The Indian Premier League season 11 has come to its final stage, with the final match of the tournament to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday (May 27, 2018).
The top two teams in the points table, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) led by Kane Williamson and the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be facing each other for the fourth time in the tournament, with the odds favoring CSK, who have defeated SRH three times in previous meetings.
However, Circle of Cricket is putting the performances of the Indian Premier League 2018 under the scanner to choose to the best playing XI of the season.
For the openers of this playing XI, Kings XI Punjab’s KL Rahul and KKR’s Sunil Narine have made the list. Rahul made 659 runs in 14 matches, with the best of 95* and a strike rate of 158.41 and scored the fastest fifty in the IPL history in only 14 balls against DD. He will be partnered by KKR’s explosive opener Sunil Narine, who even outshined Chris Lynn in the hitting department, scoring 357 runs with a best of 75 and a strike rate of 189.89.
Both these openers are dangerous with Narine having the license to go big or go home.
Ambati Rayudu will helm the no.3 spot with his 586 runs in 15 matches (excluding the finals). He was good at building the innings and if Sunil Narine fails to provide the fireworks, he can stabilize the innings easily with his ability to rotate the strike and can also play spin well.
Kane Williamson, SRH’s best batsman will come in at the no.4 spot with 688 runs backing him. He has scored his runs at a strike rate of 143.33 and has averaged 52.92. Brilliant against spin and very very good against pace in later stages of the innings, Williamson is the perfect batsman to be the backbone of this best XI’s middle order.
For providing the impetus to the innings in later stages, the XI has the likes of Rishabh Pant (684 runs for DD at SR of 173.60), MS Dhoni (455 runs for CSK at SR of 150.66) and Dinesh Karthik (498 runs for KKR at 147.77). These three hitters have the power and might to propel the total towards dizzying heights in the last few overs of the innings when the norm is to not just double the score of the first 10 overs; but score much more than that.
Pant scored a blasting century (128*) in the tournament, while Dhoni played some superlative innings to take CSK to big totals or chasing down the totals, while Dinesh Karthik led KKR from the front with the bat. However, this best XI will be led by MS Dhoni, who will also keep wickets for the team.
Sunil Narine (17 wickets for KKR) and Rashid Khan (21 wickets for SRH) will helm the spin bowling department for the team. With both bowlers having the ability to stem the flow of runs and also pick wickets both inside and out of the power plays; opposition batsmen will find it hard to maneuver them for runs in middle overs of the innings.
The fast bowling department will have the guile of Andrew Tye (24 wickets for KXIP) and Siddharth Kaul (21 wickets for SRH), along with the pace of Umesh Yadav (20 wickets for RCB).
Tye has given full value of the money KXIP paid for him in the auction, while Kaul showed that he was the best fast bowler in the SRH lineup featuring the likes of Billy Stanlake, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Sandeep Sharma. Tye was amazing at picking wickets in the death overs of the innings, while Kaul stemmed the flow of the runs.
Umesh Yadav will provide the pace required to blast batsmen on quick pitches and he showed great skill and strength to keep RCB floating in the tournament.
COC Best XI of the IPL 2018:
KL Rahul (KXIP), Sunil Narine (KKR), Ambati Rayudu (CSK), Kane Williamson (SRH), Rishabh Pant (DD), MS Dhoni (CSK- C/WK), Dinesh Karthik (KKR), Rashid Khan (SRH), Andrew Tye (KXIP),Siddharth Kaul (SRH), Umesh Yadav (RCB)