IPL 2018: Best XI of the tournament

KL Rahul
KL Rahul

The IPL 2018 was one heck of a tournament and perhaps the best in 11 years so far. Until the last day of the league stage, none of us knew who the final 4 teams will be. While Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings dominated the group stage, there were 5 other sides who were battling to secure the other 2 playoff spots.

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In the end, fittingly, the top 2 sides of the league made it to the final and CSK marched on to their 3rd IPL title. As a memorable season ended, it’s time to head back and pick the best performers. An IPL Best XI is a side that consists of the standout performers with bat and ball. Keeping in mind the rules of an IPL side, we present to you the dream XI of the season.

Here’s the Best XI of IPL 2018

#1 KL Rahul

The standout Indian batsman of IPL 2018 was KL Rahul. Playing his first season for Kings XI Punjab, he was truly outstanding. Royal Challengers Bangalore must be rueing letting him go for the auction. Rahul single-handedly carried the hopes of KXIP and won the matches for the franchise on numerous occasions.

He was classy right through the tournament and his stroke-making left many wondering why this man can’t find a regular spot in the Indian squad. The right-hander scored 659 runs in 14 innings at an average of 54.92 and a strike rate of 158.41. He notched up 6 fifties that included 2 scores in the nineties. Even though KXIP failed to make the playoffs, Rahul’s outstanding run might ensure a prominent place in the national side.

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KL Rahul
KL Rahul
The IPL 2018 was one heck of a tournament and perhaps the best in 11 years so far. Until the last day of the league stage, none of us knew who the final 4 teams will be. While Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings dominated the group stage, there were 5 other sides who were battling to secure the other 2 playoff spots. In the end, fittingly, the top 2 sides of the league made it to the final and CSK marched on to their 3rd IPL title. As a memorable season ended, it's time to head back and pick the best performers. An IPL Best XI is a side that consists of the standout performers with bat and ball. Keeping in mind the rules of an IPL side, we present to you the dream XI of the season.

Here's the Best XI of IPL 2018

#1 KL Rahul

The standout Indian batsman of IPL 2018 was KL Rahul. Playing his first season for Kings XI Punjab, he was truly outstanding. Royal Challengers Bangalore must be rueing letting him go for the auction. Rahul single-handedly carried the hopes of KXIP and won the matches for the franchise on numerous occasions. He was classy right through the tournament and his stroke-making left many wondering why this man can't find a regular spot in the Indian squad. The right-hander scored 659 runs in 14 innings at an average of 54.92 and a strike rate of 158.41. He notched up 6 fifties that included 2 scores in the nineties. Even though KXIP failed to make the playoffs, Rahul's outstanding run might ensure a prominent place in the national side.

#2 Sunil Narine

Sunil Narine, KKR
Sunil Narine
When it comes to the IPL, one man that always shines is Sunil Narine. Usually, one would relate the West Indian mocking the batsman with his magical spin bowling. But apart from bowling, this year, he came to the fore with his explosive batting. Kolkata Knight Riders promoted him to open the innings with a clear intention of going after the bowling from ball one. Narine scored 357 runs from 16 innings at an astonishing strike rate of 189.89. He provided explosive starts more often than not that did wonders for KKR throughout the season. With the ball, he picked up 17 wickets and while this wasn't his best year in terms of economy rate, yet he proved to be the most valuable player of the season with the all-round performances.

#3 Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson
Before the start of the season, Sunrisers Hyderabad Hyderabad were hit with a massive blow when their captain David Warner wasn't allowed to participate in IPL 2018 on the back of his suspension on ball-tampering charges. SRH made a gutsy call and handed over the captaincy to Kane Williamson who otherwise would have struggled to find a place in the XI if Warner were to be there. Many believed that SRH would struggle in the absence of Warner but boy did Williamson rose to the occasion. Pretty early in the tournament, he regrouped the side and guided them to victories. Very soon, no one remembered Warner because Williamson was filling in not just with the leadership but also with his magnificent batting. If Warner was the man with the bat in the previous years for SRH, this year, they banked on Williamson. He finished the tournament with 735 runs from 17 innings at an average of 52.5 and a strike rate of 142.44. The Kiwi batsman ended up as the leading run-getter of the season and won the Orange Cap. Under his leadership, the SRH side finished as the table-toppers and ended up as the runners-up.

#4 Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant
Delhi Daredevils had spent massively for retaining Rishabh Pant before the auction. They had paid a hefty amount of INR 15 crore for the wicketkeeper-batsman. The 20-year-old did complete justice to his price tag and carried his team along single-handedly with the bat. Even though DD didn't have a great IPL 2018 yet this proved to be the breakthrough season for Pant. The left-hander scored 684 runs from 14 innings at an average of 52.62 with a stupendous strike rate of 173.6. He finished as the second highest run-getter of the season just behind Williamson. Pant also notched up the highest score of the league when he made 128 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

#5 MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
Some had written him off, some had called for his retirement while some had mocked him for his diminishing powers with the bat. But it seemed as if MS Dhoni was a man on a mission in IPL 2018. He swung back the clock and with the return of Chennai Super Kings this year, it was also the return of the Dhoni we all knew in the past. This season, he batted as good as he ever did in the 11 years of the league. He was striking the big ones out of the park and more importantly, finishing the games for his side like he has done right through his illustrious career. 455 runs in 15 matches at an average of 75.83 and a strike rate of 150.66 and the 3rd IPL title in the bag as the CSK skipper, there is nothing more a player could hope to achieve in a year.

#6 Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik
Kolkata Knight Riders let go of their previous captain Gautam Gambhir and handed over a massive responsibility of leading the side to Dinesh Karthik. The wicketkeeper has been enjoying a purple patch ever since his last ball heroics in the Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh. He carried the momentum to IPL 2018 and had a wonderful season. Karthik donned the role of a finisher for KKR and did that beautiful job at that. He made 498 runs in 16 innings at an average of 49.8 and a strike rate of 147.77. Many a time, he came down the order and took his side to victories. But it was his captaincy that overshadowed his batting. His wonderful leadership took the side to the playoffs that finished 3rd in the league.

#7 Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya was one of the 3 players who was retained by Mumbai Indians before the auction. His all-round abilities are an asset to any T20 side in the world. This year, he didn't enjoy great success with the bat and managed to score 260 runs from 13 matches. His strike rate of 133.33 was far lower than one would expect from him. But he did turn up massively with the bowl. The 24-year-old bagged 18 wickets and ended up as the leading wicket-taker for his side. His economy rate was a tad on the higher side but he provided wickets on most occasions when the skipper Rohit Sharma handed the ball to him. One aspect of his game that never goes down is his fielding and he took some great catches and once again proved to be safe as houses.

#8 Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan was in the buzz before the auction as he was up for grabs. Sunrisers Hyderabad used the RTM card to bring back the leg-spinner for a whopping INR 9 crores. The Afghan player proved worthy of every penny that was spent on him by the franchise. Leg-spinners are the talk of the town these days and it's headed by Rashid. He took 21 wickets in IPL 2018 from 17 matches at an economy rate of just 6.74. The right-hander finished as the second highest wicket-taker of the season. There weren't too many batsmen who were able to read his variations and he got the better of even the masters of spin bowling like MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

#9 Andrew Tye

Andrew Tye
Andrew Tye
In an era where T20 bowling is dominated by wrist spinners, the Purple Cap of IPL 2018 went to a fast bowler. Andrew Tye of Kings XI Punjab was the highest wicket-taker of the season with 24 scalps from 14 matches. Had his franchise made it to the playoffs, he could well have added a few more to his wickets tally. Bowling was the weaker side of KXIP and Tye was the sole bright spot for them. He was the only player in the top 10 wicket-takers this year whole Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the next best for the franchise with 14 wickets. Tye's skills with the new ball and the variations like the knuckle ball worked pretty well for him and gave him heaps of wickets.

#10 Siddharth Kaul

Siddharth Kaul
Siddharth Kaul
The pace bowling of Sunrisers Hyderabad has been heavily reliant on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the pacer had been excellent in the previous years. But IPL 2018 was rare as he looked off-colored and couldn't produce the goods. But it didn't impact the side much as another pacer Siddharth Kaul stood up. He was impressive even in 2017 but this year, he was on another level. The right-hander ended with 21 wickets and equaled in wickets tally with Rashid Khan. Due to his superb performance this season, he earned a call-up in the national limited-overs squad for the tour to England.

#11 Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav was never known to be a great bowler of the shortest format of the game and rather kept for the whites. But this season, he showcased another aspect of his game. He joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp this year but didn't have the most fruitful results in the beginning. During the slog overs, he was being taken for plenty. But the skipper Virat Kohli brought in a change and gave Yadav an extended run with the new ball. The move turned out to be the game-changer for the pacer who bowled with full gas at the top. He bagged 20 wickets from 14 matches and ended up as the leading wicket-taker for his side. Kohli, who is also the captain of the national side, might well have discovered something about Yadav for the blue jersey as well.   Stay updated with all the IPL action, follow Cricadium on FacebookTwitter and Instagram