Cricket expert Richard Mann reflects on this year's Indian Premier League and selects his team of the tournament.
Lokesh Rahul - 659 runs @ 54.91
A joy to watch and one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season for the Kings XI Punjab. A beautiful timer of the ball when driving through the covers, Rahul looks a fine player of the short ball, too, giving real hope that he will prosper on foreign shores. A return to the national side awaits.
Jos Buttler - 548 @ 54.80
Butter's IPL, much like his franchise, Rajasthan Royals, seemed set for disappointment until the Englishman was promoted to the top of order. Buttler proved a revelation thereafter, stringing together a host of match-winning contributions to drag Rajasthan into the playoffs and earn himself a Test recall for England.
Kane Williamson - 735 @ 52.50
Williamson led Sunrisers Hyderabad with aplomb but it was his performances with the bat that stood out. Having been in and out of the side last season, Williamson stepped into the void left by David Warner and proved himself, for the first time, to be a three-form batsman with a host of stellar displays. His tournament strike-rate of 142.44 confirms he has taken his game to another level.
Ambati Rayudu - 602 @ 43.00
Discarded by the Mumbai Indians, Rayudu looked to be at a crossroads in his career until Chennai Super Kings took a punt on the 32-year-old at this year's auction. That punt paid dividends as Rayudu enjoyed a fine campaign, most notably when stroking an unbeaten 100 against Sunrisers Hyderbad, and he proved his importance to the team when switching between batting positions with the minimum of fuss.
Rishabh Pant - 684 @ 52.61
Another miserable season for Dehli Daredevils who ended the campaign by finishing rock bottom. Nevertheless, they have some serious young Indian talent to build a future around and Pant is one of those, a point illustrated by his magnificent 128* against Sunrisers Hyderbad. Dehli still conspired to lose that game but Pant's 63-ball epic announced his arrival on the global stage. Pant picked up the Emerging Player Of The Season award at the conclusion of the tournament.
MS Dhoni (Captain and Wicketkeeper) - 455 @ 75.83 and 14 dismissals.
There isn't much more to say about Dhoni that hasn't been said before. However, rumours that he is passed his best were firmly quashed in this year's edition of the competition with his exceptional keeping appearing as sharp as ever and his batting proving exceptional. Just like old times, Dhoni saw his side home in tense chases on a number of occasions and it was no surprise to see him crowned the winning captain on the final Sunday.
Hardik Pandya - 260 @ 28.88 and 18 wickets @ 21.16
There isn't a more exciting young all-rounder in world cricket than Pandya and he enjoyed another strong IPL. His batting is evolving all the time and it would be nice to see him given more responsibility than to be used purely as a finisher, but it's bowling that has really taken off in recent months and he has the potential to be a genuine first-change bowler. He could be a handful in English conditions this summer.
Rashid Khan - 21 wickets @ 21.80
It is hard not to fall in love with Afghanistan leg-spinner who took the Big Bash by storm just a few months ago. Conditions here were always going to suit better and he didn't disappoint, proving himself a vital cog in the Sunrisers bowling attack and boasting an exceptional economy rate of only 6.73, the best of any bowler in the competition to have played ten games or more.
Andrew Tye - 24 @ 18.66
While Lokesh Rahul proved to be the only bright spot in Kings XI Punjab's batting this season, Tye was the same with the ball. The Australian finished the season with 24 wickets, earning him the Purple Cap, with his sharp pace and excellent variations too much for many to handle in the death overs.
Umesh Yadav - 20 @ 20.90
Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers again missed out but no blame can be apportioned to the excellent Yadav who carried a weak bowling attack manfully. Yadav claimed 20 wickets in the tournament, many of those taken with the new ball, and maintained an excellent economy rate throughout. Genuinely quick and capable of swinging the ball, a return to the national side shouldn't be too far away.
Jasprit Bumrah - 17 @ 21.88
The final bowling spot could have gone a few different ways but Bumrah edges the vote. A haul of 17 wickets is respectable enough but it's his economy rate of 6.88 that stands out, especially when you consider that most of his bowling was done on the Flat pitches of Mumbai and in the death overs. A brilliant exponent of the yorker, India will be desperate to keep him on the park heading into the next World Cup.
Related cricket links
- Richard Mann's England v Pakistan Second Test Preview
- More cricket news and betting tips
- Sky Bet’s latest cricket odds