Another wonderful season came to an end as Mumbai Indians were crowned champions for a record 5th time. It was quite odd than MI won the IPL even in 2020. This season was extremely competitive and that it made it all the more interesting. This is my team of the tournament for the 13th edition of the IPL.
A lot of openers had great seasons this time around, but it is fair to say that KL Rahul stood out as the very best. Rahul continued his consistency at the top of the order for Kings XI Punjab and became the first Indian to score 500+ runs in 3 consecutive IPL campaigns. The 28-year-old was the leading run-scorer for a majority of the season and rightfully ended up with the orange cap. He had the additional responsibility of captaining the side, and he didn’t let it affect his batting as he became only the 4th Indian to bag the orange cap award.
His opening partner will be none other than Shikhar Dhawan. The stylish batsman had a season to remember as he not only crossed the 600-run barrier for the first time this season but also scored those runs at a healthy strike rate. “Gabbar” became the first player in IPL history to score two back-to-back centuries. He did have his off days, but there was no doubt about his spot in this team as he was the only player who had a chance of snatching the orange cap from KL Rahul. This opening pair also offers a right hand-left hand combination.
Shreyas Iyer will be my number 3 batsman in this team. His form might have tapered off in the second half of the tournament, but his half-century in the final came under immense pressure, and it took the Delhi Capitals up to a respectable total. That knock also made sure that he would end the season at number 4 on the orange cap list which makes his selection in this team justifiable. Considering that the onus was on him to perform well as the captain of the side, I feel he did a tremendous job to anchor the innings.
Ishan Kishan was one of the revelations of the season. He wasn’t a part of the initial playing 11 for the Mumbai Indians, but when he got a chance, he grabbed it with both his hands. His 99 against RCB set the tone for the rest of the season, and the pocket dynamo didn’t look back. Ishan Kishan crossed the 500-run mark at an outstanding average of 50+ and a strike rate close to 150. He also smashed the most number of sixes this season, which proves his big-hitting ability. His versatility was also tested as an opener, and he aced that examination with flying colours.
Kishan’s teammate Suryakumar Yadav bats above him for the Mumbai Indians but as he possesses the ability of a finisher, he will be batting at number 5 in this hypothetical side. Suryakumar had another brilliant season with the bat, and it’s not long before he dons the blue jersey for team India. Since 2018, he has contributed 400+ runs each campaign for the Mumbai Indians, which is a testament to his consistency. As he has batted lower down the order for his domestic side, he should have no problem in hitting the big shots during the death overs.
This season was a bit disappointing for the all-rounders as none of the usual suspects came to the party. However, this provided the opportunity for a new star to come into the limelight in the IPL. Marcus Stoinis started the campaign off with a match-winning all-round performance against Kings XI Punjab. He not only scored 350 odd runs at a blistering strike rate, but he had the knack of picking up wickets. The Aussie maverick picked up 13 wickets in his limited time with the ball in hand. He would act as the finisher in this team and offer a 6th bowling option if required.
Everyone expected the pitches in UAE to be rank turners, but that wasn’t the case. In such situations, only the best of the best can turn the ball, and it comes to no surprise that Yuzvendra Chahal was one of them. The Indian leggie picked up 20+ wickets this season and was often called upon when his team needed a wicket. His loopy deliveries tempted batsmen to hit the big shots which ended up in an easy catch at the boundary. His economy rate was slightly above 7, which is fine in the shortest format of the game.
Rashid Khan has earned the reputation of being the best spinner in T20 cricket. Since a few years, teams have decided to play out his spell, but he still manages to pick up so many wickets. The Afghani youngster often won games on his own with magical spells during the middle overs. He not only picked up a lot of wickets, but he was by far the most economical bowler in the tournament. His inclusion in this team was a no brainer for me as he picked up so many wickets during the middle overs against batsmen who were more than happy to see out his four overs.
For a majority of teams this season, wicket-taking was upto the fast bowlers. Six of the eight bowlers who have picked up 20+ wickets this season were fast bowlers which solidify this fact. Right at the top of that list was Kagiso Rabada. He was the undisputed owner of the purple cap for a large part of the season. A lot of his wickets came at the death, which helped in restricting the run-scoring ability of the opposition team when it mattered the most. In this team, he will be bowling a majority of his overs towards the back end of the innings.
The only player who challenged Rabada for the purple cap was Jasprit Bumrah. Although Rabada overtook him during the playoffs in the race for the purple cap, there is a good reason to believe that Jasprit Bumrah was the more useful out of the two. Not only was hit wicket-taking ability on the show this season, but his economy rate was also absolutely sensational. Whenever his team needed a wicket, he was up for the challenge, and he delivered more often than not. His bowling average was second to none in this year’s IPL.
Jofra Archer might be the final pick in my eleven, but this is not where he will be batting. He has made a name for himself thanks to his fierce spells during the powerplay overs, but he is more than capable with the bat in hand. The Barbadian-born English cricketer won the MVP award due to his six-hitting ability coupled with the fact that he also picked up 20 wickets. As Rabada and Bumrah are well adept at bowling at the death, Archer can lead the bowling attack with the new ball which will bring fear in the mind of opposition batsmen.
This is how the lineup will look on paper:
IPL 2020 Best XI
KL Rahul (WK)
Shreyas Iyer (C)
Marcus Stoinis (O)
Jofra Archer (O)
Rashid Khan (O)
Kagiso Rabada (O)
IPL 2020 Best Indian XI
KL Rahul (WK)
Shreyas Iyer (C)