Another season of Indian Premier League has come to an end. Chennai Super Kings have won the title in style, thanks to Shane Watson’s magnificent hundred in the Final against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In this article, we take a look at the best eleven based on the players’ performances and impacts in IPL 2018.
Truth be told, IPL 2018 has seen the most extraordinary performances from the openers on almost all teams. Among Indian players, Shikhar Dhawan, Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul were very good. The last one, especially, was the most crucial batsman for Kings XI Punjab. He sits third on the list of top run-getters in this IPL, and he is going to be our first opener on the team.
With Rahul, we would rely on Sunil Narine to start the proceedings. Chennai duo Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu, and Rajasthan’s best batsman Jos Buttler were our other options. But, Narine’s fantastic spin bowling gives him the edge. The West Indian has repeatedly proved that he can score quick runs (strike rate of nearly 190, second best of the season) and provide the team with a fabulous start in the powerplay. His bowling has been exceptional as well, as he took 17 wickets with a magnificent economy of 7.65.
It was a hard choice to leave the Chennai pair, but Narine’s allround abilities have been better than Watson and so, the final’s man of the match has to be happy with a substitute spot in our team. On the other hand, in some matches, Rayudu has also played at number four and based on his numbers, it can be safely said that he will be a great addition there.
The number three slot cannot be taken by anyone other than Kane Williamson. The Sunrisers skipper has won the orange cap, scoring 735 runs in IPL 2018. He has been in magnificent touch throughout the season. Williamson’s captaincy was also phenomenal in the tournament and he is going to be the leader of our eleven as well. Then, as mentioned before, Rayudu will be slotted in at number four.
After Williamson and Rayudu, we have to include the most destructive middle-order batsman IPL 2018 has seen. Delhi Daredevils youngster Rishabh Pant took the bowling apart irrespective of which bowler he faced. The wicketkeeper-batsman amassed 684 runs at a stunning strike rate of 173.6, and that clearly shows how effective he has been. The flamboyant young player is going to be our wicketkeeper too.
Other than these picks, two wicketkeeper-captains have got good batting stats too. They are Dinesh Karthik and the IPL 2018 winner MS Dhoni. Albeit they are experienced players, based on this season’s form, Williamson, Rayudu and Pant surely form the best possible combination in the middle order.
Almost all teams have relied on their allrounders in IPL 2018. Along with Narine, our team of the season are going to have Hardik Pandya and Andre Russell in the lineup. Pandya has been one of the better performers for Mumbai, mostly with the ball. He picked up 18 wickets (fifth best in the league), alongside scoring 260 runs at an average of nearly 29.
Russell was, on the contrary, better with the bat. He scored 316 runs with an average of 28.7, and with a strike rate of 184.8 (third best in the league). With the ball, Russell was used both during powerplay and at death, and he was effective. In total, the West Indian got 13 wickets from the season.
With two able fast bowlers in Pandya and Russell and with Narine’s brilliance in the spin department, we just need one more spinner and two good pace options, as the match is expected to be played on Indian soil. Andrew Tye has won the purple cap in IPL 2018, as he picked up 24 wickets from just 14 games. However, none of Narine, Rashid, Russell or Williamson can be axed for the sake of team balance. And hence, Tye will have to be our backup option for the overseas quota.
The choice for the third spinner in our team might seem to be a surprise. But, we have decided to go with Amit Mishra, ahead of Kuldeep Yadav or Mayank Markande. Mishra played only 10 matches, yet he managed to pick up 12 wickets and bowled at a magnificent economy of 7.13. Kuldeep or Mayank were decent, but their form were less consistent and they also returned with an overall much worse economy. Hence, they lose the spot to the veteran of the India side.
Finally, for the two fast options, we decide to go with Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah. These two stars of the India team have picked up 20 and 17 wickets, respectively. And they were the sole bright spots in an otherwise toothless bowling attacks of their teams. Other than the duo, only other Indian pacer who showed consistency throughout IPL 2018 is Siddharth Kaul. He was a surprise package for Sunrisers, taking wickets on regular intervals. His death bowling has been good as well, much like Bumrah. We decide to go with the Mumbai player because of his experience.
Hence, finally, here is how our IPL 2018 best eleven (according to batting order) looks like:
KL Rahul (KXIP)
Sunil Narine (KKR)
Kane Williamson (C) (SRH)
Ambati Rayudu (CSK)
Rishabh Pant (Wk) (DD)
Andre Russell (KKR)
Hardik Pandya (MI)
Rashid Khan (SRH)
Amit Mishra (DD)
Umesh Yadav (RCB)
Jasprit Bumrah (MI) / Siddharth Kaul (SRH)
Backup options: Shane Watson, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Andrew Tye.
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