IPL 2018: Best Asian XI of the tournament

Here we take a look at the top Asian performers of the season.

Rashid Khan
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Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Rashid Khan. (Photo by IANS)

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The 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League came to an end with the Chennai Super Kings lifting the title for the third time in the tournament history. They beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the marquee clash of the season. The 2018 edition of the tournament proved to be a thoroughly entertaining one. For the first time in the history, a lot of matches went down to the wire.

The season saw a lot of young players make a serious impact for themselves in the season. And at the same time, the veteran stars proved it yet again why one can never write off experience in a tournament such as this. All in all, it was a very entertaining season of cricket.

Now that the tournament is over, it is time to look back at how things panned out in the season for different teams and their players. In this segment, we try to pick the best performers from the Asian sub-continent in the season. Players from the following Asian countries participated in the IPL 2018 – India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Nepal.

Here is the Best Asian XI of the tournament:

KL Rahul – Kings XI Punjab

KL Rahul
Lokesh Rahul of Kings XI Punjab in action. (Photo by IANS)

The Kings XI Punjab shelled out big bucks on the Karnataka batsman KL Rahul at the auctions this year. All their money looked like amount well spent with the way Rahul fared up in the competition. The stylish batsman scored 659 runs in the season in the 14 matches that he played.

He averaged over 54 with the bat and hit as many as 6 fifties this season. He had a top score of an unbeaten 95, albeit in a losing cause. The highlight of the IPL 2018 for KL Rahul was his first outing in the Kings outfit. In the match against the Delhi Daredevils, he smashed the fastest fifty in the history of the tournament – in just 14 deliveries.

Ambati Rayudu – Chennai Super Kings

Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu of Chennai Super Kings celebrates his half-century. (Photo by IANS)

Veteran cricketer Ambati Rayudu has been in the scheme of things of the Indian cricket for a long time now. A breakthrough IPL season is something that eluded him big time. In the tournament this year, he came very good for the Chennai Super Kings. Rayudu finished as the leading run getter for the winning franchise.

In the 16 matches that he played, he aggregated 602 runs with the bat at an impressive average of 43. He scored 3 fifties and a century in the season. Rayudu’s best came against the Sunrisers in a league game when he smashed his maiden T20 century to guide his side to a 8 wicket win.

Suryakumar Yadav – Mumbai Indians

Suryakumar Yadav
Mumbai Indians’ Suryakumar Yadav in action. (Photo by IANS)

The defending champions Mumbai Indians had a dismal run in the tournament this year. They failed to make it to the playoffs and had their fortunes hanging by the cliff throughout the season. They had very few positives to take from the season and one among those was their batsman Suryakumar Yadav. Yadav had been playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders prior to this season.

At the MI camp, he was asked to open the innings and he scored a fifty in his very first game as an opener. He went on to give brisk starts to his side in almost every game this season. He became the first uncapped Indian player to score more than 500 runs in a single IPL season. He finished 512 runs in the 14 matches that he played.

Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore

Virat Kohli
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Team India skipper Virat Kohli had yet another disappointing season at the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp. Under his leadership, team RCB failed to make it to the playoffs yet again. But Kohli, on his individual front, looked very good with the bat.

He emerged as the leading run getter of his side in the season. Kohli aggregated 530 runs in the 14 matches that he played in the season and hit 4 fifties. His best came against the Mumbai Indians in a losing cause when he scored an unbeaten 92.

Rishabh Pant – Delhi Daredevils

Rishabh Pant
Delhi Daredevils’ Rishabh Pant in action. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Young Delhi batsman Rishabh Pant had a thundering season in IPL 2018. He won the Emerging Player of the Season award this year. Pant was totally dominant in almost every game that he played. At the end of the league stages, he was the proud owner of the Orange Cap as well.

Pant’s best was seen against the Sunrisers when he hammered an unbeaten 128. He scored 684 runs in the 14 matches that he played at a staggering average of 52.61 in the tournament. He hit 68 fours in the season – the most by any batsman. And he hit 37 sixes – the most by any batsman in IPL 2018.

MS Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings

MS Dhoni
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni. (Photo by IANS)

Veteran Indian cricketer MS Dhoni proved yet again that there is no substitute for experience. Dhoni had a breakthrough season with the bat. The fans got to see the vintage form of Dhoni yet again. The first glimpse against the Kings XI Punjab when he hit an unbeaten 79 but still fell short of winning the game.

He bettered his skills to score an unbeaten 70 to steer his side to a win against the RCB. Later, he also hit a quick 22-ball fifty in the season to stamp his authority. Dhoni finished the season with 455 runs to his name in 16 matches at an average of 75/83 – the highest average among all specialist batsmen in the season.

Shakib Al Hasan – Sunrisers Hyderabad

Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Sunrisers Hyderabad dominated the proceedings in the tournament this year for a major part of the season. They fell short at the very last hurdle. Despite this, they can take pride from the fact that they were very competitive throughout the season.

One of the key players for them this season was Shakib Al Hasan. The Bangladeshi all-rounder played 17 matches and accumulated 239 vital runs for his side. His major contribution came with the ball where he bowled decent spells in the season. He bagged 14 wickets with a decent economy of just 8 this season.

Rashid Khan – Sunrisers Hyderabad

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan of Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrates fall of a wicket. (Photo by Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

Rashid Khan has been an absolute superstar in the IPL this season. The Afghanistani leggie came up with a thundering all round show against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator. He scored an unbeaten 34 off 10 balls and then bagged 3/19 with the ball in hand.

Throughout the season, he took the big wickets for his side. He dismissed the likes of AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and many more. He finished the tournament as the second leading wicket taker with 21 wickets to his name in 17 matches. He bowled with an economy rate of just 6.73 this season.

Sandeep Lamichhane – Delhi Daredevils

Sandeep Lamichhane
Sandeep Lamichhane of Delhi Daredevils celebrates fall of Suryakumar Yadav’s wicket. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Young Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane entered the record books this season by becoming the first-ever cricketer from his country to play in the IPL. Lamichhane got his chances at the fag end of the season but ensured that he left a deep imprint on the game.

He played only 3 matches and bowled his complete quota of four overs in every outing. He bagged 5 wickets and bowled with an economy rate of 6.83. His strike rate with the ball was also very impressive – an excellent 14.40. The youngster will be hoping to get more chances next season. 

Mujeeb Rahman – Kings XI Punjab

Mujeeb Ur Rahman Rajasthan Royals
Kings XI Punjab’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman celebrates fall of Jofra Archer’s wicket. (Photo by IANS)

Young Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was an integral part of the Kings XI Punjab lineup this season. Rahman played 11 matches in the season and returned with 14 wickets to his name. He bowled with an economy rate of under 7 per over. His strike rate with the ball was as good as 17.71.

Also, he averaged 20.64 with the ball, which is very impressive. The highlight of his season was the wicket of Virat Kohli that he got in a league game. He was unfortunate to have not played the entire league stage matches. He was forced to make an early exit from the tournament owing to an injury.

Umesh Yadav – Royal Challengers Bangalore

Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav of Royal Challengers Bangalore in action. (Photo by IANS)

Veteran Indian speedster Umesh Yadav looked unstoppable in the season this year. While the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling failed collectively this season, Umesh’s performance was an exception. On most occasions, he provided great starts to his side.

He bagged two wickets on the first two balls of the match against the Mumbai Indians at Wankhede. Against the Kings XI Punjab in Bengaluru, he struck thrice in the same over. Umesh finished the season with 20 wickets to his name in 14 matches at a strike rate of 15.95 and a bowling average of 20.90. His best figures of 3/23 came against the Kings.

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