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IPL 2018 Auction: Most expensive XI

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Varun Aithal

This year's IPL auction was a bit different, as all the franchises had to re-build their squad again from the scratch. Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals had the biggest purse going into the auction, and both the teams utilized their money sensibly.

Every year the league sees a number of players who use the opportunity to display their potential, delivering spectacular performances for the franchises. Some players come to the limelight in a matter of days while some may take a season or two to get noticed.

With the IPL poised to enter its 11th season, the auction played a massive role in determining how the teams line up for the marquee event. Here is a team of eleven players who fetched huge sum in the IPL Auction 2018.

Openers

#1 KL Rahul

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KL Rahul is one of the most promising stars of Indian cricket. He missed the previous edition due to a shoulder injury but will be back in action in the 2018 IPL.

Rahul was bought by RCB in the 9th season of the IPL and he performed fairly well for them, scoring 397 runs in 14 innings at an average of 44.11 and a strike rate of 146.49, helping his home franchise reach the finals. He is also one of the few Indian batsmen who have a T20 century to their name.

He was bought for Rs. 11 crores by KXIP, which made it difficult for RCB to play their RTM card on him. The 25-year-old is expected to fulfil the role of a wicket-keeper for KXIP.


#2 Sanju Samson

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Sanju Samson is hailed as one of the finds of this lucrative tournament. He performed every time he came out to bat for Rajasthan Royals and in 2014, he scored 339 runs in 13 matches, averaging 26.07.

Once again in 2017, he got a century and amassed 386 runs, playing in all the matches for his franchise Delhi Daredevils. Royals, this time, went all-out for acquiring his services and bought him for a whopping Rs. 8 crores.

Middle Order

#3 Manish Pandey

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Previously of Kolkata Knight Riders, Manish Pandey was bought for Rs. 11 crores by Sunrisers Hyderabad(SRH). His name came up just after KL Rahul who was bought by KXIP for the same price.

Pandey's name immediately set paddles into motion, and from a base price of Rs. 1 crore, his value soared in no time. After playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore until 2011 and then with Pune Warriors India, Pandey was picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders the subsequent year.

The middle-order batsman, in 103 IPL matches, has scored 2215 runs with an excellent average of 28.


#4 Chris Lynn

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Immensely talented Australian player, Chris Lynn's batting was one of the bright spots in Kolkata Knight Riders' brilliant outing in the 2017 IPL.

Striking the ball at a strike-rate of 180+ last year, Lynn was a major attraction for the men in purple and gold but had to miss a part of the tournament owing to a shoulder injury.

In 12 matches, he has scored 384 runs with an average closing to 39. Lynn has been an instrumental force for KKR and they will once again look forward to the same thing, having used their RTM on him for Rs. 9.6 crores.

Wicketkeeper and All-rounders

#5 Dinesh Karthik(WK)

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Karthik fetched Rs 7.4 crore as Kolkata Knight Riders looked to make amends for their early waiting game, winning a bidding war with Mumbai Indians. Karthik, who played for Gujarat Lions in IPL 2017, had a base price of Rs 2 crore.

Nimble and agile behind the stumps and aggressive in front of it, he has repeatedly delivered the goods in all formats of the game.Karthik has scored close to 3000 runs in 152 matches with a strike-rate of 126 in IPL.


#6 Ben Stokes(C)

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Ben Stokes was the most expensive buy of the 2017 IPL auction when Rising Pune Supergiant signed him for Rs. 14 crores. Subsequently, this year in the auction, he was again picked for a huge sum of Rs. 12.5 crores by Rajasthan Royals, the highest among all.

In 12 matches that he played last season, the all-rounder bagged 12 wickets and added a century to his name as well. He had an average of 31.6 and an astonishing strike rate of 142.

With the bat, Stokes can be used as an anchor in the middle-order and as a crisis man when the team is in a sport of bother as he has the ability to launch a counter-attack at will. His versatility gives the team management the option to use him anywhere in the batting order.


#7 Krunal Pandya

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Krunal Pandya was the name on the lips of all Mumbai Indians fans the past couple of years. MI might have considered retaining him as he would have cost them just INR 3 crore but, at the end, they retained their captain Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and death over specialist Jasprit Bumrah.

The all-rounder scored 240 runs and grabbed 10 wickets in the 10th edition of IPL with an economy of 6.82, the least for any Mumbai Indians bowler.

Mumbai got back the all-rounder through RTM for a whopping Rs. 8.8 crores after Royal Challengers Bangalore had bought him.

Pacers and Spinners

#8 Mitchell Starc

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Starc was part of the RCB franchise from 2014 to 2016 but played in only two editions for them and missed the entire 2016 season as he was recovering from a foot injury.

In 2014, he took 14 wickets at 28.71 with an economy of 7.49, and in 2015 he claimed 20 wickets at 14.55 with an economy of 6.76. RCB and Starc had parted ways ahead of the 2017 IPL season.

The pacer is in his red-hot form currently and will be leading KKR's bowling attack, who bought him for Rs. 9.4 crores. Will he be the captain for KKR also?


#9 Krishnaappa Gowtham

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Krishnappa Gowtham is an off-spinning all-rounder who plays for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy and was one of the top wicket-takers in the first-class tournament this season.

In the shortest format of the game, he has picked up 20 wickets in 27 matches and has also scored 310 runs at a strike rate of 160 so far.

With big-hitting Indian all-rounders going for massive prices, K Gowtham attracted big bids from all the franchises. RCB and RR fought for the player but RR had the final laugh as they bought him for Rs. 6.2 crores.


#10 Jaydev Unadkat

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Unadkat bagged a massive Rs. 11.5 crores from Rajasthan Royals โ€“ the first big buy on day 2 of the auction. He is the most expensive Indian player on this list.

Unadkat's performances for the Rising Pune Supergiant last year caught everyone's attention as he picked up 24 wickets from 12 games, including a hat-trick against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He has a lethal slower ball and cutters in his arsenal.


#11 Rashid Khan

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Rashid Khan became the first Afghanistani to play in the Indian Premier League when he donned the orange of the Sunrisers Hyderabad last season. His spin bowling baffled many batsmen, and the youngster finished with 17 wickets from 14 games at a reasonable economy rate of 6.62.

SRH, the IPL 2016 champions, were forced to shell out big money after a bidding war between Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore saw the price for the 19-year-old Afghan soar. Ultimately, SRH used their RTM card for him and ended up paying Rs. 9 crores.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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