OK, he may have jumped the gun with two matches still to be played, but here Ben Jones uses CricViz stats to select his IPL 2018 Team of the Tournament. Do you agree with his choices?
Sunil Narine is a player transformed. His new role at the top as a game-changing pinch-hitter has been massive for him. His rapid, ultra-attacking style (he plays 76 per cent attacking shots compared to the average of 60 per cent for openers) has seen excellent reward – he’s scored at 11.81 runs per over (rpo), faster than any other opener and almost two rpo faster than the next best. Forming a formidable partnership with Chris Lynn at the top of the order for Kolkata Knight Riders, Narine’s express starts have been a key part of KKR’s strategy.
Jos Buttler makes it into the team after a phenomenal finish to the season for Rajasthan Royals. Opening, he’s made 428 runs this season, at an average of 107.00 and a scoring rate of 9.95rpo. Away from that opening spot, he made 120 runs at an average of 20, and a scoring rate of 7.57rpo. He also has the honour of taking the gloves for our CricViz team.
KL Rahul has had a prolific season for Kings XI Punjab. Despite batting high in this CricViz XI, it’s his ridiculous record at the death which gains him his selection – in the last five overs, Rahul’s scored at 15.13rpo – the fastest of anyone to face more than 20 balls.
Kane Williamson has had an extremely eventful IPL. Promoted to the Sunrisers captaincy in the absence of the banned David Warner, a man who was already a key part of Sunrisers’ strategy took on even greater importance. Under that pressure, many would have struggled to perform at their best, but Williamson excelled. With two games to go, he’s the leading run-scorer, and with Sunrisers still in the hat there’s a strong chance he’ll walk away with that crown (or orange cap).
Rishabh Pant has had a spectacular breakthrough year in the IPL. His 684 runs at 10.41rpo is an extremely impressive haul, and his century against Sunrisers Hyderabad – the best bowling unit in the competition – was arguably the knock of the tournament. Seventy per cent attacking shots reflects how blistering his work has been. His raw power is what makes him stand out compared to other Indian batsmen in his age group. His wagon wheel (below) shows that he scores at a ridiculously high rate through the legside, with his muscular frame giving him the opportunity to target the pull and hook shots.
Andre Russell has scored 313 runs at a phenomenal scoring rate of 11.45rpo. With the ball, he’s been expensive, conceding at 9.02rpo, but he’s often tasked with bowling at the start and end of the innings. He sneaks into this team at No.6, but it’s actually No.7 where he’s done the most damage in IPL 2018, scoring 196 runs – more than anyone else in that position and more than double the next best.
Krishnappa Gowtham has been a revelation for Rajasthan Royals. His 33* (11) against Mumbai Indians established him early on as a force to be reckoned with, but it’s with the ball where he’s really made his mark. Sixty-three per cent of his overs have been bowled in the powerplay, with Ajinkya Rahane turning to his off-spinner for early breakthroughs – only three players have taken more wickets in the first six overs than Gowtham.
It says something of the expectations Rashid Khan faces that a season in which he took 18 wickets with an economy of 6.9rpo is regarded by some as a slightly underwhelming return. Yet consistently he’s been an attacking threat as part of a fearsome Sunrisers attack, and has been used as a strike bowler by Williamson. He’s found an edge or a miss every four deliveries, which is the third highest in the competition, and illustrates that even when he’s not at his best, Rashid is still in the top strata of T20 bowlers.
Lungi Ngidi has been an inconsistent presence in the Chennai Super Kings line-up this season, but he’s been excellent almost without fail when coming into the team. In his six matches, only once has he had an economy rate over 6.5rpo, and has never gone wicketless. His economy rate of 5.9 is the second lowest of anyone in the competition, with no caveats. His strike rate in this first 15 overs is 12 bpw, bettered by nobody who played as many matches as the South African.
Mumbai’s resurgence in this year’s competition has relied heavily on the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah. The Indian seamer has been extremely frugal at the death, going at just 7.9rpo – the third best in the competition. Furthermore, he’s taken 13 wickets in that crucial climactic period of the innings – he’s not just a restrictor of runs.
AJ Tye has dominated this season with the ball. An unfancied Kings XI Punjab side almost made it through to the play-offs on the strength of Rahul’s batting and Tye’s bowling. Since Tye made his IPL debut in 2017 against Rising Pune Supergiants, nobody has taken more wickets in the event.
IPL Team of the Tournament in full:
1 Sunil Narine
2 Jos Buttler (wk)
3 KL Rahul
4 Kane Williamson (c)
5 Rishabh Pant
6 Andre Russell
7 Krishnappa Gowtham
8 Rashid Khan
9 Jasprit Bumrah
10 Lungi Ngidi
11 Andrew Tye