top ten individual innings scores, with each of the three being the highest strike rates in the top ten. His 552 runs came at the second highest strike rate of all players in the tournament, a whopping 187, and the King’s XI owe a large amount of their success this year to him. Mumbai Indians fans must be scratching thier heads in confusion as to how their team didn’t use him last year.
Batsman – Robin Uthappa (KKR)
The first of our tournament winners, Robin Uthappa, was this year’s orange cap winner, scoring an impressive 660 runs (nearly 100 more than second place) at 138. Providing many crucial innings for Kolkata, especially toward the end of the tournament when it mattered the most, earned him the honour of the top fantasy league points scorer, to add to his winner’s medal. Robin proved this year that you don’t have to hit the ball a long way to score runs, hitting ‘only’ 18 sixes, half that of previous orange cap favourite Glenn Maxwell.
Batsman – Suresh Raina (CSK)
Suresh Raina has consistently delivered, season after season scoring bundles of runs, and this year was no different. The highlight of his year, and for me the highlight of the tournament, was Raina’s astonishing 87 off 25, cut short by a sharp run-out but otherwise well on track to break Gayle’s fastest hundred. Scoring 523 runs at a very nice strike rate of 146, Suresh rounds off the batsmen in this team.
Wicketkeeper/Captain – MS Dhoni (CSK)
India’s captain had another terrific season, both with the bat and the gloves. Averaging 74 and with 10 not-outs, he has shown again why he is renowned for being the best finisher to play the game. His ability to keep his cool and score at 148 strike rate, chasing down almost every score needed of him, despite the degree of difficulty, is why no IPL dream XI can do without him. Although not his most successful season as captain, he can be proud that he still lead his team to 3rd place despite the huge amount of competition seen this year.
All-rounder – Ravindra Jadeja (CSK)
A star with both the bat and the ball, Ravi Jadeja has proven this year that he’s the complete all-rounder that Chennai desperately need. Able to provide four overs and quick runs, he’s been a crucial part of the team. His bowling spell against eventual champions KKR ended with figures of 4-12, the best by any bowler this year’s tournament, whilst his average of 29 with the bat showed how useful he could be at number 7.
Bowler – Sunil Narine (KKR)
Without a doubt, Sunil Narine has yet again been the hardest bowler to play against in this year’s tournament. His deceit, guile, and astonishing consistency have seen him take 21 wickets with a remarkable economy of just 6.35. Despite this being his (statistically) worst season in recent history, he’s still the only bowler to have bowled every single one of his allotted 384 balls, testament to how good he has been throughout his career. Had luck gone his way a little more in the last couple of matches, he’d have easily won the purple cap.
Bowler – Sandeep Sharma (KXIP)
By no means a ‘token’ uncapped player, Sandeep has excelled this season, and it was the shock of the season when he was dropped for the final. An impressive 18 wickets at an average of under 20 runs becomes even more so when you consider that he only played 11 matches, resulting in Sandeep having the best strike rate of any bowler who played more than half of his team’s matches. An ideal middle-overs bowler.
Bowler – Mohit Sharma (CSK)
Our final Chennai player, Mohit Sharma has consistently performed well, raking in 23 IPL wickets and this year’s purple cap. Taking a wicket once every 14 balls, batsmen never felt comfortable against him, which was vital to CSK making the final four after some less than impressive bowling from some of their other players. Even the best batting lineups have a limit to how many runs they can chase, and Chennai’s men must have been very thankful at some stages that they weren’t chasing upwards of 250 because of Mohit’s timely wickets.
Bowler – Bhuvneshwar Kumar (SRH)
The most impressive seam bowler the IPL has seen in the last couple of years, Bhuvi has narrowly missed out on the purple cap once again, and would have been in with every chance had the Sunrisers qualified for the final four. With a bowling average of 17 runs, and an economy of just 6.65, Kumar has been, in my opinion, the best seam bowler in this iteration of the IPL. Able to swing it effectively and make the best batsmen in the world look completely out of their depth, he has been the pick of the Sunrisers bowling lineup all season.
Thanks for reading, be sure to add your own comments about who you would have in your team!Follow @thatcricketguy1