Sportskeeda's IPL 2015 Awards
The 8th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) witnessed some brilliant performances right throughout the tournament. One of those came from Mumbai Indians as they beat Chennai Super Kings in the final to clinch the IPL trophy for the second time in three years. Their victory was all the more remarkable considering the fact that they lost each of their first four matches.
While Mumbai Indians deserve credit for coming together as a unit at the right time, there were also some dazzling individual displays from several players.
With the tournament having come to an end after close to 8 weeks, here are Sportskeeda’s IPL 2015 awards:
Best batsman – AB de Villiers
Regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of the modern era, AB de Villiers was in sensational form for RCB this season as he ended up scoring 513 runs in 15 games at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 175, which compares favourably with some of the other top run-getters. His innings of 133* off 59 balls, including 14 fours and 4 sixes, against Mumbai Indians will go down as one of the greatest in IPL history.
While de Villiers has been excellent in previous seasons too, this was the first time that he got over 500 runs in a single season of the IPL. He started the season batting lower down the order, but a lack of success for RCB at the start forced them to move him up to No.3 and it is safe to say that the decision to do so worked wonders.
Best bowler - Lasith Malinga
Although Dwayne Bravo won the Purple Cap by taking the most number of wickets (26), our pick for the best bowler of the tournament goes to Lasith Malinga. The Sri Lankan ended up with 24 wickets in 15 games at an economy rate of just 7.4.
While Bravo got almost all of his wickets courtesy of catches in the outfield, Malinga’s wickets came with top-quality deliveries that would have proved too good for most.
The fact that Malinga was written off as a spent force at the start of the IPL makes the season he had all the more remarkable. In the initial part of the tournament, he was looking ineffective to be fair owing to the ankle injury he had a few months ago, but he rediscovered his mojo at the right time and helped Mumbai Indians make the turnaround as they won 9 out of their last 10 games.
Player of the Tournament – Andre Russell
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Andre Russell was undoubtedly the Player of the Tournament. In the 13 games that he played, he took 14 wickets and scored 326 runs at an impressive average of 36 and an astounding strike rate of 193.
In KKR’s home game against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) while chasing a stiff target of 184, they were reeling at 83 for the loss of four wickets after 11 overs but Russell blasted 51 from 21 balls to turn it around for the now former defending champions. Playing Punjab away from home on another occasion, Russell stood tall and smashed 66 from 48 balls, guiding KKR to a four-wicket win in Pune. Although they eventually didn’t qualify for the playoffs, Russell did his reputation no harm and he can be proud of the season he had.
Best emerging player: Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer was an absolute revelation in the IPL this year. Opening the innings, he played some outstanding knocks for Delhi Daredevils and took on the opposition bowlers fearlessly with his attacking style of play. Delhi bought him for a whopping Rs 2.6 crore in the IPL auction and he turned out to be an immediate success as he played a match-winning knock of 83 off 56 against Mumbai Indians and then an unbeaten 70 against Chennai Super Kings in Raipur, which helped them end their 8-match losing streak.
Overall, Iyer aggregated 439 runs in 14 matches at an average of 33.76 and a strike rate just under 130. While it is too early to talk about Iyer’s future, if he continues working hard, there is no reason why he cannot soon push for higher honours.
Best catch: Tim Southee’s and Karun Nair’s tag-team effort
We witnessed some spectacular catches in the IPL this by the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Lendl Simmons and many others, but the one that stood out was the catch taken by the Rajasthan Royals duo of Tim Southee and Karun Nair.
In the match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab in Pune at the start of the season, when Bailey had hit the ball towards the long-on boundary, nothing less than a six seemed the likely outcome. However, Southee and Nair had other things in mind. Initially, the New Zealander leaped as high in the air as he could and stuck out his right hand to seemingly pull off a stunner. His momentum, however, was forcing him over the boundary rope, as a result of which he had to put the ball back into the field of play. Thankfully, though, Nair had the presence of mind to play the supporting act to Southee and dive at the last second to complete arguably the best tag-team catch ever.