It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Steve Smith’s absence was enough for England’s victory at Headingley to be a fait accompli.
The Mumbai Indians were surely not the IPL’s best team on paper, yet this week they took home the series championship.
It was down to key players taking responsibility, from Quinton de Kock to Lasith Malinga, that the Indians won their fourth IPL crown, becoming the first team to achieve this feat after defeating CSK in a nail-biting encounter.
With an exceptional show of bowling, Mumbai emerged this season as a team with the most lethal attack, which consequently paved their path to the trophy.
Here’s a look at a few of the others who shone for the winners of this season.
1. Jasprit Bumrah
Another magnificent season with the ball for the lead pacer, who once again troubled batsmen with his killing yorkers. He had an excellent economy of 6.63 this season and took 19 wickets in 16 matches. It’s not a coincidence the Mumbai Indians have won four titles since this guy joined the team. His performance in the finals was one to remember, as he bowled with an economy of just 3.5 in his four-over spell and took the wicket of Dwayne Bravo. Even legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh have now proclaimed him as the world’s best bowler.
2. Hardik Pandya
After having a year to forget owing to some controversy surrounding some inappropriate comments, Pandya delivered a splendid season of IPL by scoring 402 runs with a dazzling strike rate of 191.42, which is hard to get after coming to bat lower in the order. In most matches he was providing the finishing touches with his entertaining powered helicopter shots. Despite ending up on the losing side against the Kolkata Knight Riders, his innings of 91 in just 34 balls marked him as a big matchwinner for India in the upcoming ICC World Cup.
3. Rahul Chahar
A promising spinner in the making who had a remarkable performance with the ball, Chahar got a chance to represent his team in place of Mayank Markande, who was finding hard to build momentum, and he amazed everyone with his sublime economy of 6.55, taking 13 wickets. It was the perfect response to the selectors excluding him from the World Cup under-19 squad. He impressed everyone with his outstanding performance on the night of the final with his spellbinding four overs, conceding just 14 runs with an economy of 3.5 and dismissing Suresh Raina.
Apart from these three players, Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard had decent seasons, and though Rohit Sharma was seen to be struggling this season, he still managed to score 400-plus runs.