Ahead of the 2017 Indian Premier League final between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant on Sunday, Paul Radley selects his team of the tournament.
David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad, overseas)
Warner is a remarkably driven individual. Even with the backdrop of a pay dispute back at home in Australia as an ever growing distraction, he was startlingly good at the top of the order for the outgoing champions. A brutal century and four other half centuries beside was another fine body of IPL work.
Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Unfashionable, undervalued and under-appreciated, yet the Kolkata captain carries on producing. He has not played white-ball cricket for India for more than four years, now. He could have done little more to have nudged the selectors ahead of the Champions Trophy, with the highest run haul of any Indian in the IPL.
Rishabh Pant (Delhi Daredevils)
The prevalence of six hitting in the IPL means extraordinary batting feats now often feel ordinary. The 97 Pant made in beating Gujarat Lions in Delhi was remarkable, though. Since when can a side be 30 runs short when they make 208 in 20 overs, as Gujarat did that night? Pant chased that down with three overs to spare.
Suresh Raina (Gujarat Lions)
Gujarat Lions were crippled by second-season syndrome, but their captain carried on in his time-honoured fashion. It might have been the first time he has missed out on playing in the play-offs, but Raina still notched three 50s, and batted at a strike-rate of 144 for the tournament.
Ben Stokes (Rising Pune Supergiant, overseas)
The England all-rounder played the whole competition as if he was trying to prove he was worth the record sum Pune lavished on him at auction. By the time he left to join England’s Champions Trophy preparations in Spain, he had proved he was a snip at $2 million (Dh7.35m). Give that man a pay rise.
Ravindra Jadeja (Gujarat Lions)
Middling returns with bat and ball, and his Gujarat team were a shambles in their second season as an IPL entity. But he is selected here on the basis of fielding skills that are scarcely believable. Has anyone else in history hit the stumps as often as he does with throws? The two run-outs in the final over against Mumbai were ice cool.
Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad, overseas)
Unknown to most before auction day. His price tag will have sent many rushing to Google to find out more about him. By the end of the tournament, the Afghan leg-spinner’s merits were obvious to all. His returns in the IPL did a service for all players beyond the Test sphere, as it shows there are gems to be found beyond the mainstream.
Jaydev Unadkat (Rising Pune Supergiant)
What is the perfect final over when the opposition are pushing hard for victory in a run-chase? A triple-wicket maiden, including a hat-trick, should just about cover it. That is what Pune’s talented left-arm quick delivered in beating Sunrisers Hyderabad, as part of his tournament haul of 22 wickets so far.
Imran Tahir (Rising Pune Supergiant)
Supporters delight in the South Africa leg-spinner’s exuberance. His teammates cheer his skills. Even his rivals benefit. After matches, Tahir would get together with opposition leg-spinners to discuss strategy. He obviously has a good one, given he was the most productive slow bowler in the tournament.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Barring anything out of the ordinary in the final by Jaydev Unadkat (who trails by four wickets) Kumar will end the IPL as its leading wicket taker for the second season in a row. That is quite a feat for the Hyderabad swing bowler, who added 26 wickets this time around to the 23 he took last year.
Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians)
Still only 23, yet already established as the go-to bowler when tension is at its highest. This was most obvious when titans like Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch found him as good as unplayable in the super over between Mumbai and Gujarat Lions. Before the final, Bumrah has 18 wickets in the IPL so far.
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