Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 8 at the Eden Gardens to lift the trophy for the second time. These two teams also finished one and two in the league table so it is no surprise that our IPL team of the year is dominated by players from both teams.
None of them get to captain the team, though. That (hypothetical) honour goes to David Warner, who led Sunrisers Hyderabad to within a whisker of the playoffs.
While most Australians struggled after the World Cup, David Warner was an exception. With the Sunrisers Hyderabad middle order struggling, Warner single-handedly kept them in hunt for the play-offs. He ended up as the highest run-getter in tournament with 562 runs at 43.23 with a strike rate of 156.54. He also hit the most number of fours. Not only his batting, his captaincy stood out too. He lead from the front in the field and was clever with his bowling changes. Sadly, it was his one mistake in the do-or-die match against Royal Challengers Bangalore that proved to be crucial in SRH not qualifying for the play-offs.
Lendl Simmons: The injury to Jalaj Saxena last season has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Mumbai Indians. His replacement, Lendl Simmons has been a revelation since he joined MI. Last season, it was Simmons who scripted a turnaround for MI after a poor start and played a crucial role in helping them qualify for the play-offs. This season, for some unfathomable reasons, he wasn't picked for first three matches but the the injury to Aaron Finch forced his inclusion and he showed why he should have been a default starter as he ended up as third highest run-getter with 540 runs at 45 with six fifties. MI struggled in the Powerplay at the start but Simmons and Parthiv patel turned it around. The pair stitched together two century and two fifty plus stands and provided numerous brisk starts which set the platform for the middle and lower order.
Shreyas Iyer: When Shreyas Iyer was bought by Delhi Daredevils for 2.6 crore in the auction, there were many eyebrows raised, even Iyer himself was shocked when he came to know that he was the most expensive uncapped player this season. But he proved his worth to the franchise as he ended as the highest-rungetter for DD this season. Outscoring the likes of JP Duminy, Yuvraj Singh, Angelo Mathews - the Mumbai batsman who came into the tournament on the back of a very good domestc season - scored 439 runs at 33.76 with four fifties. He was named the Emerging Player of the season. The hallmark of his batting was his straight hitting.
Kieron Pollard: He's been doing this season after season. He doesn't have a fixed batting slot. He adjusts himself to any situation and provides the much-needed late bursts. This season, he had just two fifties but still, he scored 419 at 38.09 with third-highest strike rate of 163.67 which says a lot about his cameos at the death. As always, he was a livewire in the field and when he was called upon to bowl in crunch situation, he did not disappoint. He defended 12 runs off the last over against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede in the must-win match and kept MI alive in the tournament.
AB de Villiers: The best batsman in the world was one of only three centurions in IPL 8. He ended up as RCB's highest run-getter with 513 runs at 46.63. His promotion to No.3 worked wonders for the franchise and he showed against Mumbai Indians the damage he could inflict if he gets to face more deliveries as he hit a whirlwind 133 off 59 balls at the Wankhede Stadium. He ended with second-best strike-rate behind Andre Russell - 175.08. But despite his heroics, his trophy hoodoo continued.
Parthiv Patel: For the first four matches, MI struggled with their opening combinations. They tried the Finch-Rohit combo and then Finch-Parthiv but both didn't work. The Simmons-Parthiv combo finally clicked. Parthiv, the globe trotter, didn't have a good start. He then struggled to convert starts but then, he finally got into groove and scored a couple of fifties. He scored 339 runs at 26.07 but more importantly, he had a healthy strike-rate of 137.80 and solved MI's Powerplay problems. He and Simmons were involved in two hundred plus and fifty plus stands respectively and it was the only opening pair along with Chris Gayle-Virat Kohli to have registered two hundred plus stands. Parthiv was sharp behind the stumps with ten dismissals which involved three stumpings. He was the best wicket-keeper batsman in the tournament.
Andre Russell: One of the most underrated players, Andre Russell set the tournament on fire with his breathtaking hitting. He ended up with best strikerate of 192.89. The West Indian showed his ability to win matches single-handedly from a 'it's-not-going-to-happen' situation on a couple of occasions. Against Kings XI Punjab in Pune, he blasted 66 from 36 balls to power KKR to victory after the visitors were reeling at 60/5. He came back to haunt the same opposition in the return leg at the Eden Gardens with a swashbuckling 21-ball 51, coming in at 84/4 with 101 needed off 56 balls. He scored 326 runs at 36.22 with three fifties and contributed with the ball too, providing wickets at crucial junctures. He was KKR's highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets at 23.14 and a decent economy rate of 7.96. He was named the most valuable player of the tournament.
Dwayne Bravo: Another West Indian that played his heart out in the tournament was Dwayne Bravo. He was always there when Chennai Super Kings needed him. He played little cameos at the death. He was the partnership breaker and his clever pace variations earned him the most number of wickets (26 at 16.38 and economy rate of 8.14) in the tournament. He was electric in the field, taking some breathtaking catches and affecting match-turning run outs. He took joint-most number of catches along with Ravindra Jadeja - 13.
Ashish Nehra: After his crucial spell or a wicket, Virender Sehwag would tweet - 'Nehraji old is gold'. And the 36-year old left-arm pacer indeed showed that it's not just a young man's game as he ended up as CSK's highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets at 20.40 and a very good economy rate of 7.24. He was brilliant with the new ball and at the death too. In this edition, he also ended up with his career-best IPL figures - 4/10 against RCB at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Mitchell McClenaghan: MI's Powerplay problems early on weren't just restricted to their batting. With Lasith Malinga struggling to find form, they were struggling with their new ball too. But the decision to drop Corey Anderson and include Mitchell McClenaghan proved to be another master stroke. The New Zealand pacer provided them good starts with the new ball and his aggression stood out. He ramped up good pace and was good with his death bowling too. Malinga might have ended up as the highest wicket-taker for MI but it was McClenaghan who provided the spark. He ended up with 18 wickets at 21.44 and an economy rate of 8.21.
Harbhajan Singh: Over the years, Harbhajan and Malinga have formed the core of MI' bowling. We saw an invigorated Harbhajan this season, as he was more inclined to flight the ball and look for wickets than just try and contain the batsmen. He took 18 wickets at 24.77 at an economy rate of 7.82 and his dismissals of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni off consecutive balls in the first Qualifier was a body blow for CSK.
The IPL trophy and a recall to India Test side after two years was just reward for the veteran off-spinner.
Updated Date: May 27, 2015 08:42:21 IST