S. SOORAJ | 9th May 2021

With the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India getting out of hand, BCCI had no other option than to suspend the rest of the IPL indefinitely. In the midst of this pandemic, the best T20 tournament in the world made for a necessary distraction in these troubling times.

Even though only half of the tournament was played, we had some incredible contests and performances from the likes of Jadeja and Pollard that would be fitting in an IPL Hall of Fame. Where and when the IPL is played is a topic for another day.

Without further ado, here’s the MTAG IPL Team of the Season.

Shikhar Dhawan

The first name on the list is the player with the most runs (380) in the IPL so far. Shikhar Dhawan was at his brilliant best alongside the rejuvenated Prithvi Shaw to help the Delhi Capitals reach the top of the IPL table as things stand.

With three fifties and a highest score of 92, Gabbar always made sure DC made a statement, right off the bat. His performances have handed an automatic selection headache to the decision makers for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Faf du Plessis

After getting out for 0 in the first game of the season, Faf du Plessis showed tremendous character for the remainder of the IPL. The Proteas legend ended up getting four consecutive 50+ scores in the last four games with a best score of a sensational 95* against KKR.

His experience on the field paid off as CSK’s opening woes seemed to vanish. The seasoned vet, alongside his younger partner-in-crime Ruturaj Gaikwad put on a sublime show, bringing CSK back to the top half of the table after a tough IPL 2020 in Dubai. Faf’s strike rate and consistency give him the nod as one among the best openers in the season so far ahead of KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw.

Undoubtedly Chennai’s standout player of the season so far.

KL Rahul

Putting up sizeable scores on the board has been a headache for the Punjab Kings, despite a solid batting line-up on paper. An ageing Chris Gayle, inconsistent Mayank Agarwal and a bang out-of-form Nicholas Pooran weren’t making things easier for Punjab. If there was one ray of hope amid that experienced batting lineup, it was KL Rahul.

Even though the unreliability of the line-up forced him to play some undeniably slow knocks, KL has been class apart this season with 331 runs in 7 innings. And while’s taken a ton of responsibility on his shoulders as both skipper and the clutch batsman of the side, the only major criticism is how he has paced his innings’, considering he has been overly conservatives for the most part.

Still, a top-drawer season from an impeccable stroke player.

Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson is one of the most stylish and aesthetically pleasing batsmen you’ll find. His elegance with the bat was on show when he smashed the first century of this IPL against KXIP. Even though it came in a losing cause, the Rajsthan Royals captain played one of the best IPL innings this season.

But things seemed to go downhill for Sanju after that, and given the shorter span of the season, one brilliant innings could make a difference and that is exactly what has happened here. To add to that, the flamboyant batsman also had three consecutive 40+ scores as the tournament came to a halt.

AB de Villiers

Take a look at the best line-up of every major tournament and you will find this guy there. AB de Villiers, even after his retirement from international cricket looks sublime. His two 70+ scores against DC and KKR helped RCB get 4 crucial points to remain at the top half of the table.

Mr. 360 has scored 207 runs this IPL with a strike rate of 164.28 and an average of 51.75. Not at all bad for a man who had just one training session between the last two IPL’s.

Absolute genius.

Ravindra Jadeja

This is the second CSK player in the line-up which just shows how good they were this season. Ravindra Jadeja is mainly in this line-up for his super-human performance against RCB where he smashed 37 runs off one over in his dynamite 62* off 28. And he didn’t stop at that- going on to scalp three wickets and a magnificent direct hit.

It was, without a doubt one of the most complete T20 performances anyone has ever seen. Jaddu ended up with 6 wickets and scored 131 runs as the IPL got suspended and has come up trumps for the men in yellow this season.

Chris Morris

Bought by Rajasthan Royals for a record fee of Rs. 16.25 crores, all eyes were on Chris Morris at the beginning of the tournament. But the South African all-rounder proved his worth early in the league when he used his batting skills to see RR over the line against DC with a blistering 36 off 18 balls while chasing.

The Proteas mainstay was also ferocious with the ball, establishing himself as their main death bowler in the absence of the mighty Jofra Archer, picking up 14 wickets with an economy of 7.21.

RR’s best by a country mile.

Rashid Khan

In the midst of a dreadful season, if there is one thing that SRH can be happy about, it is the form of their wizard with the ball, Rashid Khan. Rashid has been at the top of his game this IPL, just like he always is and has picked up 10 wickets with an economy of just 6.14.

The four overs he bowls are a total game-changer for the Sunrisers and he keeps living up to his reputation. Barring the wily Rahul Chahar who is unlucky to miss out, none of the other spinners in the tournament would even stand a chance against the great Afghan.

In a league of his own.

Avesh Khan

With Kagiso Rabada in the Delhi line-up, he was expected to be the main man for obvious reasons. Cue the expectations vs reality memes. Even during the matches when Rabada was struggling with the ball, Avesh Khan seemed to deliver consistently, becoming the go-to bowler for Rishabh Pant.

The right-arm seamer was very handy for the Delhi Capitals, barely conceding at the death and picking up vital wickets whenever needed. He is the tournament’s 2nd highest wicket-taker as of now with 14 wickets and is certainly the find of the tournament for Delhi.

Harshal Patel

The IPL has been a tournament where a lot of uncapped batsmen have emerged into the limelight throughout the years. This year, things are a bit different. It is the uncapped bowlers who are putting on a show and there’s no bigger and better than Harshal Patel.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler has been a force to be reckoned with this season, picking up 17 wickets in 7 games and is currently holding the Purple Cap. And that unreal 5/27 against the Mumbai Indians was as emphatic a start to his campaign as could be.

Even though he leaks a few runs down the death overs and the final over to Jadeja was just a one-off, his wicket-taking ability makes up for his poor economy. If you backed RCB to finally lift their first ever IPL trophy, chances are Harshal was a massive factor behind your belief.

Mohammed Siraj

Another RCB pacer who has ticked all the right boxes is Mohammed Siraj, something he must be used to since the unforgettable tour to Australia. What a turnaround this guy has had in the past year.

From being one of the most expensive bowlers in the IPL and lambasted for it, Siraj has worked his way into becoming one of the top assets, in and amongst the RCB bowling attack.

He has been the man for the job in death overs and Virat Kohli would back this man with his eyes closed for his pinpoint yorkers. Heroic displays like he has shown this season may tip the Indian captain to put him right in the mix, as a part of their strongest XI in the T20 World Cup if Siraj keeps soaring.