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A personal 2017 IPL XI

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IPL_XI_T20_CricketIPL season 10 began with a bang, as a few shockers were thrown up at the auction as well as a few new players being thrown into the mix. While the addition of new, high-profile names added further flavor to the league, a number of injuries and absentees took the sheen away. But as they say, “all’s well that ends well” and this is exactly what happened.

A nail-biting final after days of lopsided games provided the perfect end to a couple of months of cricketainment and a few drab playoff games. 

As it happens with any other league, the first bit of analysis is accumulating the list of top players for the season and here we take a look at the IPL XI for 2017:

David Warner

One of the first names on any team sheet would be the swashbuckling, Australian southpaw David Warner, who had yet another brilliant season.

Topping the run charts with 641 runs at an average of 58.27, a strike rate of 141.81, and a highest score of 126 are evidence enough for Warner’s selection.

The Sunrisers skipper almost always carried his team on his shoulders, though he got supported well by different players through the tournament. 

A few match winning knocks and some brilliant, attacking captaincy put Warner as the frontrunner and our first pick for the top 11 for the season.

Gautam Gambhir (C) 

The Kolkata Knight Riders skipper had a change in stance but didn’t let that affect his performance one bit. In what was a brilliant start to the season, Gambhir struck a match winning, record breaking opening partnership with Chris Lynn in their first game to help record a 10-wicket win over Gujarat Lions.

Gambhir managed 76* and gave a glimpse of things to come. The southpaw continued to play like a captain should and helped Kolkata Knight Riders make the play-offs yet again.

Gambhir totaled 498 runs, falling 2 short of the momentous 500 mark, but averaged an impressive 41.50. Playing perfect foil to his attacking partners, Gambhir paced his innings well and managed a season long strike rate of 128. It was his calming influence in the eliminator that helped Kolkata seal a spot in the qualifier.

It wasn’t just his batting, but also his captaincy that was supreme. Unlike most captains, Gambhir would go for the kill and always look to exert pressure on the opposition. While other captains thought of ways to slip overs through, Gambhir was adamant on attacking and picking further wickets. 

Steve Smith

The Australian captain could have made it a perfect debut captaincy season had he played a ball or two more in the final, which would have meant the rising Pune Supergiant lifting the IPL. But in conditions exactly unlike Australia, Smith adjusted well on a slowish wicket and got going just when needed. 

His tally of 472 runs in the season at an average close to 40 and a strike rate close to 122 has earned him a place in the team for the season.

In an edition where most foreign batsmen failed, Smith showed just why he is rated among the best. This season, the IPL had comparatively slower wickets and making quick adjustment was key, which Smith did fairly well, to his credit.

Robin Uthappa (wk)

It was a new role for Uthappa this season, but the performance wasn’t too different. With Kolkata Knight Riders looking to strike big at the top, Uthappa was pushed to No.3 and boy, didn’t he reply in the most perfect way.

Uthappa scored 5 fifties with a best of 87. All his 388 runs came at a healthy strike rate of 165. His average wasn’t great, as he let his wicket fall while attempting to score quickly. His impact was second to none.

In addition, he did really well to keep against the likes of Kuldeep and Narine and even the quicks, Umesh Yadav and Nathan Coulter-Nile, earning him a place as the wicketkeeper-batsman of the side.

Manoj Tiwary

Many might not agree with this selection, but one needs to ask the Pune think-tank about the kind of impact he had with his cameos and useful contributions across conditions. 

Manoj Tiwary had 18 other batsmen score more than him, but none in the way he did. Being mostly used at the end, his first few innings were limited to the last few overs, where he made tremendous contributions striking at a rate of over 150. 

Tiwary finished with 324 runs with an average of 32.40 and a strike rate of 137.28. His strike rate came down a bit in the last phase as he was constantly made to bat at 4 and had to calm things down before he could play his shots. 

Might have been a little low on runs as compared to others, but weighed really heavy when it came to the impact.

Ben Stokes

Having made the final, there are bound to be a few Supergiant players in the mix. But if it was Warner first, Stokes was next on the team list, but might pip Warner on the overall impact for he contributed with both the bat and the ball.

Stokes took time to show his worth but when he did, he punched above his weight and delivered more than expected. Winning games with the ball against powerful batting line-ups of RCB and SRH was the stand-out moment. 

Stokes managed 316 runs in 11 innings, which included a match winning 100, at an average of 31.60 and a strike rate of 143.

Krunal Pandya

The Ahmedabad born all-rounder made notable contributions both with the bat and the ball through the course of the season and, more importantly, when it mattered the most, to win a place in the team.

243 runs at an average of 34.71 and 10 wickets with an economy of under 7, Krunal is the perfect T20 all-rounder and someone who will walk into any side. 

Imran Tahir

Bought only as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh, Tahir highlighted everyone’s mistake at the auction in just his 1st game as he derailed the Mumbai batting and helped Pune win the game.

Tahir ended with 18 wickets in just 12 games and left the big question with him, what if he had stayed and played the final? On that wicket, he would have been a handful.

Having said that, he had a huge impact and led the Supergiant’s bowling for large parts of the tournament.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

It would only be foolish to leave the purple cap holder out of the side. Wickets up top, wickets at the death and miserly spells; this is how one would describe Bhuvi’s performance in a jiffy.

An economy of close to 7 when you bowl up top and at the death and an average of 14 is scintillating.

Jasprit Bumrah

Bumrah didn’t have the best of seasons but his remarkable death bowling and his spells in the 2nd qualifier and the final are something that speaks volumes of his ability to perform under pressure. And when a team has players who have the right temperament, it is only beneficial for the side.

Bumrah finished third on the list of top wicket takers with 20 wickets.

Jaydev Unadkat

One of the revelations of the season has been Jaydev Unadkat. Although he was criticized for picking wickets mostly at the death, Unadkat struck up top in crucial games to put Pune on the front foot, be it the must win game against Kings XI Punjab or the final against Mumbai Indians.

Unadkat has the best Strike Rate of 11.45 and the lowest economy rate among the top 5 wicket takers.

 

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