The greatest IPL 2018 XI that can take on 2016 T20 Champions Windies
While the IPL may have culminated, there is still a T20 match to look forward to in two days time. In a bid to raise funds for the destruction caused due to a devastating hurricane (Irma and Maria) in the Caribbean, last year.
The match is scheduled to be played on May 31st, 2018. The 2016 champions, Windies, will be led by Carlos Brathwaite and boast an imposing batting order in Fletcher, Lewis, Powell, Andre Russell, and Chris Gayle.
The World XI squad will be led by Eoin Morgan and consists of T20 stalwarts like Afridi, Malik, Perera and Luke Ronchi, Mohammed Shami, Dinesh Karthik and Rashid Khan to name a few
Let us extend this concept a bit further and form the greatest IPL Playing XI of 2018 season, that could take on the defending champions Windies.
#1 Shane Watson
After enduring a dismal 2017 season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Shane Watson rose like a phoenix this season and helped the Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL title.
The Aussie all-rounder was in scintillating form throughout the tournament and accumulated 555 runs at an average of 39.64 and a swashbuckling strike-rate of 154.59. Watson saved his best for the finals as he crunched a scintillating 117 off 57 balls, his second ton of the tournament, and his experience at the top along with Rahul will be crucial against the Windies bowling line-up.
#2 KL Rahul
Having been the bedrock of KXIP’s batting, Rahul started the IPL with a superlative 13-ball 50 against the Delhi Daredevils.KL Rahul has been in superb form in this IPL thus far. With a penchant of power-hitting coupled with classical stroke-play, Rahul has set the stage on fire thus far in this 2018 edition.
Rahul (95 off 70 balls), who was the lone performer for KXIP in a rather insipid 2018 campaign piled on 659 runs at an average of 54.91 and strike-rate of 158.41.
#3 Kane Williamson
He may have faltered at the final hurdle, but with his immaculate game-sense and understanding of match situation, Kane Williamson has been a revelation for SRH this season.
A team that heavily relies on its bowling to deliver the goods, Williamson was the bedrock of their batting unit. With four fifties in eight matches, Williamson accumulated 735 runs at an average of 52.50 and a strike-rate of 142.44. Williamson would serve as an anchor against the Windies spinners, around which the shenanigans of the likes of Pant and Rayudu can take over.
#4 Rishab Pant
In a team marred with inconsistency, insipid team selections and sometimes incompetence, young Pant came in as a breath of fresh air for the Daredevils.
A brutal marauder of the cricket ball coupled with immaculate consistency; this is how Pant’s 2018 IPL campaign will be remembered for a long time.
It was a watershed year for Pant, as he bettered Robin Uthappa’s tally of 660 runs (IPL 2014), to record the highest aggregate runs by a wicket-keeper batsman in a single IPL season.
In fourteen league stage matches, Pant accumulated 684 runs at an average of 52.61 and a swashbuckling strike-rate of 173.60 which included five fifties and a hundred (128), which unfortunately came in a losing cause.
#5 Ambati Rayudu
At No.5 comes Ambati Rayudu. Rayudu who represented Mumbai Indians from 2010 to 2017, was roped in by the Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 auction and has thus far been in blistering form thus far, having stroked 602 runs at an average of 43.00, and at a strike-rate of 149.75 that including two fifties.
#6 MS Dhoni (Captain and Wicketkeeper)
One of the fairytales of this IPL thus far has been the resurgence of MS Dhoni- the batsman.
In a title-winning campaign, Dhoni amassed 455 runs at an average of 75.83 and a swashbuckling strike-rate of 150.66 including a match-winning 70 not out and a 51 off 21 balls against RCB and Delhi Daredevils respectively.
#7 Rashid Khan
The 2016 IPL champions Sunrisers Hyderabad were on quite a roll this season, with the bowling at the helm, which has proceeded to bamboozle and choke the life of the chasing teams.
Rashid was the spearhead of the SRH attack as he single-handedly won them the Qualifier 02 against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Rashid scored a quick-fire 10-ball-34 and backed it up with a spell of 3-19 (4) coupled with two catches.
With a plethora of varieties at his disposal, most prominent being the wrong’un, Rashid was successful in choking the batsmen during the middle-overs and amassed 21 wickets at an average of 21.80 and a miserly economy of 6.73.
#8 Kuldeep Yadav
The left-arm chinaman has impressed the cricketing world with his guile as well as his exuberance.
The mystery spin is the flavor of the season, and with a plethora of power-hitters at Windies disposal, the combo of Khan and Yadav can weave a stranglehold on their famed batting line-up.
Yadav had a great IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders, as he scalped 17 wickets in sixteen games at an average of 24.58 which included a 4-wicket-haul against the Rajasthan Royals.
#9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
There are few bowlers in World Cricket today, who you can trust at the death, and certainly, Bhuvneshwar Kumar leads the pack. The two-time Purple Cap winner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was at it again this season, bamboozling batsmen in the death overs. In 12 IPL matches, he picked up eight wickets at a strike-rate of 23.25, that included 10 consecutive dot balls to Shane Watson in the finals.
Bhuvi’s plethora of skills coupled with his experience will come in handy in the death overs against the likes of Russell and Brathwaite.
#10 Andrew Tye
The go-to bowler for Ashwin at the death, Andrew Tye emerged as an essential component of KXIP’s fast-bowling department and accounted for 24 wickets at an average of 18.66 including four 4-wicket-haul.
Tye’s success was engineered on his immaculate skill-sets which included a subtle change of pace off the ball and the knuckleball and would come in handy against the brute force of the Windies batsmen.
#11 Umesh Yadav
With most of his dismissals as bowled and LBW, Umesh more often than not hit the right straps in the 2018 IPL, having accumulated 20 wickets at an average of 20.91 and a strike-rate of 15.95. In a bowling attack looking for consistency, Umesh Yadav has been Royal Challengers Bangalore’s most potent bowler, especially in the powerplay overs.
Umesh’s pace was well-up in the high 140s, and he would be a potent force at the top of the innings against the likes of Gayle and Lewis.