The Sunrisers Hyderabad won the Indian Premier League title on Sunday evening and with the razzmatazz of the competition behind us, Kill’s Corner selects a Team of the Tournament.
David Warner (Sunrisers) – 848 runs, ave 60.57, SR 151.42
Ranks up with Stuart Broad as one of the least liked cricketers by neutral/opposition fans. Warner goes in a Donald Trump category for me; he is very successful, but not very likable. He led the Sunrisers with aplomb taking them to their maiden title, scoring nine half centuries in 17 innings including a vital 69 in the final and an unbeaten 93* in the ‘semi’ against Gujarat.
Virat Kohli (RCB) – 973 runs, ave 81.08, SR 152.03
Arguably one of the easiest selections, the RCB captain was outstanding both with the willow and as a leader. Topped the run scoring charts and was named Player of the Tournament. Sadly was unable to take his team across the line in the final, but his record 973 runs will perhaps never be broken unless the number of matches in the tournament is extended.
AB de Villiers (RCB) – 687 runs, ave 52.84, SR 168.79
For all the joy AB brought South African fans during the tournament, the final was another bitter pill to choke on swallow. The third highest strike rate at the tournament (of batsmen scoring more than 100 runs), four Man-of-the-Match awards and 19 catches (eight more than Moises Henriques in second place). This was AB’s finest IPL by far and a lot of Kohli’s success can be attributed to this genius from Warmbaths.
Steve Smith (Pune) – 270 runs, ave 45.00, SR 153.40
The Aussie skipper only batted seven times at the IPL before dropping out with a wrist injury. He was just hitting his straps before pulling out, scoring 45, 101, 46* and 31 in his last four innings. Smith’s departure along with Faf du Plessis’ injury effectively saw the Pune Supergiants campaign derailed.
Dwayne Smith (Gujarat Lions) – 324 runs, ave 29.45; 8 wkts, ave 19.12
Smith floated around between opening the innings and batting in the middle order. He was superb in the Playoff against RCB with his counter-attacking 73 and chimed in with some useful spells with the ball, particularly his 4/8 against KKR. His ability to clear the fence makes him dangerous anywhere in the order and his handy bowling and fielding make him the complete package.
KL Rahul (RCB) – 397 runs, ave 44.11, SR 146.49; 5 catches, 4 stumpings
A part-time keeper, Rahul did a decent job for RCB behind the stumps and grew into the role at the tournament rolled on. The Indian Test opener was also fairly useful in front of the stumps, scoring four fifties in 12 innings. In fairness, the majority of his runs came atop the order in Gayle’s absence, but I slot him in the middle order as the keeper for the tournament team.
Chris Morris (Delhi) – 195 runs, ave 65.00; 8 wkts, ave 23.69
The Million Dollar Man was a genuine superstar in the IPL and without a doubt the allrounder of the tournament. Chris Morris was outstanding in the field, fast and miserly with the ball and explosive beyond measure with the bat. His economy rate of 7 runs per over was bettered only by Mustafizur, Chris Gayle and Adam Zampa, although Gayle and Zampa bowled just 10 and 17 overs compared to the 44 of Morris and 61 of Mustafizur. He played some blinders with the bat too, in particular his 82* off 38 balls against Gujarat which included eight maximums.
Andre Russell (KKR) – 188 runs, ave 26.85; 15 wkts, ave 19.40
Dr Dre is a T20 legend and has won the World T20 and Big Bash in the last 12 months, whilst he was named Player of the Tournament at the 2015 IPL. He had some injuries niggles in the 2016 edition, but the West Indian still had plenty impact with both bat and ball, earning three Man-of-the-match awards.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Sunrisers) – 23 wkts, ave 21.30, econ 7.42
Won the Purple Cap for most wickets at the 2016 IPL, the swing king ‘Bhuvi’ led a potent Sunrisers attack in Ashish Nehra’s absence. His pace has increased significantly of late and his death bowling ability is second to only Mustafizur. Bhuvi is a great exponent of the Yorker, proving once again that the block-hole ball is the only way to go at the death. Kept calm under pressure when batsmen where going hell for leather and his last two overs in the final were crucial in getting Sunrisers over the line.
Mustafizur Rahman (Sunrisers) – 17 wkts, ave 24.76, econ 6.90
You have got to love ‘The Fizz’, just 20 years old, Mustafizur bowls with the guile and experience of a man with 100 Test caps. The best economy rate of bowlers with more than 20 overs under the belt, Mustafizur was virtually impossible to dispatch thanks to his pace variations and lethal yorkers. The young Bangladeshi missed the Qualifying Final against Gujarat, but returned to play a vital role with the ball in the final, especially at the back-end when RCB were attempting to get over the line with some lusty blows.
Adam Zampa (Pune) – 12 wkts, ave 9.80, econ 6.76
A relative nobody before the IPL started, Adam Zampa somehow snuck a contract in with just a handful of ODI and T20i caps to his name prior to the event. The Aussie legspinner played just five matches in the competition, but ended with a remarkable 12 wickets that included a haul of 6/19 against the Sunrisers. He bowled just 17 overs in the IPL, but it was enough to show that this youngster from the land of shackle draggers could one day be a real force in international cricket. Also, please note, that no one is saying Zampa is the next Shane Warne. Everyone said that about Steve Smith and look what happened to him!