Ranking the performances of each IPL 2024 captain ft. Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya

IPL
Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya had contrasting campaigns as captains in IPL 2024 (iplt20.com)

The 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) was certainly a memorable edition for countless reasons that ended with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) winning their third title. Shreyas Iyer clinched his first title after narrowly missing out on winning with the Delhi Capitals (DC) in 2020.

Captaincy plays a huge role in the team's fate in a tournament, and so does the individual performance of the captain. If the leader is able to lead from the front, then the rest of the members can also put their best foot forward.

On that note, let us rank the performances of each IPL 2024 captain.

#1 Shreyas Iyer (9/10)

There was a lot of focus on Gautam Gambhir and the role he played behind the scenes to rejuvenate KKR. However, Shreyas Iyer's astute captaincy should not be ignored by any means. He used the resources available to him to the maximum, and it bore rewards.

Iyer's bold calls with bowling changes, and decision-making on the field were almost spot-on, and it was no surprise that KKR cruised to the title.

The right-handed batter also made a telling contribution with the bat during the season. His exploits may have gone under the radar due to Phil Salt and Sunil Narine's performances at the top of the order, but it was equally important. He rose to the occasion, particularly in the Qualifier 1 encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), and ended the season with 351 runs at an average of 39 and a strike rate of 146.86.

#2 Pat Cummins (8/10)

The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) skipper was one win away from adding another feather in his captaincy cap. Cummins replaced Markram as skipper, and had the task of guiding the side back to the top after a few shaky seasons.

He played a crucial role in signing off the brand of cricket, which is bound to be replicated by teams around the world. The 2024 IPL marked the Australian pacer's maiden venture when it comes to captaining in the shortest format, and not many had SRH as playoff contenders during the buildup to the tournament. Although, they did not clinch the title, Cummins' leadership and SRH's approach will be talked for ages to come.

Even with the ball, he had a decent campaign. The right-arm pacer picked up 18 wickets at an average of 20.33 and an economy of 9.28.

#3 Sanju Samson (8/10)

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be rueing over the missed opportunity after a seamless first half of the tournament. Despite a forgettable exit in the playoffs, the franchise have a lot to be proud of, particularly Sanju Samson.

Some of RR's decisions, particularly in the second half of the campaign, regarding team selection, batting order and impact sub were questionable, but Samson did a great job overall to rally his troops and instill fear into the opponents.

Samson enjoyed the best season of his career with the bat, breaching the 500-run landmark for the first time. He ended up with 531 runs at an average of 48.27 and a strike rate of 153.47. His performances led him to a spot in Team India's 2024 T20 World Cup squad as well.

#4 Faf du Plessis (6/10)

The Royal Challengers Bengaluru's (RCB) 2024 IPL season will be fondly remembered for their six-game unbeaten run and their skipper du Plessis had a huge hand to play with that. The veteran led his troops admirably even though they were languishing at the bottom of the table, and were on the verge of being knocked out.

RCB's shift in approach and the radical changes that they took paid off in the second half of the tournament, and a lot of credit has to go to du Plessis for the same. However, he only had a lukewarm tournament with the bat, scoring 438 runs at an average of 29.20 and a strike rate of 161.62.

#5 Ruturaj Gaikwad (6.5/10)

Ruturaj Gaikwad was thrust into the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) leadership role, and he could not have asked for a more trickier campaign. The slew of injuries and the toss losing streak certainly made things complicated for CSK, leading for them to miss out on the playoffs by a narrow margin.

Gaikwad made the most of Dhoni's guidance, but also simultaneously carved his own path. Bigger challenges await the new skipper, but he has certainly passed the first test even without any glory in the form of knockouts or silverware.

Initially, it seemed like the weight of captaincy affected Gaikwad's output with the bat, but the opening batter was heavily among the runs in the latter half of the campaign. He ended up as one of the highest scorers in the season, recording 583 runs at an average of 53 and a strike rate of 141.16.

#6 KL Rahul (5.5/10)

IPL 2024 arguably marked KL Rahul's toughest campaign as captain as he had to come to terms with the changing landscape of the game. He could not get his side to embrace the new-age approach like the other teams did, nor could he get the team to succeed with the regular approach.

LSG's nature of defeats was also alarming, and in the end, it was this aspect that knocked them out of the tournament. The net run-rate proved to be their downfall, and KL Rahul cut a rather helpless figure in the middle of the crumbling franchise.

As always, he was among the runs, but his strike rate continued to be the talking point. He scored 520 runs at an average of 37.14 and a strike rate of 136.14.

#7 Rishabh Pant (6/10)

The 2024 IPL marked Rishabh Pant's official return to competitive cricket, and he got into the groove almost instantaneously to claim a spot in the World Cup squad. However, his captaincy credentials need improving as DC failed to qualify for the playoffs, for the third year in succession.

Pant was charged with slow over rate breaches thrice in the tournament, and had to serve a ban when the team needed him the most. His bowling changes and general reading of the game was also criticised on some occasions.

His batting was certainly the takeaway from the 2024 campaign when compared to his captaincy. He scored 446 runs at a strike rate of 155.40 and a strike rate of 40.55.

#8 Shubman Gill (6/10)

Shubman Gill had a tough task of guiding the Gujarat Titans (GT) without Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami. The franchise made a promising start, with two wins in their first three matches, but did not get any momentum after that.

Gill arguably had his hands tied with limited resources and injuries to key players. Furthermore, he also faced a slump with the bat midway through the campaign, which did not help the team's cause by any means.

Gill had his moments in his first maiden venture as skipper, but also had his forgettable share of decisions that he took as the leader. Although GT were nowhere close to a playoffs spot, his captaincy could be termed as promising. He could not replicate his 2023 Orange Cap exploits and instead scored 426 runs at an average of 38.73 and a strike rate of 147.40.

#9 Sam Curran (5.5/10)

The Englishman had to oversee the proceedings at the Punjab Kings (PBKS) after Shikhar Dhawan only ended up playing a handful of matches. Curran had led the side in the 2023 edition as well, but was met with a bigger challenge this time around.

PBKS ended up finishing ninth in the tournament, and Curran arguably did what he could with the resources he had. The team secured some memorable wins under his leadership, such as the record run chase against KKR and a win at the Chepauk as well.

Curran played higher up the order on the majority of occasions, but his impact was not consistent enough. The left-handed all-rounder scored 270 runs in 12 innings at an average of 27 and a strike rate of 123.29.

#10 Hardik Pandya (4/10)

Hardik Pandya's return to Mumbai Indians (MI) was not received well, and the ominous signs was just a grim foreshadowing as they finished last in the points table. Poor form and off-field issues might have played a huge role, but so did Hardik Pandya's captaincy.

The all-rounder's decisions were puzzling to say the least, right from the bowling changes in the powerplay to the batting order. There was an overwhelming lack of clarity and consistency in the decision-making, and it all led to a huge mess that left the franchise in a complicated place.

A lot of issues could have been resolved from a tactical point of view had Hardik Pandya contributed with both bat and ball along expected lines, but it was not to be. The all-rounder only chipped in with 216 runs and 11 wickets.

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