As we enter the playoffs leg of IPL 2020, we pick IPL’s team of the league stage, featuring players who made the biggest impact in the first 56 matches of the tournament.

Note: The XI follows the ‘maximum of four foreigners’ rule

Mumbai Indians (MI), the table-toppers, have the most representatives in the team – three – while Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have two of their players making the XI. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Delhi Capitals (DC) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have one player each in the following team.

David Warner (C) – SRH
14 matches, 529 runs @ 44.08, HS: 85*

Arguably the greatest overseas IPL batsman, Warner’s resilience as a captain and a batter ensured SRH qualified for the playoffs even though, at one point, they were considered the least likely to finish as one of the top four sides. Initially paired with Jonny Bairstow, and then with Wriddhiman Saha, the opener made some of the most crucial contributions in his team’s third-place finish on the table. He captains this team as well.

KL Rahul (WK) – KXIP
14 matches, 670 runs @ 55.83, SR: 129.34, HS: 132*

The current Orange Cap holder, Rahul scored one century and five half-centuries, forming a highly successful opening partnership with Mayank Agarwal. While his 670 runs didn’t come at express pace – the strike-rate stood at 129.34 – Rahul makes it to this team as a wicketkeeper, adding value to a team short on specialist batsmen.

Chris Gayle – KXIP
7 matches, 288 runs @ 41.14, SR: 137.14, HS: 99

Gayle’s inclusion in the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) side completely changed the complexion of the IPL 2020 league stage, as a whole. KXIP, who were languishing at the bottom of the table, won five on the trot right after Gayle made it to their XI, ending excruciatingly close to a playoffs spot. But the 41-year-old showed exactly why he is still one of the most lethal T20 batsmen, even while batting at an unfamiliar No. 3 spot.

Suryakumar Yadav – MI
14 matches, 410 runs @ 41.00, SR: 150.18, HS: 79*

He might have been left out of India’s white-ball squads for the Australia tour, but Suryakumar was one of the most consistent Indian performers this season. His ‘who blinks first’ stare off with India and RCB captain Virat Kohli was one of the highlights of the league stage, but the way he constructed a match-winning knock for his side right after, was even more impressive. Even with proven stroke-makers such as Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya batting all around him, Yadav was the pick of the MI batsmen and an easy selection for our team of the week.

Hardik Pandya – MI
12 matches, 241 runs @ 34.42, SR: 174.63, HS: 60*

Pandya’s 243 runs in the IPL 2020 league stage came at a strike-rate of 174.63, the third-highest of the tournament so far. Though he missed out on the last two matches, his contribution to MI’s cause cannot be undermined – the quickfire knocks down the order played a crucial role in MI’s dominance over all the other sides in the league stage.

Ravindra Jadeja – CSK
14 matches, 232 runs @ 46.40, SR: 171.85, HS: 50
6 wickets @ 53.00, Economy: 8.75

It turned out to be a forgettable season for Chennai Super Kings but Jadeja, who was named in all the three India squads for the upcoming tour to Australia, emerged as one of the few positives. Not as influential with the ball as he would have hoped to be, Jadeja’s performances with the bat down the order saved Chennai from embarrassment a few times. The pick of the lot was his 11-ball-31 against Kolkata Knight Riders, where he hit two consecutive maximums off the last two balls to win the match for CSK. Only Pollard and Pandya had a better strike-rate among players who scored at least 200 runs in the league stage.

Jofra Archer – RR
14 matches, 20 wickets @ 18.25, Economy: 6.55
113 runs @ 18.83, SR: 179.36, HS: 27*

It was a memorable season on the personal front for Archer, who tormented batsmen throughout with his new-ball spells. Of the five quicks to have picked 20 or more wickets, Archer turned out to be quicker and more economical than any other speedster. Even with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Steve Smith in the side, Archer emerged as arguably the single most important player for RR. He also provided the team with some meaty blows with the bat down the order – only Kieron Pollard had a better strike-rate in the league stage!

Kagiso Rabada – DC
14 matches, 25 wickets @ 17.80, Economy: 8.14

The current Purple Cap holder, Rabada has had yet another stellar IPL season. He formed a lethal fast-bowling partnership with Anrich Nortje, who took 19 wickets himself, for Delhi Capitals. A shoo-in to the team of the league stage, alongside two of the best quicks in world cricket. Rabada has now equalled his IPL 2019 wicket-tally and has at least two more matches to better the record.

Jasprit Bumrah – MI
13 matches, 23 wickets @ 15.73, Economy: 6.96

Bumrah finished the league stage in fine fashion, taking six wickets in his last two encounters, while conceding only 31 runs, to go just two behind Rabada. Like Rabada with Nortje, Bumrah hunted in a pack with Trent Boult – both of whom were rested for MI’s final league stage match. This is Bumrah’s best IPL season till date and he has at least two more matches left to play.

Yuzvendra Chahal – RCB
14 matches, 20 wickets @ 19.05, Economy: 7.16

More often than not, when Virat Kohli required a wicket to swing the game in RCB’s favour, Chahal’s leg-spin delivered. Their spearhead in the first half of the season, when they were winning games on the bounce, Chahal maintained his wicket-taking streak even when RCB’s form nosedived, and eventually finished as the only spinner to reach the 20-wicket mark.

Varun Chakravarthy – KKR
13 matches, 17 wickets @ 20.94, Economy: 6.84

The KKR spinner wouldn’t have expected to finish IPL 2020 with a spot in the Indian T20I team touring Australia in a few weeks’ time. He started off slowly but hit form with an incredible five-wicket haul against DC, which was soon followed by an India call-up. After that, he just kept dishing out one top performance after another – ten of his 17 wickets came from the last four matches.