Shane Watson [Batting: 555 runs, bowling: 8 wickets]
When the former Aussie all-rounder retired, the decision left a lot of spectators in speculation, has he made the decision too early, was there a lot of gas left in him, and his recent stint in the IPL has given them a reason to believe so. It has been a fairytale kind of run for Watto in IPL 2018. He scored 555 runs with the help 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries and used his skills with the bowl too grabbing 8 wickets until he got some niggles and the captain chose not to bowl the veteran to keep him match fit and utilize his batting potential to the best of his abilities. Best of him with the bat came in the finals in which he made a mockery of heavily loaded SRH bowling attack by blasting 117 off 57 balls. He was bought by CSK for INR 4 crore, which he proved worth every penny.
Sunil Narine [Batting: 357 runs, bowling: 17 wickets]
We have witnessed a number of remarkable performances from the West Indian as a mystery bowler and he has made it count for KKR whenever they need him. This season KKR started their campaign with a shorter squad and exclusion of Aussie pacer, Mitchell Starc, made it a lot worse for them and they needed some experienced folks like Narine to turn up for their team and he did so in a staggering fashion. KKR took a calculated risk by using Narine as an opener after noticing that he has shown a great promise in his batting during recent Big Bash. This move paid off very well for them. He scored 357 runs with the strike rate of almost 190, which is the best among batsmen with a 300-plus score. Though KKR could not cross the line, he proved to be the most valuable asset for his team.
Kane Williamson (Vice-Captain) [735 runs]
SRH had a huge concern about the unavailability of few of their key players and captain. They appointed Kane Williamson, the current New Zealand captain, the captain of SRH as they did not have too many options in the banks. Everybody speculated that it would be very hard for him to match the charisma of David Warner, but he comes out with all guns blazing. His heroics with the bat carried SRH through to the finals. He scored 735 runs with the bat with the help of eight half-centuries and became the highest run-getter (Orange Cap) of the tournament.
KL Rahul [Batting: 659 runs]
Yet another player cut loose by RCB, turned out to be a stand out performer for his team. KXIP spent a whopping amount of 11 crores for KL Rahul. He started off his campaign in a scintillating manner by striking fastest fifty of the IPL off 14 balls against Delhi Daredevils. KL Rahul continued his good form and he helped KXIP win five of their first six matches. He scored 95 and almost pulled off an amazing victory for his team against Rajasthan Royals, but he did not get support from another end. Despite KL Rahul’s top-notch performance, KXIP loses momentum in the second half of the tournament and failed to qualify for the playoffs. KL Rahul’s IPL performance lent him his place back in the national side. He became the third highest scorer of the tournament.
Rishabh Pant [Batting: 684 runs]
This proved to be a very special season for Rishabh Pant. He has lived up to the reputation that he has built from the early days of his under-19 career. His style of batting reminds us another batting great from Delhi, Virender Sehwag. The very thing that stands him apart from others is his fearless approach. On a bad day, his dismissal might look a bit ugly, but when he is on a song, he is a treat to watch. He managed to score 684 with the strike rate of 173.68 and continued his onslaught throughout the IPL, which earned him the emerging player trophy. He scored one century (128 off 63 balls) and five blistering half centuries (64 off 44 balls, 61 off 34 balls, 85 off 48 balls, and 79 off 45 balls). Despite his gigantic efforts, he was only managed to win two games for Delhi, but this was mainly due to poor show of other teammates who could not capitalize the starts provided by Pant. He struck the highest number of sixes (37). Overall, it was a sublime display of batting by this Delhi southpaw.
Dinesh Karthik [Batting: 498 runs]
Dinesh Karthik is playing best cricket of his career and he displayed that in the IPL too. It was hard to fill Gambhir’s shoes, but he managed it quite well. KKR was the most inexperienced side in the IPL and there were a lot of responsibilities on Karthik’s shoulders to keep things in order. He did well on both the fronts. His exhibited supreme display of betting and hit 498 runs at a strike rate of 147.77 in a very consistent manner by scoring six 30s and most of them in the winning causes. One of the best things, he brings to KKR is that they do not need a part-time wicketkeeper (Robin Uthappa) to keep wickets. His fine glove work resulted in 18 dismissals behind the stumps. KKR will definitely thrive under his leadership and will be very serious contender for the next season
MS Dhoni (Captain and Wicketkeeper) [Batting 455 runs. Behind the wickets: 17 dismissals]
Dhoni for Pune was a bit rusty last year, but Dhoni for CSK entered this IPL with his Midas touch on. Recently, Dhoni faced a lot of criticism regarding his dwindling striking capabilities, but in this IPL, he put everything to rest. He kicked start his campaign in a swashbuckling manner. CSK managed to chase down two 200 plus scores with MSD’s contribution too. Dhoni had best batting average of more than 75 in IPL with 455 runs. It was the first time in the IPL history he crossed 450 mark. He holds the record for highest stumping (37 in 175 matches). Dhoni pulled off a few unbelievable innings (51 off 22) against DD and unbeaten 79 against KXIP and almost took his team across the line. MSD’s destroyed RCB with his innings – 34-ball 70. CKS thrashed table topper SRH four times on a trot including finals. CKS and Dhoni started their cause as one of the favorites and emerged as a champion for the third time.
Rashid Khan [Bowling: 21 wickets]
The Afghanistan cricket has a lot of potential and Rashid is one of them. He led the best bowling attack of the IPL 2018 that SRH had. The biggest strength of Rashid is his variety of deliveries and pace variation with supreme accuracy. Apart from few instances here and there, he never allowed any batsman to get better of him. His economy of 6.73 depicted his tight control. Rashid’s ability to bowl with great control enabled SRH to defend few of lowest totals of the tournament. Rashid stunned KKR with his batting abilities in quarterfinal where he scored 34 off 10 balls and took 3 for 19 and took two catches. His surreal display of cricket pushed KKR out of the match single-handedly. Rashid will prove to be a very important resource for SRH in the coming years
Siddarth Kaul [Bowling: 21 wickets]
One of the finds in this IPL for Indian cricket is the SRH’s pacer Siddharth Kaul. He surprised lot of opponents with his ability to bowl with extreme control at the death overs as well as the start of the innings. This hardworking cricketer cricketer finished his season with 21 wickets. His 3 for 23 halted MI’s chase of a very low total of 119. He was very economical throughout the IPL and Kaul generated good pace too. Kaul provided a great assistance to Bhuvi at the other end.
Andrew Tye [Bowling: 24 wickets]
Another positive for KXIP, Andrew Tye, who took 24 wickets in 14 games at an average of 18.66 and grabbed purple cap. Tye’s admirable bowling could not help KXIP to manage a place in playoffs. His best figure of 4 for 16 against MI did not prove enough as KXIP lost the by three runs. He is the only bowler in IPL history to take three four-wicket hauls. Tye adjusted well to the conditions and performed extraordinarily.
Umesh Yadav [Bowling: 20 wickets]
RCB struggled in the bowling department in the first half of the IPL, but Umesh was a standout performer for RCB. He surprised batsman with his pace and bounce on subcontinent wickets, which they are not known for. He took 20 wickets. He bowls at a good pace with swing in the early part of the innings. RCB spent 4.2 crores for Umesh and he did not disappoint them in any way. A collective effort of batting and bowling could have changed the fate for RCB, but Umesh raised a lot of hope for RCB for the upcoming seasons for RCB.