By: Chinmay Vaidya, Aashay Chavan and Paarth Joshi
With the IPL season wrapped up, it’s time to pick the All-IPL XI. Here are our picks for the most influential players in the 2018 season. This isn’t necessarily constructing the best roster. It’s naming the players who shaped the 2018 IPL season the most.
Ambati Rayudu – He exploded onto the scene after several solid seasons early in his IPL career. Rayudu was lost in Mumbai’s middle order last season, but he found a great spot in Chennai.
KL Rahul – His opening partner Chris Gayle might have taken most of the headlines, but Rahul was arguably the most devastating batsman in the 2018 IPL. His 659 runs were a big reason Kings XI Punjab were close to a playoff spot.
Shane Watson – He was part of a great opening pair for Chennai, scoring 555 runs with a strike rate close to 155. His century in the final remains one of the best innings in the history of the IPL.
Virat Kohli – Kohli struggled early in the tournament, but he led RCB’s late charge en route to 530 runs for the season. Change a couple personnel decisions and RCB could’ve easily made the postseason.
Kane Williamson – He was the leading run scorer in the tournament and was a brilliant captain in David Warner’s absence. Williamson couldn’t take Sunrisers to the title, but he took them to the title game and that in itself is a huge accomplishment.
MS Dhoni – After two dismal seasons, Dhoni put together one of the better seasons in his IPL career. His strike rate returned to championship levels and his run-scoring abilities magically returned. Maybe all he needed was that yellow uniform.
Jos Buttler – He was probably the only reason Rajasthan snuck into the playoffs. Buttler was languishing in the middle order until the Royals put him back at the opening spot. The result: 548 runs on the season and a playoff spot.
Rishabh Pant – Pant exploded to finish second in the run-scoring race and has continued to build on his previous IPL seasons. He’s going to be a good player for a long time in the T20 format.
Rashid Khan – This man was a wrecking ball, picking up 21 wickets for Sunrisers while also posting a 6.73 economy rate. He trailed off late in the year as teams refused to take him on, but he remains one of the game’s great finds.
Dinesh Karthik – Karthik was KKR’s leading run scorer and the driving force behind the Knight Riders making the postseason. He was the steady presence in the middle order and finished off several KKR wins in style.
Jasprit Bumrah – He took 17 wickets, but Bumrah spearheaded several late victories when Mumbai needed them the most. He couldn’t carry the Indians all the way to the playoffs, but he left his mark on the season.
Sunil Narine – He was named the MVP of the IPL after taking 17 wickets and also putting up 357 runs. Narine has been a great success story for KKR.
Shane Watson – He found his match-winning form at the absolute best possible time.
Kane Williamson – Highest run scorer. Eight fifties. The best captain. He’s on the list.
Rashid Khan – I know he’s considered a ‘young’ bowler but he sure does carry himself like a veteran. Has a knack for picking up key wickets in every game.
MS Dhoni – The name speaks for itself. He found his run-scoring form again and did it consistently.
Andre Russell – In my mind, the best overall player and all-rounder in this edition of the IPL. He can hit out and win a game from any position and he also got 13 wickets to boot.
Ambati Rayudu – Put up 602 runs and was an overlooked but core part of the championship team.
Lungi Ngidi – My favorite up and coming foreign bowler.
Siddarth Kaul – 21 wickets and the best up and coming domestic bowler.
Andrew Tye – He was the leading wicket taker in the tournament. Enough said.
KL Rahul – Great opener (659 runs) and a decent keeper, if he can keep his injury woes at bay he may be able to be a decent replacement for Dhoni in the national squad eventually.
KL Rahul - He was a consistent force for KXIP at the top, scoring 659 runs in the tournament.
Sunil Narine - Named the 2018 IPL MVP and was great with the bat and the ball.
Kane Williamson - The top captain in the IPL and the tournament's leading run scorer as well. Carried the Sunrisers lineup.
Rishabh Pant - He broke out in a big way, scoring 684 runs and giving Delhi a late push in the competition.
AB de Villiers - A consistent run scorer for RCB and made an impact in the field as well.
Virat Kohli - Could've had a better season, but turned it on late for RCB. Also made a greater impact in the field than expected.
MS Dhoni - Returned to form with Chennai, scoring 455 runs after two bad seasons in Pune.
Andre Russell - Got off to a hot start in the tournament and made plays in all three phases of the game. Carried KKR early.
Rashid Khan - He was the best bowler on the best bowling team in the IPL.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - He didn't take too many wickets, but constantly put pressure on the batsmen and finished with one of the lowest economy rates in the competition.
Andrew Tye - Tye finished the tournament leading the wicket total and was one of the bright spots late in the season for KXIP.