CricViz analysts select their best XI from the competition, using Average Match Impact to find the players who’ve contributed the most.
692 runs, 143.86 SR, average impact +7.7
It was like he never went away. After all that the last year has held for the Australian, it was a relief to just see him back on a cricket field, doing what he does best. He played 12 innings and passed 50 in nine of them, averaging 69.20 – the most he’s ever done in an IPL season. His partnership with Jonny Bairstow at the top of the SRH order was one of the revelations of the season, Warner leading from the front with his equally fiery British teammate.
521 runs, 135.67 SR, average impact +1.1
In a Delhi Capitals side filled with young players looking to make good on their potential, Shikhar Dhawan was a crucial experienced head. Opening up alongside Prithvi Shaw, it was not uncommon to see the left-hander helping his younger, right-handed colleague between deliveries, talking him through. Even with that aside, his own individual contributions were vast. A 500+ run IPL for only the third time in his career, he was able to hit the ground running following his transfer from Sunrisers Hyderabad, and settle into his new surrounds with three fifties in seven innings at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
220 runs, 165.41 SR, 6 wickets, 6.76 economy rate, average impact +4.2
In another very disappointing season for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Moeen was a bright spark of hope. With bat and ball, he managed to make contributions while all others were struggling. His 66 (28) against KKR was enough to force a rare win for Kohli’s side, Moeen’s explosive batting more impactful through scoring rate than through pure weight of runs. Shunted around the order – as he often is for his national side – the Englishman was able to get serious returns against spin, scoring at 10.28rpo against the slower bowlers.
488 runs, 162.66 SR, average impact +6.5
This was another staging post for the development of Rishabh Pant, Indian superstar. That Delhi batting order he was part of included plenty of talented, eye-catching stars, but even in that context Rishabh stood out. He opened the tournament with a remarkable 78* (27) against Mumbai Indians, the eventual winners, and ended it single-handedly dragging DC to a semi-competitive score in the semi-final against Chennai. A rapidly improving cricketer, he’s becoming an expert in the death overs – he scored at 14.17rpo in the last five overs this tournament.
416 runs, 134.62 SR, average impact +4.6
It was a vintage season for Chennai Super Kings’ captain. Dhoni averaged 104.00, finished not out in seven of his 12 innings and was the driving force behind CSK’s middle order. Perhaps his most notable innings was the 58 from 43 balls that saw his side home in the thriller against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur while his 84 against Royal Challengers Bangalore brought Chennai to within a whisker of winning a game they had no right to be anywhere near winning. Dhoni was of only eight players to score at more than 10 runs per over at the death and his average of 89.33 at that stage was higher than each of the other seven.
510 runs, 204.81 SR, 11 wickets, 9.51 economy rate, average impact +13.9
Russell was a devastating presence in Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order. His strike rate was the highest of any batsman to face 200+ balls in an IPL season and the range and regularity of his destructive hitting has scarcely been seen in any form of cricket. However, it was not the speed of Russell’s batting that was so impressive, rather the ability he had to consistently make telling contributions. He only failed to pass 20 four times and played at least four match-winning innings that almost dragged KKR to the playoffs. If Russell had not faced a single ball in this IPL, he would still have been one of the Knight Riders’ top performers – his 11 wickets meant he finished their leading wicket-taker.
402 runs, 191.42 SR, 14 wickets, 9.17 economy rate, average impact +6.2
Hardik played a vital role in Mumbai’s title-winning campaign, providing balance as the premier all-rounder in the team. Alongside Kieron Pollard, Hardik was a menacing presence with the bat down the order and finished with a death overs run rate of 11.80, the second highest behind Andre Russell of players to have faced 100+ balls in that phase. With the ball, Hardik was expensive at times but showed a happy knack of taking wickets at important times and dismissing key players – Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni were among the players he got out, the latter of which at a decisive time that swung the match in Mumbai’s favour.
20 wickets, 7.22 economy rate, average impact +5.6
The 2018 IPL was a breakthrough season for Gopal when he took 11 wickets at an economy rate of 7.61 but this season he elevated his returns to the next level, finishing with 20 wickets – making him the fourth highest wicket taker this season. Gopal’s excellence was built on the brilliance of his googly which brought him 11 of his wickets at an average of 9.45 runs per wicket. No leg spinner took more googly wickets or had a lower googly average.
15 wickets, 7.27 economy rate, average impact +6.0
Out of favour with India’s white ball teams this was a season where Ashwin reminded the world of his brilliance. Modern T20 is a notoriously tough environment for conventional off spinners and it was revealing that Ashwin found success by bowling 30% carrom balls. This variation kept the batsmen guessing and enabled Ashwin to return similar averages against both right-handers and left-handers. Ashwin bowled in all three phases of the match and was particularly effective in the death overs where he had an economy rate of just 5.50.
11 wickets, 6.76 economy rate, average impact +11.3
After a superb debut season last year Archer took his game to another level this year. Archer’s main attribute was not his wicket-taking – 11 wickets in 11 matches represents fairly typical returns – but his economy rate – conceding runs at 6.76 runs per over despite bowling the majority of his innings at the top and tail of the innings was outstanding. This frugality is well illustrated by Archer’s True Economy Rate of -1.92 runs per over below expectation based on the overs that he bowled. Archer bowled 66% of his deliveries in the Powerplay on a good line – the third highest of any pace bowler.
19 wickets, 6.63 economy rate, average impact +7.2
Bumrah combined an economy rate comparable with Archer with wicket-taking threat – his 19 wickets were the fifth most in the tournament at a good strike rate of 19.5 balls per wicket. Like Archer, Bumrah bowled in the tough phases of the innings – delivering 81% of his overs in the Powerplay or at the Death. Bumrah’s line in the Powerplay was superb – 77% of his deliveries in the first six overs pitched on a good line, the most of any bowler. At the death Bumrah mixed pin-point yorkers with consistent hard lengths, his high-arm action helped extract lavish bounce and at decent pace he proved very difficult to get away.