The IPL Trade Window has just passed, and teams would have certainly been looking to make changes and bring players in that can improve their squad depth and lead to better results. In the context of this article - and the IPL Trade Window in general - the word "trade" is used loosely, as it includes not only players being exchanged for one another but also franchises purchasing players contracted with other franchises for particular prices, i.e. transfers (such as the Mumbai Indians purchasing Quinton de Kock from the Royal Challengers Bangalore).
This means that for the purposes of this slideshow, the word "trade" includes all exchanges of players made between franchises outside of the auction.
This slideshow looks at the four best trades in IPL history, from the perspective of the team which the player was traded to, on the basis of the player's contribution to the franchise in that particular year as well as in subsequent years in the IPL.
Note: These trades are in no particular order.
#3 - Kevin Pietersen from Deccan Chargers to Delhi Daredevils in 2011/12
While Kevin Pietersen never performed to his highest potential in the IPL, his best performances in the IPL came in a Delhi Daredevils shirt. In IPL 2012, his first season with the franchise, he made 305 runs in 8 innings at an average of 61 and strike rate of 147, and was instrumental in the franchise finishing at the top of the table in the group stages and making it to the playoffs.
Pietersen missed the 2013 edition of the IPL due to a knee injury, but played for the Daredevils in 2014, captaining the franchise. He had middling returns of 294 runs in this season and was released the following year; however, his dominant role in the franchise's best ever season in IPL history makes this trade one of the best ever.
#2 - Ashish Nehra from Mumbai Indians to Delhi Daredevils in 2008/09
The Indian Premier League helped in Ashish Nehra's return to the national side in 2016; however, much before that, he had one of his best IPL seasons in 2009. Coming off a disappointing IPL season in 2008, in which he had taken only 12 wickets in 14 games playing for the Mumbai Indians, Nehra was traded to the Delhi franchise in exchange for Shikhar Dhawan.
In IPL 2009, his only full season for the franchise in that stint, he took 19 wickets in 13 matches at an extremely impressive economy rate of 6.78, and was the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. He only played four matches in the following edition of the IPL - due to injury - and was subsequently himself traded to the Pune Warriors India. However, his outstanding season in IPL 2009 means that this trade which the Daredevils made is one of the best in IPL history.
#1 - KL Rahul from Sunrisers Hyderabad to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2015/16
KL Rahul played only one season for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (in this stint with the franchise), and in that season, he went under the radar; however, the balance which he lent to a top-heavy RCB batting line-up and performances he put in making this trade one of the best trade in the history of the Indian Premier League. Initially opening the batting, he eventually dropped down to the number 4 position, which he made his own and, in turn, made the RCB batting line-up a lot more solidified.
In 14 matches in the tournament, he made 397 runs at an average of 44.11 and a strike rate of 146.49, extremely impressive. If not for the heroics of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in that IPL season, Rahul's contribution to the franchise's best ever run in the IPL would have certainly been highlighted more. It is unfortunate for the franchise and its followers that this association could not continue.