New Delhi: The most entertaining cricket league has reached its climax and it's a good time to look back at the run machines that lit up the cash-rich event with their willows. Here is our list of ten players who excelled in this edition of the Indian Premier League:
Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore): The marauding RCB opener has been a revelation since he was drafted into their squad. His inclusion has turned out to be the fortune changer for the Challengers. Tottering at one stage after losing three matches on the trot, Gayle came in as a messiah for RCB, after which the team never looked back and ended the round robin phase at the top of the table. The current holder of the Orange Cap, given to the highest run-getter, Gayle has already clobbered 511 runs from his giant bat in just nine outings. As expected, his average has been phenomenal, 85.16, and makes heads turn.
Jacques Kallis (Kolkata Knight Riders): After having his name scripted in the pantheon of greats in South African cricket history, Kallis is doing for Kolkata what he is extremely good at – scoring runs at a consistent rate. The all-rounder is the highest run-getter for his outfit so far with 417 runs at an average over 37. The right-hander has also given the much-needed stability to the Knight Riders' opening slot and more often than not has provided his side a steady start. Once he gets his eye in, Kallis does open his shoulders and plays some 'Kallissical' strokes.
Shaun Marsh (Kings XI Punjab): Though his brilliant 504 runs, with the best of 95, couldn't help his side book a spot for the playoffs, it was sufficient enough to remind us what the 27-year-old left-hander is capable of. It would not be a mistake if we call him the backbone of the Kings XI Punjab's side as he normally comes after the fall of the first wicket and carries the innings on his shoulders till the end. One must also remember that the West Australian batsman was also the highest run-getter in the first edition of the event in 2008.
Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians): Many still bewilder why the master doesn't play the shortest version of the game for India, as his IPL record (1795 runs with an average close to 40) suggests he is tailor-made for the game's shortest version. He has carried the hopes of Mumbai Indians all the way through and lies third in the list of batsmen who have scored the maximum number of runs in this edition (477 in 14 matches, including a brilliant century against Kochi Tuskers).
Paul Valthaty (Kings XI Punjab): Although getting praise from the master Sachin Tendulkar himself has been the biggest moment in Valthaty's life so far but the confidence that the 27-year-old has shown during this edition of the league has been just exemplary. The Kings XI batsman announced his arrival with a thunderous 120 against the Champions Chennai Super Kings and though he misfired a little in the later games, he still played a major part in Kings XI's fifth-place finish.
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore): The Royal Challengers are reaping the benefits of what they sowed earlier. Firstly, they retained only Kohli among the other stars of their previous editions' squad and secondly they added Gayle and gave a new lease to their struggling campaign. Both the decisions turned out to be master strokes for the RCB. The maturity the 22-year-old has shown while leading the side in the absence of regular skipper Daniel Vettori is a positive sign for the Indian cricket as well, as he already has been touted as MS Dhoni’s understudy. The right-hander has plundered 444 runs with a strike rate of 119.
Michael Hussey (Chennai Super Kings): Though Michael Hussey has played a game or two less than some of the other performers in the IPL, his contribution to Chennai's success is just incredible. The left-hander has opened the batting for his side and more often than not has given them the start they desired of him. He is the top run-getter for CSK in the current edition with 429 runs at an average of over 42.
Ambati Rayudu (Mumbai Indians): Not getting selected for India's tour to West Indies, despite smashing 383 runs in this edition could have hurt the Mumbai batsman, but the skills the 25-year-old seems to have developed during his stint with Mumbai and sharing the same dressing room as the little master could well be the sort of boost Rayudu was looking for. And the calmness he showed during his team's encounter against the Kolkata Knight Riders when he hit a match-winning six on the last ball of the match, may well take his career to a new high.
S Badrinath (Chennai Super Kings): Whenever in trouble, the team looks to Badri - along with skipper MS Dhoni - to resurrect them. He has been the unsung hero for Chennai for the last three editions and has always scored when it mattered the most. His 362 runs, this time around, proved enough to get an India call for their tour to the Caribbean.
Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils): The prolific batsman seemed to be the lone warrior Delhi had during their IPL-4 campaign where they got the wooden spoon for their abysmal showing. Sehwag's 424 runs in just 11 games was the only highlight for the Devils in this edition.