In the slam-bang Twenty20 format of cricket many reputations can be tarnished, and then some can be enhanced given the huge amounts of money and fan following the Indian Premier League attracts. As the sixth season draws to a close with the knockout stages left, we look at those who had a successful outing over the last two months, as well as those who flopped given their experience or the hefty price tags that they carried:
MS Dhoni (captain, w.k) - Chennai Super Kings
A must-have name to lead a side in any pressure-cooker situation even if Chennai would not have made it to the top as they did eventually after a shaky start. His innovative captaincy showed he is never going to give the grey cells inside his brain a rest.
That he is a finisher is a bonus.
Chris Gayle – Royal Challengers Bangalore
No adjectives, superlatives here. Pure brute force. Line and length, swing and bounce, home or away did not matter. Only the length of those huge sixes differed. Owner of the highest score in the format. Enough said.
Michael Hussey – Chennai Super Kings
When Chennai were shaky at the start, Mr Cricket was also Mr Consistent as the Australian opener kept his team in the hunt with his starts even in humid home conditions.
Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore
The perfect No 3 bat. Though his maturity between the ears and his on-field tantrums do not quite add up to the captaincy arm band at his franchise, his batting form was sublime.
Rohit Sharma & Dinesh Karthik – Mumbai Indians
If there was a middle-order pair who performed the role of top order batsmen with so much frequency that their side managed to go top of the table and stayed steady it was the pair from Mumbai. There were no jaw-dropping knocks but gritty bits and pieces to make.
Suresh Raina - Chennai Super Kings
Like Virat Kohli, another batsman in form and who slipped in runs with the bat so effortlessly to almost go under the radar and provide the vital support to a team even before the rivals realised it. Extra edge as a fielder and an energetic player running around to encourage the bowlers and other teammates.
Shane Watson – Rajasthan Royals
The first of two all-rounders who had a decent run with the bat and did their modest bit with the ball to keep the economy rate as much low as possible.
When a spinner barely touching 5 feet in height equals the fiersome Dale Steyn in getting respect from the batsmen it is enough to say Amit Mishra was the main reason Hyderabad are in the play-offs despite not being batting-heavy. His handiness with the bat should not be discounted.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar - Pune Warriors India
The lone bright spark from the misleadingly-named Warriors of Pune. Hiw wicket column may not be as heavy as Rajasthan Royal's James Faulkner but given the odds he was stacked up against, his economy run rate in hopeless situations was heart-warming. With the cap of four foreigners in the playing XI, he gets the cap as the second medium pacer in the side.
Sunil Narine – Kolkata Knight Riders
The wily spinner from the Caribbean has variations enough to keep the batsmen unsure of attack or defence. In most cases they opted to see him out and attack at the other end. It helped his captain that he finished his overs quickly and efficiently.
Ricky Ponting – Mumbai Indians
Sachin Tendulkar – Mumbai Indians
Gautam Gambhir – Kolkata Knight Riders
Yusuf Pathan – Kolkata Knight Riders
Kumar Sangakkara – Sunrisers Hyderabad
Mahela Jayawardene – Delhi Daredevils
Virender Sehwag - Delhi Daredevils
Yuvraj Singh - Pune Warriors
Saurabh Tiwary - Royal Challengers Bangalore
Murali Vijay - Chennai Super Kings
Adam Gilchrist - Kings XI Punjab