IPL 2018 is on its Final leg and Chennai Super Kings became the first finalist of this year’s tournament following their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 1, who will now be taking on Kolkata Knight Riders in Eliminator 2 in order to decide the second finalist. This has probably been the best season of the Indian Premier League with almost all 8 teams going through successful spells at some point of the league stage. This was statistically the closest ever IPL season with just 8 points separating the top from the bottom on the points table. But what was most surprising this was the number of big money signings who failed to make an impact this season from Ben Stokes at RR to Manish Pandey at SRH. However, with every season we see players who perform above expectations and come with a limited price-tag, the bargains of the season and in this article, we will look at 5 players who turned out to be the biggest bargains of IPL 2018.
Mayank Markande IPL 2018
Probably the player of the season from the first 2 weeks, Markande was a fairly unknown 20-year-old when he made his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians in the opening match against Chennai Super Kings. However, soon after making his debut, Markande become a national sensation as he picked up wickets in a heap and had the figures of 46 for 7 after the first 2 matches. Unfortunately, he disappeared slightly in the 2nd half of the campaign but at just INR 20 lakhs, his 15 wickets represented a huge bargain for MI, with some senior international bowlers ending with much fewer wickets.
Markande is still very young and there is no doubt that he will improve significantly as he gains more experience but Mumbai Indians would have been greatly pleased to know that they have picked out a real gem from the auction.
Shreyas Gopal IPL 2018
At the half-way stage no one gave Rajasthan Royals any chance of qualifying for the playoffs but thanks to a brilliant batting effort by Jos Buttler, the franchise managed to sneak into the top four. However, we must not forget the performance of Shreyas Gopal during that phase. The leg-spinner didn’t make much of an impact for Mumbai Indians in the previous seasons but in IPL 2018, he finished with an extremely impressive haul of 11 wickets from 11 matches at an economy of 7.58, which is fantastic in this shorter format.
Two key performers for RR failed this season in the bowling department i.e Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat but the performance of Shreyas Gopal was a big positive and for the team management their hope will be that he can combine the former 2 and take the franchise to their 2nd ever IPL Title.
Prasidh Krishna IPL 2018
Prasidh Krishna has been in really good form in the past one year and after impressing in the TNPL earlier in the year, KKR captain Dinesh Karthik decided to give him a chance in the playing 11 and fortunately for the captain his call has worked brilliantly. It was quite surprising to see none of the other franchises bidding for Krishna and in the end, KKR got a real steal for INR 20 lakhs, as the seamer picked up 10 wickets in 6 matches, at an economy of 8.54. His 2 overs against RR in Eliminator 1 were absolutely fantastic and probably the turning point in that encounter. At 22, there is still a lot to learn for the youngster but being with KKR is excellent given the huge group of young players in the squad.
He has proven to be a real handy death over bowler which has lifted the pressure of the shoulders of Andre Russel and Sunil Narine.
Deepak Chahar IPL 2018
Deepak Chahar has been one of the finds of the season in a season in which almost every CSK player has contributed to the team’s journey to the Final. Bought for only INR 80 lakhs, Chahar didn’t much game time in the initial few matches but once he got his opportunity he made sure he was not going to be taken out of the playing 11. He picked up 10 wickets in the 11 matches he played this season but what was the most impressive about him was his control and variety that he produced during his four overs in every match. He gave just 253 runs in 205 balls, with an economy of just 7.40, an excellent figure for any bowler in the world.
Ambati Rayudu IPL 2018
Having played the previous 8 seasons with Mumbai Indians, not many were sure how successful Ambati Rayudu would do at his new franchise Chennai Super Kings. However, since the first match, Rayudu has been nothing short of exceptional. The 32-year-old has scored 586 runs in 15 innings this season with an average of 41.86. This is by far his best performance in the Indian Premier League and his target will be to win the tournament for his franchise with a big contribution in the Final on 27th May.
Rayudu’s performance in the first half didn’t go unnoticed by the Indian selectors as they picked him for the ODI and T20 series in Ireland and England starting next month. He was the most expensive player on the list with a price-tag of INR 2.2 crore but there is no doubt that he is probably the biggest bargain of the season with the amount of runs and match winning knocks he has played for his side.
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