Despite several controversies, including the disgraceful spot-fixing, IPL 6 has produced some really good cricket throughout the entire tournament. Some great team and individual performances charmed cricket lovers throughout the world. Zeenews.com’s Sports Team tries to make a Best IPL 6 XI on the basis of this year’s individual performances.
Openers: If there is one opener who can make it to all the T20 XIs in the world it is the burly Jamaican Christopher Gayle, who set the IPL on fire again in 2013. Such was the brutality of his batting that he came close to scoring almost a double hundred in this year’s IPL. His 175 off just 66 balls with 13 fours and 17 sixes testifies the fact that in T20 he is the best batsman the world has seen so far. Despite having a very poor bowling attack, it`s Gayle’s power hitting which kept Virat Kohli-led RCB’s hopes alive to qualify for the play-offs till the very end. He scored 708 runs in 16 matches at an average of 59 and a strike rate of 156.29, the highest among the top ten run-scorers in the tournament. He scored a century and four fifties too.
With a performance like that he is our number one opener. If anyone can challenge him, it is Mr Cricket Mike Hussey himself, who became the highest run scorer this season. Since we can accommodate only four foreign recruits in our final XI, he misses out despite scoring more runs than Gayle. It’s Gayle’s sheer impact which outsmarted Hussey. With their current form, both players opening the innings is a dream for any team.
Since we need an Indian opener to accompany Gayle we have two options: Sunrisers’ Shikhar Dhawan and Rajasthan Royals’ Ajinkya Rahane. Both have performed admirably well in this year. Rahane has led his team to victory in many matches. He, along with skipper Rahul Dravid, gave the Royals a sense of calmness in the otherwise maddening format of the game. In 16 matches, Rahane scored 449 runs at an average of 37.41 with four fifties. Despite being a consistent performer we can’t choose him over Shikhar Dhawan, who is in the form of his life. He missed the initial stage of the IPL due to an injury he suffered after scoring that historic debut ton against the Aussies during India’s home series. But ever since Dhawan joined the team, Sunrisers’ batting looked far more assured and it’s no wonder that they surprised almost everybody by qualifying for the play-offs. In the nine matches he played so far, Dhawan scored 278 runs at an average of 39.71 with 3 fifties to his name.
Middle-order: There are plenty of contenders for the middle-order and most of them are Indians. But we have chosen Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina for the No. 3, No. 4, No.5 and No. 6 positions, respectively. RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who has scored 634 runs in 16 matches at an average of around 45, has been a consistent performer with the bat this season. It’s a great performance considering the fact that he was made a full time captain before the start of the IPL.
Another young captain, skipper of Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma came good with the bat in pressure situations and gave enough indications that, unlike the popular conception, he thrives under pressure. A classy batsman to the core, he has amassed 534 runs and is at 5th place in the run-scorers list. His batting was always refreshing but he proved that he can be effective and ready to take the mantle of Indian batting once Sachin Tendulkar leaves the field. He takes the important No. 4 slot in the team.
There is no destructive Indian batsman in the shorter version of the game than India and Chennai Super Kings skipper and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. Dhoni is a dream for any team as he can bat at any position in the middle-order and can switch gears according to the demand of the situation. He has made the habit of finishing tight matches on his own and this year was no exception to the rule. In 17 IPL matches so far, he has scored 398 runs at an average of 36.18 with 3 fifties where 67 being his best. But what makes him a special player is his huge strike rate of 167.22.
Dhoni is followed by his CSK teammate Suresh Raina, who also played some scintillating innings in this year’s IPL. A consistent player for the CSK ever since the first edition of the tournament, Raina is also a player who can destroy the opposition single handedly. He has made 548 runs in 17 matches so far with a century and 4 fifties at an amazing strike rate of more than 150.
All-rounder: Though there are some serious contenders to fill up the all rounder’s slot in the team, we selected CSK’s Dwayne Bravo. He pipped Shane Watson, who is more of a batting all-rounder and Ravindra Jadeja, who, in the initial stages of the tournament, won some tight matches for Chennai Super Kings under huge pressure. Jadeja’s bowling also remained steady as ever.
But it’s his teammate who grabs the No. 7 spot simply because he bowled superbly in the tournament coming as a one-change bowler. Bravo picked up important wickets in the middle overs which helped his team to keep a check on the opposition. His late order batting also helped his team win some tight matches and also post huge scores while batting first. It is no mean achievement for an all rounder to become the highest wicket taker of a tournament with 28 wickets in 17 matches.
Pace Bowlers: With Bravo as one of the three pacers, we choose Sunriser’s Dale Styen and CSK’s Mohit Sharma as the other two pacers. Steyn finally proved that a good bowler can bowl well in any condition and in any format. There was a lot of talk regarding his mediocre performance in T20s but this year he has proven everyone wrong and helped Sunrisers to come up with astounding victories. With Bravo as one of the three pacers, we choose Sunriser’s Dale Styen and CSK’s Mohit Sharma as the other two pacers. Steyn finally proved that a good bowler can bowl well in any condition and in any format. There was a lot of talk regarding his mediocre performance in T20s but this year he has proven everyone wrong and helped Sunrisers come up with astounding victories.
Every year one or two new kids come out of nowhere to surprise one and all. Mohit Sharma is one of those kids who impressed everybody with his seam bowling. Not an express fast bowler, Mohit has shown enough potential in this year’s IPL to make cricket pundits seriously think of him as a future India prospect. In the 14 IPL matches for CSK, he has taken 19 wickets and amazed cricket lovers with his control and swing.
Spinners: In a format where batsmen dominate, spinners are the favourite whipping boys. It’s not surprising that there are not many spinners in the top ten wicket-takers’ list. But two spinners who held their own were KKR’s West Indian recruit Sunil Narine and Sunrisers’ leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Despite having an ordinary season for the defending champions KKR, Narine was the only saving grace for the team. In 16 matches he took 22 wickets with an economy rate of 5.46. Misra, on the other hand, turned games on their heads single handedly. His four-wicket haul in the last over against Pune Warriors which helped his team snatch a brilliant win restored faith again in spinners in T20 cricket.
Best IPL 6 XI: Chris Gayle, S Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Dale Steyn, Mohit Sharma, Sunil Narine, Amit Mishra
Players who narrowly miss out: Mike Hussey, Dinesh Karthik, AB de Villers, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Rahul Dravid, James Faulkner, Vinay Kumar