IPL 2018: Top takeaways for the eliminated teams
Even the most dismal campaigns have their silver linings.
As the round robin stage concludes, quite a few hearts were broken as two fan favourite teams - Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, could not make it to the next stage.
Punjab fans were also left devastated as a disastrous turn in fortunes led them into squandering a wonderful start. The perennial underachievers, Delhi Daredevils, could only find some solace in winning their last few encounters to end the campaign on a high note.
However, in spite of the heartbreaks, the teams that didn't qualify had a few positives over the course of the past seven weeks. Before the IPL bandwagon shifts to Mumbai for the qualifier, let's retrospect on the good, leaving behind the bad and the ugly.
#1 Mumbai Indians
The defending champions started their campaign in a characteristic dismal fashion, losing 5 out if their first 6 encounters. But as in the past, no one could dismiss their threat as they won 4 out of their next 5 before losing the plot to a defiant Rajasthan and a resurgent Delhi.
Rohit Sharma's unimaginative captaincy, Pollard's lacklustre form, and a fragile lower order came under scrutiny in their loss. However, just as in the case of previous seasons, the Indians unearthed two exciting local talents in Mayank Markande and Suryakumar Yadav. Apart from them, the Pandya brothers also chipped in with vital contributions as the season progressed.
Hardik ended up as MI's highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps and Krunal often chipped in with some crucial cameos after being tidy with the ball. Considering the responsibility of leading a novice spin attack, Mayank did an admirable job and though he faded a bit towards the fag end of the season, he still ended up with 15 wickets at a decent economy of 8.36.
Surya ended the season as MI's best batsman by a country mile, ahead of the mercurial Evin Lewis, scoring 512 runs at an average above 36 and a healthy strike rate of 133. With MI's past experience of grooming young talents, the future surely looks bright for these youngsters.