After 60 matches over nearly two months, IPL 2020 ended on a Tuesday night in front of empty stands in Dubai. In a tournament where very little was anything like we have seen before in the history of the tournament, the 2020 edition of Indian Premier League came to a close with the most familiar of champions.
Brilliant hostile bowling led by Trent Boult followed by a classy innings from Rohit Sharma took Mumbai Indians to an emphatic five-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals and a record-extending fifth IPL title.
Mumbai Indians became the first team, of course, to win IPL five times while also matching Chennai Super Kings’ record of winning the title in back-to-back years.
In an exercise that always tends to generate debate, looking back at the tournament, Scroll.in’s cricket writers selected their best XIs. Rather surprisingly, only five players made it to all three teams, selected with the only rule that four overseas players are allowed.
Players selected in all three XIs
Suryakumar Yadav: A batsman who put the team ahead of self at all times. Even in the final. A good fielder and probably the biggest star to emerge out of IPL 2020. He is good against pace and spin alike and can merge textbook grace with the right dose of the unorthodox.
Ishan Kishan: Wasn’t part of the MI playing XI initially but once he got in, it was hard to leave him out. The left-hander struck the ball wonderfully and brought sixes to the party like no other batsman in the league. A live wire in the field as well.
AB de Villiers: There are indeed some who argue that he didn’t do enough for RCB but when ABD got going, RCB won matches and if a player can win four-five matches in a season, the job is done. Isn’t it? 15 matches, 454 runs, a strike-rate of 158.74 and the ability to play shots on all kinds of wickets. Priceless. Don’t let anyone believe you otherwise.
Rashid Khan: He ended up taking *just* 20 wickets but that was mainly because opposition teams refused to go after him most times. His economy rate of 5.37 shows how difficult he was to get away and how he almost always got Sunrisers Hyderabad back into the game.
Jasprit Bumrah: Yorkers, short balls, swing, a good economy rate and wickets. There is almost nothing that the MI pacer can’t do. He was, as always, Rohit Sharma’s weapon of choice... whenever he needed a breakthrough, he turned to Bumrah, who almost always delivered. The best bowler in IPL 2020.
Now we take a look at the remaining choices in the teams and the explanation for the writers’ choices:
The Field's writers pick their IPL 2020 XIs
|Aditya Chaturvedi's XI||Ashish Magotra's XI||Vinayakk Mohanarangan's XI|
|Shikhar Dhawan||KL Rahul||KL Rahul (C)|
|Mayank Agarwal||Shikhar Dhawan||Quinton de Kock (WK)|
|Suryakumar Yadav||Suryakumar Yadav||Suryakumar Yadav|
|Ishan Kishan||Ishan Kishan||Ishan Kishan|
|AB de Villiers||AB de Villiers (WK)||AB de Villiers|
|Kieron Pollard (C)||Kieron Pollard (C)||Hardik Pandya|
|Rashid Khan||Hardik Pandya||Rahul Tewatia|
|Kagiso Rabada||Rashid Khan||Jofra Archer|
|Varun Chakravarthy||Jofra Archer||Rashid Khan|
|Jasprit Bumrah||Varun Chakravarthy||Jasprit Bumrah|
|T Natarajan||Jasprit Bumrah||T Natarajan|
Aditya Chaturvedi’s XI: Dhawan, with back-to-back centuries and 618 runs, deserves a spot at the top. Rahul was a strong contender but his SR of 129.34 was simply too low. Agarwal, on the other hand, made a big impact as opener (SR 156.45) and would likely have finished in the top-five run-getters had he played all the games. Then, after the unanimous picks, Pollard makes the cut for two reasons: he had the best SR (191.42) which is ideal for this position, and his inclusion also provides this team a smart captain. Rashid’s spin partner will be Varun, who was the only bowler to pick a five-for in the IPL this year and was truly one of the stories of this season. Like him, Natarajan was a revelation too and his accuracy with yorkers is priceless in T20 cricket. Which leaves us with the toughest choice: Rabada or Archer to partner up with Bumrah? Here, Purple Cap-winner Rabada gets the nod because he is a more versatile bowler (with a better yorker) and finished with the second-best wicket haul ever by a bowler in an IPL season.
Ashish Magotra’s XI: When Dhawan struck form, DC won matches. The left-hander has the ability to take games away from the opposition. With KL Rahul, there is a nice left-right combination to kick things off. MI’s middle-order was fantastic – they all have a great SR and the momentum never suffers while they are in the middle. They all make it to the XI and to that mix we add the genius of AB de Villiers. Pollard gets the additional responsibility of being skipper. It is a responsibility he enjoys and he did a pretty good job with Mumbai when Rohit Sharma was out injured. The reason for that is to allow Rahul to bat freely at the top of the order. Varun Chakravarthy also makes it to the squad, he brings the mystery to the attack and will be a superb foil to Rashid Khan. Finally, Jofra Archer makes it ahead of Rabada. All season long, the RR pacer searched for support but it will be truly interesting to see how he will do as part of an attack like this.
Vinayakk Mohanarangan’s XI: The fact that Archer’s selection needs to be explained here and not part of the picks in all three XIs is thanks to my colleague’s selection of Rabada in the XI. But simply put, he was the most intimidating bowler of the season and delivered with superb consistency. Sample this: 52.4% of the deliveries Archer bowled were dot balls. In Natarajan, the bowler who delivered the most yorkers in the season, this is a deadly pace attack. Tewatia is by no means an emotional pick, although his innings in Sharjah should warrant a place in this team. He was also the only Indian to pick up 10+ wickets and score 250+ runs. Opening the batting will be de Kock, and that was the toughest choice to make. Pollard had a great season but in a middle order that already has Hardik and de Villiers, QdK’s fireworks at the top of the order will be a good foil to the consistency of Rahul. And to select a captain after the XI is chosen, instead of picking a captain for the XI, Rahul will lead the side out.
Agree with our teams? Of course, you don’t. Tweet to us @thefield_in and let us know who makes it to your dream playing XI of IPL 2020.