The Indian Premier League is the most-attended cricket league in the world with overseas players putting up a spectacular display of talent every year. It gives Indian cricket fans a chance to get to know some of the international cricketers and watch them play up close; to appreciate their talent and support them rather than see them as the opponents for once.
With more than five cricketers coming from the West Indies’ team itself, they have taken over IPL by storm. Their aggressive and ambitious outlook on cricket forms a wall difficult to beat by any player from the outside.
Some of the following players have made their mark this season and deserve to be recognized for it:
1. Chris Gayle: Chris Gayle, you’ve definitely heard the name. The Jamaican player played for Kings XI Punjab this year. He was one of their most valuable players although the price they got him for was relatively less, a mere two crores.
He had one of the best knocks this season in only his second outing with the Punjab boys – an undefeated 104 off 63 balls. He kick-started KXIP’s race to a high total with four boundaries off seven balls and three sixes off Chris Jordan and Rashid Khan. He scored 11 sixes in that innings to put up a score of 193/3 which proved to be too high for the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
For the first half of the season, he formed a torpedo-like partnership with KL Rahul and led the team to consecutive victories to push them to the top four. The 39-year old has 30 sixes and 27 fours from 11 matches under his name.
2. Sunil Narine: One of two players to be retained by the Kolkata Knight Riders this season, he ended the season with the title of “Most Valuable Player” for 357 runs and 17 wickets from 16 matches.
He also won the title of “Super Striker of the Season” for spectacular left-handed batting although he is primarily an off-spin bowler.
The Trinidadian cricketer was primarily KKR’s opener and became one of their most, if not the most dangerous asset.
3. Andre Russell: This Jamaican all-rounder who previously played for the Delhi Daredevils, was the second player to be retained by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
He played as a finisher and had a pretty inconsistent season but didn’t give a chance to be written off. His best knock this season was 88* off 36 balls which included 11 sixes and 1 four.
With 13 wickets and a total of 17 fours and 31 sixes in 16 matches, he contributed, big or small, in every match to be in the top five most valuable players of this season.
4. Jofra Archer: He was bought for a whopping 7.2 crores by the Rajasthan Royals this season. A right-handed batsman and a fast bowler in one, this was his first season in the cash-rich league.
With 15 wickets off 10 games, he was more valuable in the bowling department than batting. The seam bowler took out some crucial wickets for his team and became a threat to look out for.
5. Lungi Ngidi: This young player just made his debut in International cricket last year and made it to the IPL this year in the Chennai Super Kings.
He made an appearance only in the second half of the season and ended up making a difference in some of CSK’s most crucial matches. Taking 11 wickets off 7 matches, the 22-year old definitely created a name for himself this season.
His best performance was during the final match before the playoffs against Kings XI Punjab where he took four wickets and conceded only 10 runs in his four overs. The player quickly became a crowd-favorite after that performance and he kept it up till the finals.
6. Carlos Brathwaite: Bought off Delhi Daredevils, he proved to be a game-changer for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The all-rounder was put to full use in the latter half of the season on both fronts.
With five wickets off four matches and an undefeated knock of 43 runs, he made himself known and constant in the team. He didn’t get much of a chance, however, to fully spread his wings this season and will hopefully get to do so the next time.
7. Dwayne Bravo: He kick-started the season with his brilliant performance in the very first match for Chennai Super Kings against the Mumbai Indians, a display of talent that is still talked about even after the season has come to a close.
He formed one of the pillars of the team who went on to win the tournament as the death-over specialist and his fearless talent at taking their opponents off the field proved to be an incredible asset.