The invincible IPL XI featuring one player from the 11 champion sides so far

 

Dhoni and Bravo have been exceptional for CSK
Dhoni and Bravo have been exceptional for CSK

Before its start in 2008, a few people had apprehensions over the effect that Indian Premier League would have on Indian cricket. The league has not only helped Indian cricket financially but also helped it unearthing new talents. Over the years, IPL has seen its fair share of controversies but still manages to grabs many enthusiastic eyes from all over the world, thanks to the quality of cricket being played.

Undoubtedly, the performances of the cricketers in the league are driving the league growth. In the past eleven seasons, six different teams representing five different cities have emerged victorious. The success of these teams is because of a set of players who have time and again performed exceptionally for their teams.

Teams like Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, and Kolkata Knightriders have multiple titles in their kitty because of the strong core of the group that they have retained over the years. One-time winners – Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers, and Sunrisers Hyderabad have also enjoyed success because of the many individual flashes of brilliance throughout that season.

Without much ado, let’s take a look at the invincible IPL XI featuring one player from the 11 champion sides so far.

#1 Adam Gilchrist – Deccan Chargers (2009)

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In the second season, things took a drastic turnaround for the good for the Hyderabad based franchise which was led by Adam Gilchrist. In their first season, the star-studded Deccan Chargers were the wooden spoon holders but the left-handed Australian batsman did not allow that to affect his team in the next season.

He led the side from the front and inspired them to win the tournament in South Africa. The wicket-keeper batsman scored 495 runs during the season that too with a strike of 152.30.

The most important innings of his in the 2009 tournament came against Delhi Daredevils in the semi-finals at Centurion. Delhi, the strongest franchise that season, were the table toppers and were expected to win the tournament but they ran into a raging southpaw from Australia in the semi-final.

In the first innings, Delhi Daredevils posted a tricky total of 153 at Centurion, where chasing totals close to 160 was not easy. Gilchrist set the tone of the chase in the very first over as he plundered five consecutive boundaries off the bowling of Delhi’s best bowler, Dirk Nannes.

The assault on bewildered Delhi bowlers turned the tricky chase into a one-sided affair. Gilchrist got out off the last ball of the 10th over but the damage was done as his 35-ball 85 helped DC score 102 runs in the first 10 overs. After defeating Delhi, Gilly led DC to the title in the final by defending a low score against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

#2 David Warner – Sunrisers Hyderabad (2016)

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The opening slots are filled by two Australian batsmen playing for Hyderabad-based franchises. David Warner’s move from Delhi Daredevils to the Sunrisers Hyderabad has been helped in the transformation of SRH into a champion side.

In the four years that he played for Hyderabad, Warner was the centerpiece of the team’s batting lineup. Warner single-handedly held the batting together, particularly in 2016 when he led his team to the trophy.

In the 2016 season, he amassed 848 runs with an average of 60.57 at a strike rate of 151.42. The sheer volume of runs scored by him balanced out Surinsers’ weak middle order batting.

He was at the helm of things in crucial fixtures like the Qualifier 2 and the final of 2016 in which he notched up half-centuries. His performance against Gujarat Lions in the Q2 is the perfect example of how shouldered SRH’s batting. Chasing a target of 163, he scored an unbeaten 93 when the rest of the batsmen added just 70 runs and took his team to their first finale.

In the finale, he scored a 38-ball 69 to help his side set a target of 209 for the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore. During the chase, Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli scored half-centuries but that was not enough as the Warner-led side managed to restrict RCB to 200 in 20 overs.

#3 Shane Watson – Rajasthan Royals (2008)

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In the very first season of the Indian Premier League, Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals showed that the tournament is a lot more than the glitz and glamour which was relatively new to the world of cricket. Royals showed that to win a league it is more important to focus on building a quality team instead of splurging a lot of money.

Of all the players who helped the money-ball team create history, Shane Watson was the front-runner. He excelled with not just the bat but also with the bat. He was the fourth highest run scorer and also the fourth highest wicket-taker of the inaugural tournament.

In addition to scoring to 472 runs in the tournament, he also took 17 wickets during the season. He was the most valuable player of the tournament and played a key to his team’s title run.

He is undoubtedly one of the best all-rounders to have taken part in the Indian Premier League. In the 10 seasons that he was part of, he scored 3177 runs at a strike rate of 141.20 and took 92 wickets in 117 matches.

#4 Suresh Raina – Chennai Super Kings (2010, 2011, 2018)

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Suresh Raina is one of the most consistent players in the history of Indian Premier League. In the 11 seasons so far, he scored more than 400 runs in 9 seasons – even in the remaining two seasons he amassed 374 (2015) and 399 (2016) runs. As a result of his consistency, he remains the highest run-getter of the league with 4985 runs.

During his side’s title triumphs in 2010, 2011, and 2018 he scored 520, 438. and 445 runs respectively. He is one of the key pillars that helped Chennai Super Kings in building their legacy. He played for the Chennai-based franchise in the 9 seasons that the franchise took part in the tournament. Even when there were doubts about the southpaw’s form, CSK opted to retain Raina for the 2018 season.

Raina’s performances might have gone under the radar in the 2018 season but his role in the CSK’s first title triumph in 2010 is nothing less than remarkable. The stylish left-handed batsman accumulated 520 runs during that season with an average of 47.27 at a strike rate of 142.85.

 

#5 Rohit Sharma – Mumbai Indians (2013, 2015, 2017)

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Rohit Sharma is one of the only three players who have won the tournament on four occasions. Rohit’s record is a better one as on three of the four occasions he captained his side to the title.

Mumbai Indians have always been one of the richest franchises but could not make it big in the first few seasons. Mumbai’s decision to acquire the services of Rohit Sharma before the 2011 season changed the team’s fortunes. In the 8 seasons that he captained the Mumbai-based side, the Mumbai batsman led his side to the title on three occasions.

Rohit Sharma is one of the most consistent players scoring more than 300 runs in 10 out of the 11 seasons. With 4493 runs to his name, he is the third highest run-getter in IPL, only behind Suresh Raina, and Virat Kohli.

Mumbai Indians first title triumph in 2013 was an outcome of Rohit Sharma’s batting performances during the season. The stylish right-handed batsman was the highest run-getter for the franchise with 538 runs with an average of 38.43.

 

#6 Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings (2010, 2011, 2018)

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Over the years, the words Chennai Super Kings and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have synonymous to each together. The association between the two has been so strong it is almost impossible to imagine the franchise without him.

MS Dhoni’s captaincy has made CSK the team to beat in the Indian Premier League. His ability to get the best out of the players has helped the franchise in asserting dominance in the league. Even when there were many apprehensions about the team’s average in the 2018 season, Dhoni managed to lead his side to the title on the franchise’s return to IPL.

In addition to scoring more than 4000 runs in IPL, MSD accounted for 87 catches and 33 stumpings. With 186 sixes to his name, he is the second, along with AB de Villiers, on the list of batsmen with most sixes in the tournament.

Chennai Super Kings will still be the oldest team in the competition next year but if MS repeats what he did in the 2018 season he might even inspire his side to another title. During the 2018 season, he scored as many as 455 runs with an average of 75.83, his highest in all seasons. With Dhoni’s high level of fitness favoring them, the men in yellow will hope that with MSD will continue playing for the franchise as long as possible.

 

#7 Andre Russell – Kolkata Knight Riders (2012, 2014)

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Andre Russell is almost the complete package that you can get in the shortest format. On his day, he can demotivate any bowling attack and his numbers speak for himself. His strike rate of 177.29 is the highest in the Indian Premier League and he remains the only player to have a strike rate above 170.

In KKR’s second match of the 2018 season against Chennai Super Kings, Russell came into bat when his team were struggling at 89-5 and did the unexpected. From that situation, he took his team to 202 at the end of 20 overs. In his unbeaten 36-ball 88 run innings, he hit 11 sixes and helped his team post a huge total but a Sam Billings special took CSK home.

He also proved his worth with the ball time and again picking 43 wickets in 43 matches. For Kolkata Knight Riders, he is the joint fourth highest wicket-taker and has used the hardball effectively on various occasions. Russell is one of the most devastating all-rounders in the world right now and KKR are lucky to have him in their team.

 

#8 Dwayne Bravo – Chennai Super Kings (2010, 2011, 2018)

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Dwayne Bravo in Chennai Super Kings is altogether a different entity from the Dwayne Bravo playing for other IPL teams. The charismatic all-rounder has been a vital cog of the most successful IPL franchise. In the five seasons that he played for the Chennai-based franchise, he picked up 93 wickets and is the highest wicket-taker for Chennai Super Kings.

He is also the first player to win Purple Cap award – given to a player for most wickets in a season – twice. During the 2013 and 2015 seasons, he took 32 and 26 wickets respectively.

In addition to being a wicket-taking bowler, he is a very handy batsman lower down the order and also an excellent fielder. In the very first match of the 2018 IPL, the Chennai Super Kings were in deep trouble chasing the target of 166 set by Mumbai Indians.

As all the batsmen who came to bat before Bravo struggled with their strike rates not going over 120, the Trinidadian took the matter into his own hands. He blasted off a 30-ball 68 and helped CSK register a win in the first match after their return.

 

#9 Sunil Narine – Kolkata Knight Riders (2012, 2014)

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Sunil Narine might not be the same mystery bowler that he used to be but is still one of the most effective spinners in the shortest format. In addition to that, his newly found ability to tonk the ball right at the start of the innings makes him a more dangerous T20 player.

Narine, the seventh highest wicket-taker in IPL, leads Kolkata Knight Riders’ wicket-takers list with 112 wickets to his name. In addition to taking wickets, Narine has the ability to restrict the flow of runs and thereby choking the opposition. His economy rate of 6.53 is the best for any bowler in the Indian Premier League.

In recent years, he has also improved a lot in the batting department. His 17-ball 50 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in KKR’s opening game of the 2018 season is a testament of the kind of destruction that the Trinidadian can cause with the bat. His strike rate of 168.81 is second best in IPL history, next only to his team-mate Andre Russell.

 

#10 Lasith Malinga – Mumbai Indians (2013, 2015, 2017)

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No all-time IPL XI can be finished without Lasith Malinga featuring in it. Such has been the influence of the yorker-king from Ceylon on the Indian Premier League. After joining Mumbai Indians in 2009, he created impact with 18 wickets and was the highest wicket-taker for MI his inaugural season.

With a total of 154 wickets in the Indian Premier League, Lasith Malinga remains the highest wicket-taker of the tournament in spite of playing just 10 games in the last three seasons. He is the only bowler to average less than 20 after taking 50 wickets or more.

After going unsold in the 2018 auction, Lasith Malinga will now return to the Mumbai Indians. One of the greatest death bowlers of all time will look to build on his legacy in the 2019 season too.

 

#11 Jasprit Bumrah – Mumbai Indians (2013, 2015, 2017)

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Jasprit Bumrah, without any hint of doubt, is the biggest talent unearthed by the Indian Premier League. When the lethal fast bowler was an unknown commodity, John Wright, former Indian coach, who then with the Mumbai Indians discovered Bumrah and roped him into the side before the 2013 season.

Mumbai Indians had won three leagues since Bumrah joined the Mumbai-based franchise. Bumrah did not play a huge role in Mumbai’s success in 2013 and 2015 but his performance in 2017 is definitely the one to remember. In the first three years with Mumbai, he played just 17 matches but under the guidance of Lasith Malinga he evolved into a complete bowler and is now leads the teams bowling unit.

During the 2017 season, he took 20 wickets with an economy rate of 7.35. Bumrah’s performances in the last two matches – Qualifier 2 and the Finale – helped Mumbai clinch their third title. In the Qualifier 2 against Kolkata Knight Riders, he picked 3 wickets for just 7 runs in three overs and helped Mumbai restrict KKR to a measly score of just 107 which their batsmen chased down without much effort.

In the final, Mumbai were in all sorts of trouble after the first innings as they could post just 129 runs in the first innings. Even with a paltry total on board, the Mumbai bowlers inspired Jasprit Bumrah and Jasprit Bumrah ensured that their side ended on the right side. Bumrah picked up the wickets of Rahul Tripathi and MS Dhoni to help his side win the title by just 1 run.

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