The Indian Premier League has been home to some scintillating cricket in its 13 years of existence. We have seen a lot of players make their careers at the biggest cricket festival in the world.
Some players have stood out from the crowd and really shown their ability to the world. In this article, we rank the 5 best players to grace the league since its inception.
Honourable Mentions: Suresh Raina, AB de Villiers, Rohit Sharma, Sunil Narine, David Warner.
5. Chris Gayle
Taking the IPL statistics and marketability into consideration, Chris Gayle is one of the greatest performers in the history of the game. Currently playing with the Kings XI Punjab, Gayle's ability to change the game in this format is too difficult to put in words.
Having played for three IPL teams, the powerhouse performer has scored 4484 runs with an average of 41.13. He also holds the all-time record of scoring the most number of sixes with 326.
Regardless of the team he plays for, there's no denying that Chris Gayle has etched his name in IPL history. He still continues to be a crowd-favourite, mind you. If there's anyone who will entertain the crowd and decimate their opponents in splendid fashion, it's Chris Gayle.
4. Lasith Malinga
Hailed as one of the greatest bowlers of all time, Lasith Malinga has rightfully earned his spot in IPL history.
With an economy of 7.14, the Sri-Lankan has an outstanding 170 wickets under his belt; the most in the Indian Premier League. His ability to pick up wickets while keeping the run rate in check has catapulted Malinga to the top of the mountain in the world of cricket.
Considering the format of the game, the 36-year old's death bowling was innovative and at the same time very attacking. Known for his slow yorkers, his contribution is indispensable in leading Mumbai Indians to IPL victories.
3. Shane Watson
While all-rounders thrive in such a format, very few have been able to show the kind of consistency that Shane Watson has. The Australian's style of play has elevated his stock in the IPL with tons of strong performances.
Currently playing for Chennai Super Kings, the 36-year old has scored 3575 runs with an amazing strike rate of 139.53.
Considering the technician he is, Watson has also displayed excellent performances as far the bowling department is concerned. Having taken 92 wickets, there's no wonder he holds a strong position in the heart of cricket fans.
With two Player of the Series accomplishments under his belt, there's no denying that Shane Watson has cemented his position in this format's history.
2. Virat Kohli
If you're talking about the greatest players in the game, Virat Kohli must feature on that list. The RCB Captain is one of the most loyal cricketers in this format and has done so, by continuously putting in some brave performances.
His aggressive nature on the field only justifies his passion for the sport. However, despite never winning the Indian Premier League, the right-handed batsman continues to test his limits every single game.
After surpassing Suresh Raina as the highest run-scorer in IPL history, one wonders how many records will Kohli continue to break. His personal achievements as a cricketer in this format have earned him the right to be called one of the greatest players of all time.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Widely regarded as one of the greatest minds in cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's ability to change the game on his own has catapulted him as the top player in the Indian Premier League.
In addition to winning the IPL thrice with Chennai Super Kings, Dhoni's yellow brigade have entered finished runners-up three more times. From his calm composure to his deadly attacking style, the man has got it all.
His undeviating spirit has helped him lifted a lot of trophies in his whole career. Scoring 4432 runs in 190 matches, the Ranchi-born legend has a solid average of 42.20. He's truly one of the greatest finishers in the history of the sport.