The Indian Premier League has been an overwhelming success in the 12 years since the competition was formed in 2008. The IPL has allowed players to display a vast array of skills, so we want to give our verdict of the best XI of players that have enjoyed the greatest success in the IPL and have cemented their place in the history of Twenty20 Cricket.
Indian Premier League: All-Time XI
Chris Gayle – The West Indian has been nothing short of sensational in his T20 career. No player embraced the format more than Gayle, using his swashbuckling talent to bludgeon bowling attacks to the fence. Gayle holds the record for the highest IPL score and the fastest T20 century while guiding Royal Challengers Bangalore to the highest score in the history of the competition. No player has scored more centuries than his six.
David Warner – Warner has been a run-scoring machine for two teams in his IPL career, which spans 126 games. The Australian is the highest-scoring overseas player, amassing 4,706 runs, notching four centuries and 44 fifties. He does not quite possess the power of Gayle, but he is a must at the top of the order alongside the West Indian.
Virat Kohli – Kohli is a cert in a World XI for the modern-day era. The 31-year-old has scored the most runs in the history of the IPL. Only Gayle has scored more centuries than the India skipper. Royal Challengers Bangalore have not had the success they perhaps should have done with him in the ranks, but there’s no other player you should have as number three as there are no weaknesses in his game.
AB de Villiers – De Villiers is the perfect T20 player. A dominant batsman that has all the shots in his locker, while he is also a brilliant fielder and can even take the gloves. De Villiers has accumulated the most appearances by a non-domestic player in the tournament, highlighting his value. He boasts an impressive average and somehow has a better strike rate than Gayle. Any team with the South African in the ranks is worth backing in the Indian Premier League betting odds, although finding the optimum value is always key as the competition – like De Villiers – is anything other than predictable.
Suresh Raina – The 33-year-old is second only to Kohli in runs scored in the history of the tournament. He is such a valuable player to have in the middle order due to the potency of his strike rate. Raina has been a vital cog of three Chennai Super Kings sides that have won the title.
MS Dhoni (WK & C) – No explanation is needed for Dhoni. He has outstanding leadership abilities, leading the Super Kings to all three of their crowns. Dhoni offers power and nous in the lower order with a healthy average of 43.20 in his 190 matches. Even at 38, Dhoni is a box-office player.
Shane Watson – Watson has been an opener during his career but comes into this team at number seven as an all-rounder. He has been dominant with the bat, including an unbeaten 117 to guide the Super Kings to the crown in 2018. The Australian is also plucky with the ball in Indian conditions, notching 92 wickets in 134 matches.
Dwayne Bravo – The West Indian has the ideal skillset for T20 cricket. He has been one of the tournament’s most consistent players. With the ball he has been excellent, taking 147 wickets, which ranks him fifth overall on the all-time list. Bravo has been solid enough with the bat and good enough to score important runs in the lower order.
Sunil Narine – Narine was never able to transfer his skills outside of the T20 arena, but he has been one of the most successful bowlers in IPL history. Batsmen have struggled immensely to pick his gentle variations in spin in Indian conditions. The 32-year-old has an outstanding average of 23.31 and 122 wickets to his name. Narine is also handy with the bat, scoring six fifties.
Imran Tahir – Tahir was a late arrival to the IPL scene in 2014, but has been perhaps the best spinner in the competition. In 55 games with three franchises, he has claimed 79 wickets at an average of 20.39. Tahir’s energy on the field also gives him the edge over the rivals – his celebrations are worth their weight in gold.
Lasith Malinga – Malinga has been the best bowler in T20 cricket since its inception. The Sri Lankan’s slingy action makes it extremely difficult to hit him out of the ground, while he is deadly accurate with his yorkers. The proof is there as no man has taken more wickets than his 170 and an astounding average of 19.80 along with an economy rate of 7.14.
Whether it’s powering the ball out of the ground or the ingenuity of the switch-hit – the competition has enhanced the way the game has been played, bringing it to new audiences across the globe and spectators can do no better than to keep an eye out for this perfect XI.