A look at the best seasons of all 8 IPL teams

Rahul Motipalle

Which IPL season was the best? Read which one was the best from each of the 8 teams' perspectives.

Over the years, the IPL (Indian Premier League) has seen some fabulous performances from all participating teams.

While a couple of teams have been consistent in making it to the IPL playoffs every year, other teams have surprised fans and experts alike by making a run to the final or going all the way against all odds.

This article looks at the best IPL season of all the eight active IPL teams.

A look at the best seasons of all eight IPL teams:

#8) Delhi Capitals: IPL 2009 (3rd place finish)

Delhi Capitals, then called Delhi Daredevils, celebrate after reaching the IPL 2009 semifinals.

With a star-studded team that consisted of the likes of captain Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik, Delhi Capitals, then called Delhi Daredevils, topped the league stage in IPL 2009 where they won 10 of their 14 matches.

AB de Villiers was a vital cog of the Delhi team in IPL 2009

The stars of Delhi's IPL 2009 campaign were AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Ashish Nehra. AB de Villiers was the top-scorer for the team that IPL season scoring 465 runs and was followed by Tillakaratne Dilshan who scored 418 runs.

In the bowling department, Ashish Nehra was the star performer with 19 wickets to his name. Dinesh Karthik (288 runs), Dirk Nannes and Pradeep Sangwan (15 wickets apiece) were the other key performers for Delhi in IPL 2009 as the team qualified for the IPL playoffs.

Unfortunately, Delhi's brilliant campaign was cut short by the eventual IPL 2009 champions Deccan Chargers in the semifinals.

Batting first at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, Delhi could only manage a score of 153/8 in their first innings, which was comfortably chased down by the Deccan Chargers with 14 balls to spare, courtesy Adam Gilchrist's 85 off 35 balls who seemed to be batting on a different turf altogether that night.

The Chargers also reached the IPL playoffs in 2008 before repeating the trick in 2019.

#7) Kings XI Punjab: IPL 2014 (Runners-up)

KXIP owners celebrate their victory against CSK in the Qualifier 2 of IPL 2014.

Kings XI Punjab had a playoffs drought in the IPL for 5 years between 2009 and 2013 after having made it to that stage of the competition in the inaugural edition in 2008.

However, in IPL 2014, Kings XI Punjab came out all guns blazing, looking almost invincible at one point. Glenn Maxwell was in sublime form in IPL 2014 and he was the architect-in-chief behind the stupendous performance of KXIP in that season of the competition.

Maxwell made scores of 95, 89 and 95 in KXIP's first three matches in IPL 2014, all at strike rates greater than 200, as he led KXIP to comfortable victories in all three games. He was also adjudged the 'Man Of the Match' in all the three games. Maxwell thus set the tone for a phenomenal season for KXIP who won 11 of their 14 games in the league stage to top the table with 22 points.

Virender Sehwag scored a breathtaking 122 off 58 balls in Qualifier 2 against Chennai Super Kings.

Owing to a first-place finish in the league stage, KXIP had two chances to make it to the IPL final. They went down to Kolkata Knight Riders in the first qualifier by 28 runs but won a dramatic game in the eliminator against Chennai Super Kings to reach the IPL title match.

That eliminator game witnessed two of the best knocks ever in the history of the IPL - an out-of-form Virender Sehwag smashed his way to 122 off just 58 balls to help KXIP set a daunting target of 227 - while Suresh Raina bludgeoned a stunning 87 off just 25 balls as CSK almost overhauled KXIP's total.

In the final, a rejuvenated KXIP played with renewed confidence and set a target of 200 for their KKR. However, Manish Pandey's scintillating knock of 94 off 50 balls put paid to KXIP's title hopes as KKR won their second title in the competition as the most dominant team of the season failed to cross their final hurdle.

#6) Royal Challengers Bangalore: IPL 2016 (Runners-up)

RCB celebrate after beating Gujarat Lions to reach the final in IPL 2016

One of three active IPL teams yet to win the competition, RCB have featured in three IPL finals - 2009, 2011 and 2016. However, the level of dominance they displayed in IPL 2016 , especially in the second half of the tournament, was stupendous.

RCB had a torrid start to their IPL 2016 campaign, winning just two of their first seven matches. This meant that they could not lose more than one match in the remainder of the league phase if they wanted to qualify for the playoffs.

And RCB did exactly what the doctor ordered. A red-hot Virat Kohli led from the front as he amassed an IPL record tally of 973 runs, comprising four brilliant centuries as RCB made their way to the playoffs and then the final.

Virat Kohli in IPL 2016

RCB met SRH in a highly-anticipated IPL 2016 final clash. SRH won the toss and chose to bat first.

David Warner and Ben Cutting put up a daunting target of 209 runs for RCB to chase down. Despite starting their chase well, RCB lost their way after the loss of opening batsmen Chris Gayle and captain Kohli who failed to fire in the game that mattered most.

Ben Cutting starred for the eventual winners SRH with both bat and ball, following up his quickfire 39 off 15 balls with bowling figures of 2/35 to be rightly adjudged the Man of the Match.

It was third-time unlucky for RCB in an IPL final following their defeats in the IPL title matches in 2009 (lost to Deccan Chargers) and 2011 (lost to Chennai Super Kings).

#5) Rajasthan Royals: IPL 2008 (Winners)

Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals became the first team to win the coveted IPL trophy in 2008.

The fact that Rajasthan Royals never reached the final of the IPL after winning the inaugural edition of the IPL under the captaincy of Shane Warne in 2008 makes selecting the best campaign of RR in IPL a no-brainer.

With 472 runs and 17 wickets to his name in IPL 2008, Shane Watson's statistics in that inaugural IPL season will arguably be remembered as the best all-round performance of any player in a single season of the competition. He received able support from Sohail Tanvir, who finished the season as the purple-cap holder with 22 wickets to his name, that included a 6-fer against the Chennai Super Kings.

Shane Watson was the Man of the Tournament in the first season of the IPL

Rajasthan Royals finished as table toppers that season, having won 11 of their 14 games. They bulldozed Delhi Capitals in the playoffs, beating them by 105 runs. In the final, they ran into Chennai Super Kings, who set a total of 163/5 after batting first. However, Yusuf Pathan helped Rajasthan Royals secure victory with a brilliant knock of 56 off 39 balls under pressure.

Five years later, Rajasthan reached the plaoffs in the IPL once again but this time failed to reach the final.

#4) Sunrisers Hyderabad: IPL 2016 (Winners)

Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrating their IPL trophy in 2016

In IPL 2016, Virat Kohli (972 runs) and David Warner (848 runs) became the first and the second batsmen respectively to amass more than 800 runs in a single season of the IPL.

Unsurprisingly, the superlative performances of these two batsmen in the competition took their respective teams to the final. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the star of SRH's bowling department, ending his 2016 IPL campaign with 23 wickets, the most in the tournament, to emerge as the purple-cap winner.

Both SRH and RCB finished with 16 points apiece at the end of the group stage. However, it was RCB who finished in second place courtesy a superior NRR. SRH were forced to take the long route, beating KKR in the eliminator and Gujarat Lions in the second qualifier to qualify for the final to set up a title clas with RCB.

David Warner en route his match-winning innings of 85 in the IPL 2016 final.

Batting first in the IPL 2016 final, SRH set a formidable score of 208 on the board. David Warner starred yet again with the bat.

However, it was Ben Cutting who took the game away from RCB, producing a quickfire cameo of 39 off 15 balls that propelled SRH past 200. In the second innings, he took two crucial wickets to help restrict RCB as SRH clinched their first and till date their only IPL title.

Two years later, SRH lost to Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2018 final.

#3) Kolkata Knight Riders: IPL 2014 (Winners)

Kolkata Knight Riders: Champions of IPL 2014

KKR are two-time winners of the IPL,doing so once in 2012 and then in 2014. However, in 2014, the utter dominance that KKR displayed in the second half of the tournament makes it their best IPL season in the competition till date.

Having lost five of their first seven league matches in the group stage of the season, KKR found themselves in the bottom half of the table and needed to win six out of their remaining seven games to make the playoffs.

KKR not only won all those seven matches, but went ahead to win the Qualifier-1 and the final as well, making it nine successive wins to clinch their second IPL title.

Robin Uthappa: Leading Run-getter of IPL 2014 with 660 runs

IPL 2014 was also Robin Uthappa's most successful IPL on an individual level. He amassed 660 runs from 16 matches to end the season as the highest run-getter. Sunil Narine was the leading wicket-taker, picking up 21 wickets and making useful contributions with the bat.

In the final, KKR met table-toppers KXIP who put 200 runs on the board batting first. In reply, KKR were steered to victory courtesy a brilliant knock of 94 off 50 balls by Manish Pandey under tremendous pressure. Thus, Gautam Gambhir became the second captain to win multiple IPL titles (2012 and 2014), emulating MS Dhoni.

#2) Chennai Super Kings: IPL 2018 (Winners)

Chennai Super Kings: Champions of IPL 2018

The 2018 edition of the IPL saw the return of the Chennai Super Kings after having been suspended for two seasons. In what will be counted as one of the best fairytale returns in the history of the IPL, CSK went on to lift the title after pulling off several feisty wins.

Ambati Rayudu (602 runs) was the highest run-getter for CSK while Shardul Thakur ended up as the highest wicket-taker with 16 wickets to his name.

The 2018 IPL season started off on a dramatic note when CSK snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in their opening game against defending champions Mumbai Indians. Dwayne Bravo's 68 off 30 balls in a tense chase guided CSK to a thrilling one-wicket win.

By the time the group stage of IPL 2018 drew to a close, CSK had managed a few more tense wins that set them up for a top-two finish in the league stage.

In a high-voltage clash in the first qualifier, CSK pulled off yet another breathtaking victory against SRH. Chasing a modest total of 140, CSK were 62/6 in the 13th over but Faf du Plessis played a fine innings under tremendous pressure to guide CSK home.

Winning Moment: Shane Watson embraces Ambati Rayudu after taking CSK to victory in the final of IPL 2018

SRH reached the final to play CSK for the fourth time that season and batted first to put up 178 runs on the board.

Chasing 179 to win their third IPL title, CSK started off their innings at a snail's pace. Shane Watson consumed ten balls to open his account. However, once he did that, he switched directly to fifth gear and ended up scoring 118 off 58 balls, thus single-handedly completing the chase for CSK.

It was a dream return to the IPL for the 2010-11 winners.

#1) Mumbai Indians: IPL 2013 (Winners)

Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar with their first IPL trophy in 2013.

In what was the farewell season of cricketing legends Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in 2013, Mumbai Indians aspired for nothing less than the IPL trophy.

Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik were the star performers with the bat, scoring 538 and 510 runs respectively. Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson starred in the bowling department with 24 wickets apiece.

At the end of the league stage, Mumbai Indians finished in second position, courtesy 11 wins from 14 matches. They went down to CSK in the first qualifier despite some heroics from Dwayne Smith who scored 68 runs off just 28 balls. They then played Rajasthan Royals in the second qualifier whom they beat comprehensively.

In the final match of the tournament, Mumbai Indians batted first and set a total of 148/9, thanks to some late fireworks by Kieron Pollard, who ended up scoring 60 off 32 balls on a day where as many as seven of his teammates ended up with single-digit scores.

CSK started their reply on a horrific note, with Lasith Malinga snaring the wickets of southpaws Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina in the very first over. Despite making 63 runs off 45 balls, MS Dhoni did not get any support from the other end, as CSK fell short of their target by 25 runs.

Mumbai Indians: Champions of IPL 2013

In the end, Sachin Tendulkar won his first IPL title in his last season in the competition. It was very similar to the 2011 World Cup where India triumphed in Tendulkar's sixth and final appearance in the tournament.

Later in the year, Mumbai Indians won the Champions Trophy to give a perfect farewell to Tendulkar.

Subsequently, Mumbai Indians would win the IPL in 2015, 2017 and 2019.