The IPL is now drawing to a close. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will now clash in the finals. This match is expected to be an amazing match. Two of the most successful franchises in IPL history will clash to determine who is the absolute best. One cannot think of any better way to end this exciting tournament.
Now that the cash rich league is drawing to a close, it is time to analyze each team’s performance over the season. On analyzing the players’ performances, it is noticed that each team had a asset player who was responsible for their team’s success. Some of these players even helped their team out in more ways than one.
This post points out those players who are the biggest asset for their respective teams.
Disclaimer: Players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Rohit Sharma, and David Warner have not been considered as it is well known that these players are the biggest asset for their respective teams.
Kings XI Punjab - KL Rahul
Kings XI Punjab’s performance this year was similar to their performance last year. They started the tournament well and were in contention for a playoff spot for most of the tournament. However, towards the business end of the tournament everything went downhill for them. In fact, they only won one out of their last five games.
Their batting looked bleak this year and was their weakest point. Too much responsibility was left on the shoulders of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. Rahul was their standout batsman this year as well. He scored a lot of runs and was striking the ball freely. In the 14 games he played this season, Rahul managed to score 593 runs at a strike-rate of 135.38. He also finished the tournament as one of the leading run scorers.
Clearly, Rahul is their biggest asset at the moment. It is quite scary to think what would happen to this team if they didn’t have Rahul in their squad.
Rajasthan Royals - Jos Butler
The idea to promote Jos Buttler as an opener has worked out well for the Rajasthan Royals. His form from last year continued this year as well. He was striking the ball freely and with a lot of intent. He was their standout batsman at the top of the order. When other players like Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith were struggling to find form at the start of the tournament, he held the team together with his batting performances.
In 8 matches he played this year, Butler scored 311 runs at an average of 38.87. He also scored three half-centuries. Sadly, his performances weren’t good enough to get Rajasthan Royals into the playoffs. Butler had to leave the tournament mid way which dented RR’s chances even further.
Going forward, the English batsman will have a huge role to play for RR in the next few seasons of the cash rich league.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Yuzvendra Chahal
It’s no surprise that Royal Challengers Bangalore were the worst performing team in this year’s IPL. Just like every year, their bowling was their biggest problem this year as well. If there was just one standout bowler for RCB over the years, it is Yuzvendra Chahal.
Chahal has been outstanding with the ball this season as well. He picked up a total of 18 wickets from 14 games with an economy rate of 7.82. One cannot think what would happen if Chahal wasn’t apart of this team.
Clearly, even RCB management and Kohli have a lot of faith in him. In a team filled with world class batsmen like Kohli and de Villiers, Chahal’s performances have stood apart from the rest due to his consistency with the ball.
Chahal is the very perfect example of what an asset should look like to a team. His unique wicket taking ability and fearless attitude have placed him in a class of his own as far as Indian spinners are concerned.
Chennai Super Kings - Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis is probably the most under utilized player in the Chennai Super Kings squad. He is one of their most consistent performers yet he is often used as a backup opener who only gets a chance to play when one opener is injured or out of form.
This year his chance came because of Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu’s poor form at the top of the order. In his very first match this season, he capitalized with a well played half century. He followed it up with another good knock in the next match.
His consistency at the top as continued throughout the tournament. In 11 matches he has played so far, du Plessis has scored 370 runs at an average of 37.
Faf is also quite useful in the field. He is a brilliant fielder who has taken some breathtaking catches this season. He is definitely a big asset for Dhoni given his batting and on-field ability.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Jonny Bairstow
For the past few seasons, David Warner shouldered most the batting responsibility of the top order. All he needed was a partner who could bat like him and take some pressure off. He found that this year in Jonny Bairstow.
Bairstow had an incredible debut season this year. Right from the start of the season, he looked in great form. He was aggressive and scored quick runs during the power play overs. He played 10 matches this seasons for SRH and scored 445 runs at an average of 55.62. He also scored one century and two half centuries.
His hundred against the Royal Challengers Bangalore will be remembered as one of the best knocks in IPL history.
It’s too bad that Bairstow had to leave the tournament midway, but left a long lasting impression on the tournament. His partnership with Warner was spectacular to watch and both men looked unstoppable. Bairstow will remain a big asset for SRH in the years to follow.
Delhi Capitals - Kagiso Rabada
It’s no hidden secret that Delhi Capitals have been one of the worst performing teams in the IPL. Every year they consistently finish the tournament in bottom place. However, this year was one of their best years in the IPL.
Their top order was in good form and their bowlers spearheaded by Kagiso Rabada were ruthless. Rabada was DC’s star player this year. He was useful in picking up wickets whenever the team needed him.
His bowling performances also lifted the confidence of all the other bowlers in the team. Hence, DC became known as one of the best bowling units in the IPL. In the 12 matches he played this season, he picked up 25 wickets and at an economy rate of 7.82.
Sadly, he had to depart the tournament early due to an injury and his absence was soon felt in Delhi Capitals’ performances.
Mumbai Indians - Hardik Pandya
Mumbai Indians have had a pretty good season thus far and a big reason for that is Hardik Pandya. At the start of the season when the big guns weren’t firing, it was Hardik who pulled the team out of troubled waters many times with his big hitting.
He has played many cameos towards the backend of the innings that have turned out to be a difference maker for his team. He has scored 386 runs from 15 matches at an average of 48.25 and an impressive strike-rate of 193.
But it’s not just his batting that has helped Mumbai Indians. He has been quite handy with the ball as well. Although he has been expensive throughout the tournament, he still manages to pick up crucial wickets when needed.
He has taken 14 wickets from 15 games at an economy rate of 9.32. He is also a reliable fielder who can take some spectacular catches. Hence, Pandya is a big asset for MI and one of the reasons for their success.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Andre Russell
He is probably the biggest asset any team can have and KKR are really lucky to have a player like Andre Russell. This season, he has proved that he can win games on his own. He has single handedly won at least 5 matches for Kolkata Knight Riders.
In KKR’s opening clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Russell helped take his team over the finish line with a 19-ball 49. He also helped KKR chase down 53 runs in three overs against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that he did all this while sporting a wrist injury. This makes us wonder just how dangerous Russell would be if he was 100% fit.
Needless to say, this has been Russell’s best season yet. He has scored 510 runs in 14 matches at an explosive strike-rate of 204.81. Most of the bowlers would have had nightmares about bowling to Russell. He could’ve also helped KKR reach the playoffs had he been used properly by Dinesh Karthik and KKR management.