Panaji: Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff became the costliest players in IPL history as the two were each sold for $1.55 million (Rs 7.35 crore) at the IPL auction on Friday.
The beleaguered Bangalore Royal Challengers successfully bid for Pietersen, while last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings bid the highest for the England all-rounder which set the new record, overtaking the $1.5 million bid last year for Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Only 50 players, for 17 slots, were on sale at the IPL auction here on Friday, and fewer were bid for. But the presence of England stars made for frantic bidding.
With the teams's spending limit set at $2 million each, teams were cautious in their bidding. Pietersen's appreciation was only a fraction of his base price of $1.35 million, as was Flintoff's $900,000.
Jean-Paul Duminy thus became one of the prized catches of the auction, as Mumbai Indians' $950,000-bid for the South African batting sensation raised his value over three times.
Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Mortaza's bid at the closing round of the auction made for an intriguing duel between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab with the Knight Riders finally securing him for $600,000, an astonishing 1100 per cent appreciation on his base price of $50,000.
Mortaza's captain Mohammad Ashraful, though, remained unsold during the auction, only to be bought by Mumbai Indians to fill their last slot for $75,000. Bangladesh's player of the season, Shakib-Al-Hasan, however, wasn't bid for.
The first round of auctions saw Shaun Tait, the Australian speedster, being sold to defending champions Rajasthan Royals for $375,000, before Duminy, Pietersen and Flintoff went under the hammer.
The second round of the IPL auction had another England duo up for sale, and Delhi Daredevils bought both Owais Shah and former ODI skipper Paul Collingwood, each for $275,000.
The previous year's semi-finalists didn't go for any other player, after having already bought Australian opener David Warner a few months ago and had retained pacer Ashish Nehra from Mumbai Indians.
The Deccan Chargers, who had a miserable outing in the first season despite having a star-studded line-up, purchased the West Indies duo of pacer Fidel Edwards ($150,000) and all-rounder Dwayne Smith ($100,000).
Defending champions Rajasthan Royals, whose representatives also included new co-owners Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, added South African all-rounder Tyron Henderson to their squad for $650,000.
The Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians, after securing JP Duminy, added New Zealand bowler Kyle Mills, while Bangalore, who had already spent a fortune on Pietersen, snapped up another Kiwi Jesse Ryder for $160,000.
Chennai Super Kings, meanwhile, bought Sri Lankan paceman Thilan Thushara ($140,000) and Australian George Bailey ($50,000).
Kings XI Punjab bid successfully for England all-rounder Ravi Bopara for $450,000. But after the end of all six rounds of bidding at the auction, Kings XI and Mumbai Indians had a slot each left for an overseas player.
The Preity Zinta-Ness Wadia-owned franchise pocketed West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor at his base price of $150,000 to wrap up the player auction.