The ultimate fantasy match-up between the two best IPL teams of the season.
The league stage is over, making this the perfect time for a TOI IPL All-Stars contest.
Let the debates rage!
ALL-STARS TEAM 1 (in terms of batting order; stats till league stage)
Lokesh Rahul (RHB) (WK) (KXIP)
We always knew how good he was, but KL always seemed to have those lingering doubts. Not anymore, it seems. Was more assured, more silken and more aggressive, all at the same time. Can keep wickets too!
Runs: 670 HS: 132* 100s: 1 50s: 5SR: 129.34 Avg: 55.83 6s: 23
Devdutt Padikkal (LHB) (RCB)
Definitely one for the future. Has the skills, timing and chutzpah. Made for the big stage. The left-right combine with Rahul is perfect. It’s almost impossible to leave him out this season.
Runs: 472 HS: 74 50s: 5 SR: 126.54Avg: 33.71 6s: 8
Virat Kohli (C) (RHB) (RCB)
Wasn’t exactly at his imperious best, but is still the fifth-highest run-getter this season. An aggressive leader we can’t do without. And yes, there’s still nobody better to anchor a tall chase!
Runs: 460 HS: 90* 50s: 3 SR: 122.01 Avg: 46 6s: 11
Eoin Morgan (LHB) (KKR)
We decided to punt on the England ODI skipper because of his assured presence and T20 smarts. Plus he keeps the left-right combination going and can go ballistic while captain Virat keeps the scoreboard ticking.
Runs: 418 HS: 68* 50s: 1 SR: 138.41 Avg: 41.80 6s: 24
Hardik Pandya (RHB) (MI)
Even more firepower. An explosion of six-hitting prowess at just the right time in the batting order!
Runs: 241 HS: 60* 50s: 1 SR: 174.63 Avg: 34.42 6s: 20
Rahul Tewatia (leg-break, LHB) (RR)
The toast of the season and the beginning of the tail. Can make the impossible possible with the bat. Can bowl fashionable leg-breaks. How could we leave him out?
Runs: 255 HS: 53 SR: 139.34 6s: 17 W: 10 ER: 7.08
Jofra Archer (right-arm fast) (RR)
Fast, furious and canny. A bullet with brains. The third-highest wicket-taker. No mug with the bat either.
W: 20 BB: 3/19 ER: 6.55 SR: 16.7
Kagiso Rabada (right-arm fast) (DC)
The smiling assassin. Tops the bowling charts and there’s more to come this season. Pace, guile, variation, wickets. No one can take him lightly.
W: 25 BB: 4/24 ER: 8.14 SR: 13.1
Sandeep Sharma (right-arm medium) (SRH)
A revelation in the Powerplays. Bags crucial top-order wickets. Not a tour de force of pace, but has subtle swing and a remarkably similar IPL record to Bumrah. More penetrative than is apparent at first glance.
W: 13 BB: 3/34 ER: 7.34 SR: 20.3
Trent Boult (left-arm fast) (MI)
The left-arm twist in the pace tale. Boasts impeccable control. Can move the ball both ways even in a vacuum. A captain’s delight.
W: 20 BB: 4/18 ER: 8.14 SR: 15.4
Yuzvendra Chahal (leg-break) (RCB)
The lone spinner in the top-five wicket-takers’ list this season. Head and shoulders above the competition with his leg-breaks. The cleverest in the pack. A master strategist with the tools and smarts to implement his plans. Will do the heavy lifting in a team short of part-time tweakers.
W: 20 BB: 3/18 ER: 7.16 SR: 15.9
12th Man: Varun Chakravarthy (leg-break) (KKR)
Unlucky Foreigner: Chris Gayle (LHB) (KXIP). Talismanic presence. Can replace Eoin Morgan if required.
ALL-STARS TEAM 2 (in terms of batting order; stats till league stage)
David Warner (LHB) (C) (SRH)
His considerable batting prowess isn’t yet on the wane. A no-brainer as opener, considering he is now the only batman to score 500-plus runs in 6 successive IPL seasons. Is a responsible, proven captain too.
Runs: 529 HS: 85* 50s: 4 SR: 136.69 Avg: 44.08 6s: 14
Shikhar Dhawan (LHB) (DC)
We know, we know, both openers are left-handed, flying in the face of modern match-up logic. But isn’t it all about putting your best players on the park? And hasn’t this been a very successful partnership in the past? Shikhar tends to blow hot and cold, but his highs can be match-winning.
Runs: 525 HS: 106* 100s: 2 50s: 3SR: 145.02 Avg: 47.72 6s: 10
Suryakumar Yadav (RHB) (MI)
The accumulator. This has been his season. Has already been unlucky to miss the India cut. Supremely confident of his abilities and extremely consistent. There’s more still to come.
Runs: 410 HS: 79* SR: 150.18 Avg: 41 6s: 8
Ishan Kishan (LHB) (WK) (MI)
Can’t keep him out this season, can we? Has matured and is taking giant strides towards fulfilling his early promise. Hasn’t kept wickets this season, but we’d like him to.
Runs: 428 HS: 99 SR: 140.32 Avg: 47.55 6s: 26
Ravindra Jadeja (LHB) (left-arm orthodox) (CSK)
The lone CSK wolf in the pack. We’d like him to bat higher than he’s usually allowed to. A game-changer with both bat and ball when the mood strikes him. A prized asset in any team.
Runs: 232 HS: 50 SR: 171.85 6s: 11 W: 6 ER: 8.75
Kieron Pollard (RHB) (MI)
His stats are pure gold for a cricketer who bats so low. Powerhouse finisher. Can lose his head sometimes, but it’s well worth the price of admission.
Runs: 259 HS: 60* 50s: 1 SR: 193.28 Avg: 86.33
Rashid Khan (leg-break) (SRH)
Perfect foil to Team 1’s Chahal. No one has hit him out of the park. Or read him. W: 19 BB: 3/7 ER: 5.28 SR: 17.6
Anrich Nortje (right-arm fast) (DC)
The fastest in the world and most fearsome this season. Knows how to stick to his hard-length strengths.
W: 19 BB: 3/33 ER: 7.96 SR: 15.8
Washington Sundar (right-arm off-break) (RCB)
His miserly finger-spin is a big reason why RCB are in the playoffs. Disciplined contributor. Watches batsmen’s feet till the last instant, and then adjusts his line and length accordingly.
W: 8 BB: 2/16 ER: 5.77 SR: 36.
Mohammed Shami (right-arm fast) (KXIP)
Has finally wisened up to the T20 cheat sheet and made himself invincible. Can bowl yorkers at will at the death and in the Super Overs. Has picked up wickets at regular intervals too.
W: 20 BB: 3/15 ER: 8.57 SR: 16.1
Jasprit Bumrah (right-arm fast) (MI)
Boom Boom. ‘Nuff said. The best fast bowler a captain can have. All-weather, all-duty, all the time. A gift that keeps on giving. Needless to say, also the second-highest wicket-taker.
W: 23 BB: 4/20 ER: 6.96 SR: 13.5
12th Man: T Natarajan (left-arm medium) (SRH)
Unlucky Foreigner: AB de Villiers (RHB) (WK). Now who can he replace?
(HS: highest score, W: Wickets, BB: best bowling, ER: economy rate, SR: strike rate; Avg: average)
-Stats: Rajesh Kumar