The Rs. 16 crore buy and one of the most elegant stroke-makers in limited-overs cricket, Yuvraj Singh, failed to deliver. So did one of the biggest hitters in modern day cricket, Glenn Maxwell. Ashish Nehra’s brilliant show with the ball came as a welcome surprise for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fans while a consistent Lendl Simmons made a big impact and took his team Mumbai Indians to the Championship. Indian Premier League’s (IPL) eighth edition was a mixed bag with some unexpected performances from the underdogs while some of the big stars failed to live up to the hype as the 49-day Twenty20 extravaganza came to an end at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on Sunday.
As Mumbai outclassed Chennai by 41 runs to win their second title, we look back to zoom in on the top five performers and five others who failed to live up to the expectations:
Ajinkya Rahane: The Rajasthan Royals’ batsman was the most consistent Indian scorer in IPL 8 and also held the Orange Cup for highest number of days. He ended up as the second highest run-getter in the tournament after David Warner and showed that one can succeed in a tournament like IPL with proper cricketing shots. Rahane made 540 runs in 14 matches with a staggering average of 49.09 and scored four fifties. Rahane, who has also been India’s most prolific Test batsman of late, played some match-winning knocks for Rajasthan, like his unbeaten 91 against Delhi Daredevils that ended RR’s five-match winless streak.
David Warner: The Sunrisers Hyderabad captain was the highest run-scorer in this edition of IPL as he continued his brilliant batting performance in the T20 tournament after an impressive show in World Cup 2015. He made 562 runs in 14 innings with a healthy average of 43.23 and scored seven fifties. His blistering 55-ball 91 helped Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 16 runs and his 51-ball 82 helped his team beat Kings XI Punjab and register SRH’s seventh win in IPL 2015. The added responsibility of captaincy seemed to have helped the Australian in his batting and we saw a more matured Warner than in the previous editions of the tournament.
AB de Villiers: De Villiers is arguably the best batsman at the moment across all formats and the ease with which he hits world-class bowlers for fours and sixes is almost unbelievable. His magical knock of 133 off just 59 balls against Mumbai Indians was one of the highlights of this year’s IPL. The South African set a new IPL record for the highest score by a non-opening batsman and his second-wicket partnership of 215 runs with Virat Kohli was also a record. De Villiers was the fourth highest run-scorer in IPL 8 after Warner, Rahane and Simmons and scored a century and two fifties. He made 513 runs in 14 innings with an average of 46.63 and had the best strike rate in the tournament at 175.08.
Ashish Nehra: Nehra’s performance this season was no less than a revelation. He was one of the most consistent bowlers and won matches for Chennai on several occasions. Nehra picked up 22 wickets in 16 matches with an average of 20.40 and an economy of 7.24 runs per over. Nehra made a brilliant start to the tournament but went for some runs in the middle of the league stage. The 36-year-old picked up three wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the second qualifier to take his team to the final. Nehra also dished out a brilliant spell of pace bowling with figures of 4 for 10 as Chennai defeated RCB by 27 runs in a league match.
Lendl Simmons: Simmons had one of the most impressive show this year and was a big reason for Mumbai Indians winning the title. His contribution at the top had largely gone unnoticed because he didn’t play many big knocks. He gave Mumbai solid starts on many occasions and had some brilliant partnerships with his opening partner Parthiv Patel. Simmons looked solid whenever Mumbai were in trouble and played some big shots to launch a counter offensive. He was the second highest run scorer in the event along with Ajinkya Rahane. Simmons made 540 runs in 13 innings with an average of 45.00 and a strike rate of 122.44. He scored six fifties in the tournament.
Yuvraj Singh: Yuvraj would like to forget his performance in IPL 2015 like a bad dream. As his team Delhi Daredevils had another poor season finishing seventh, Yuvraj failed to live up to his fans’ expectations. His 248 runs in 13 innings came at a poor average of 19.07 and a strike rate of 118.09. Yuvraj, who was once a consistent match winner for Team India, could only manage two fifties in the tournament. In last two seasons, he has failed to justify the amount of money IPL teams have spent on procuring him. RCB had paid Rs 14 crore for India’s World Cup-winning star in 2014 and Delhi Daredevils went on to spend Rs 16 crore to buy him at the IPL 8 auctions.
Glenn Maxwell: Kings XI Punjab gave their best performance in the Indian Premier League last year when Maxwell and David Miller were their top performers and Punjab relied heavily on these two. Maxwell has had a good run in international cricket since coming back and was one of the star performers for the Aussies in the World Cup. But he couldn’t continue his good run in the T20 event and could only manage 145 runs in 11 innings with a very poor average of 13.18. He didn’t score a single fifty in the tournament and was naturally very disappointed with himself. “He (Maxwell) absolutely has disappointed himself. The other thing about Maxy is that he plays a unique brand of cricket and sometimes it does not come off as we would like," said KXIP captain George Bailey.
Virender Sehwag: As Sehwag continued to fail with the bat in domestic cricket, his hardcore fans still believed that the flamboyant batsman can make a comeback with good show in IPL. Sehwag had scored a century in the 2014 edition but he looked completely out of sorts throughout the tournament this year and was seen throwing his wicket away cheaply. He scored just 99 runs in the event and his failure at the top of the order further deteriorated KXIP’s chances. His partnership with Murali Vijay failed on most occasions. Sehwag had given Punjab some good starts last season with Manan Vohra but this year it was completely the opposite.
Dale Steyn: After a nightmare at the World Cup where Grant Elliott smashed a six of his bowling to knock South Africa out in the semis, Steyn’s dismal performance carried over into the IPL as he once again failed to create an impact with the ball. Steyn, who is considered by many as world’s best fast bowler, was not in the starting XI of Sunrisers Hyderabad in most matches. He had lost his spot to Trent Boult - who was the joint-highest wicket-taker in World Cup 2015. This year, Steyn was part of Hyderabad’s playing XI on only six occasions and managed just three wickets.
Ravindra Jadeja: Jadeja has been a core member of Chennai Super Kings for the ast few years. Captain MS Dhoni shows a lot of confidence in him whether it is international cricket or the IPL. But Jadeja of late has struggled in the international arena and the effect of that was also seen in his IPL performance this season. He used to be a match-winning player for CSK but this time around he struggled both with the bat and the ball. In his 15 IPL innings this year, Jadeja picked up just 11 wickets at an average of 30.00. His batting was even worse and in his 12 innings he could only manage 132 runs with an average of 18.85 and a highest score of 24.