There were more questions and uncertainties heading into IPL 2020 on September 19 in Abu Dhabi. The tougher times had called for tougher actions - no crowd, bio-bubbles rules, away from the Indian fans - but after 53 enthralling days and 60 action-packed matches, IPL 2020 successfully and smoothly completed the season which many claimed to have been the most competitive of all 13 editions. Mumbai Indians were once again crowned the champions, for the record fifth times, defeating Delhi Capitals by five wickets at the Dubai International Stadium. The pacers dominated the wickets tally while the spinners kept run-scoring under check and in the batting list, there were a few new entrants while the young guns continued to make the most of the platform that the IPL provides to break into national teams.
India TV's Sports team picked 12 names to form the Team of the Tournament while keeping the overseas rule in mind which led to many noteworthy names not finding a place among the XII. Here are our best XII...
Rahul finished as the Orange Cap winner with 670 runs in 14 games. He has scored more than any Indian player in the last three seasons and even with the captaincy responsibility, he maintained his consistency. His run-scoring remained relatively slow, which could be because of the inconsistent performances in the KXIP middle-order throughout the tournament. His partner Mayank, however, did everything that was otherwise expected of Rahul and did it aggressively and with consistency that allowed KXIP to get off to good starts.
Yet we went ahead with Rahul and Dhawan as our openers. Warner played much like Rahul also for the same reason. The SRH captain started off slow, yet he proved why he is regarded as one of the greatest IPL batters ever as he completed more than 500 runs and was the third-best run-getter in the season. However, in terms of consistency, Warner lagged behind Rahul. Dhawan too started sluggishly. but returned to his aggressive best at the back end of the league stage, scoring back-to-back centuries and four fifties for Delhi.
It is impossible to form the best middle-order combination and not have the two main batters who stood as pillars for Mumbai Indians through the middle overs and amid Rohit Sharma's faltering form. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan had their most prolific season scoring 480 runs at 40 and a strike rate of 145.01, and 516 runs at 57.33 at a strike rate of 145.76 respectively.
The pair will be followed by AB de Villiers, who once again played a key role for RCB in rescuing them from many defeats. The 33-ball unbeaten 73 against KKR and the 22-ball unbeaten 55 against Rajasthan Royals were his most impactful knocks.
For the all-rounder's role there was a dilemma between Marcus Stoinis, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard. Pandya did not bowl this season, hence it would be purely on the basis of batting that he would find a place in the team. Pollard did bowl a few overs for Mumbai. But what Stoinis achieved for Delhi, only 11 others have managed in IPL history - a double of 350 runs and 10 wickets in a single season. Moreover, he offers that flexibility in the batting lineup and has proven to be good in the death overs as well.
The next all-rounder we wanted was a bowling all-rounder and the toss-up was between Rahul Tewatia and Axar Patel. Tewatia produced the most inspiring stories of ages at the start of the season in Sharjah, and he nearly pulled off another against SRH a few weeks later. Moreover, he also picked 10 wickets at a decent economy rate of seven. Axar, on the other hand, was among the most economical bowler in the middle overs and offered that flexibility of bowling in the powerplay as well. But it was Tewatia's batting that gave him the edge in his battle.
Rashid Khan will be our first choice. No debate there. No matter the condition, no matter the nature of the track, Rashid has always been the toughest bowler to negate.
In the pace unit, Jofra Archer and Jasprit Bumrah fit in without any question. However, it was the final spot that created bit of a confusion - another spinner in Yuzvendra Chahal or R Ashwin or another pacer? With Archer and Bumrah controlling the powerplay and death, Stoinis chipping in with a few in the back end of the middle overs while Tewatia and Rashid control between overs 7 and 15, another pacer might not be a bad option. Hence we picked T Natarajan, the one who left the Indian selectors so impressed with his bowling this season that he made it to the Indian T20I team for the Australia tour.
We left Chahal as our 12th man.
India TV's IPL 2020 Team of the Tournament:
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, T Natarajan
12th man: Yuzvendra Chahal
(written by Aratrick Mondal)