The Starting XI: IPL players we'll miss

Blog Opinion

There are a number of entertaining players that will be missed during the final week of the T20 juggernaut, though for reasons they may not like, so we whipped up an XI of players that will be missed.

With the Royal Challengers Bangalore knocked out of the IPL, the semi-finals will be poorer for it as the tournament's top run scorer, highest innings scorer and most sixes hitter (all the same man) will not feature.

There are also some other entertaining players that will be missed during the final week of the T20 juggernaut, though for reasons they may not like, so we whipped up an XI of players that will be mourned.

<b>Chris Gayle – Royal Challengers Bangalore</b><br>Runs: 708, Ave: 59, HS: 175 not out

The Jamaican, along with RCB skipper Virat Kohli, will be most missed by the fans, including the most ardent Bangalore haters. He was the top scorer during the round robin stage, ahead of Chennai's Mike Hussey, and hit a world record 175 not out off 66 balls. He also hit the most sixes in the tournament, and when he failed it had a dramatic impact on the side's fortunes. The man is a world-class entertainer, batting aside, and the knock-out games will be duller for his absence.

<b>David Warner – Delhi Daredevils</b><br>Runs: 410, Ave: 31.53, HS: 77

Warner's nickname should be Forrest Gump, because you never now what you're gonna get. He recorded two ducks in his 16 knocks, and four scores of fifty or more, and it was a toss up which Warner you'd get on the day. Delhi were abject this year, though not for lack of big names, and Warner's reputation as erratic was definitely earned. When he fired he was superb, and fans will miss his aggressive attitude. Now his only chance to contribute to the IPL will be via his infamous Twitter account.

<b>Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore</b><br>Runs: 634, Ave: 45.28, HS: 99

The Bangalore captain was exemplary during the tournament, both as skipper (aside from that one time he tried to rumble with Gautam Gambhir) and with the bat. He struck the most knocks of fifty or more, six in total, and often led the side to victory with crucial contributions. He will be gutted at being knocked out, given the strength of the RCB batting line up, but couldn't really have done more personally.

<b>David Miller – Kings XI Punjab</b><br>Runs: 418, Ave: 59.71, HS: 101 not out

The South African T20 specialist was superb for the Kings, and was not out five times in 12 knocks, including his century, which was the second best score of the tournament. His average was the best of the batsmen, and he single-handedly saved his side from defeat more than once. He, along with Gayle, was one of the more explosive and entertaining players, and he was also good for a laugh while wearing the silly ear piece linked to the commentators.

<b>Aaron Finch – Pune Warriors</b><br>Runs: 456, Ave: 32.57, HS: 67

The Australian came into the tournament with a big reputation, and for the most part he lived up to it. Pune went through skippers like no-one else, but eventually settled of Finch as leader, and he did relatively well with the bat while juggling a poorly-performing side. His four half centuries were good for his records, including in the final match against Delhi, but he will forever want to forget the day he was smashed for 29 runs in one over by Gayle.

<b>Gautam Gambhir – Kolkata Knight Riders</b><br>Runs: 406, Ave: 23.57, HS: 60

The India veteran is on this list because we wanted to be fair and represent all five exiting teams. Kolkata were so disappointing, given they were the defending champions, with none of their big names, like Morgan and Kallis, coming to the party on a regular basis. Gambhir was the best of the lot, hitting four half tons, but owner Shah Rukh Khan would have been raging at his side's lacklustre efforts.

<b>AB de Villiers – Royal Challengers Bangalore</b><br>Runs: 360, Ave: 36, HS: 64

The South Africa ODI captain was not as effective as he would have liked, but still managed to play a few entertaining knocks that showed off his flair and technique, while entertaining the crowds with his athletic fielding and keeping. He struck two fifties, and was the deciding factor during a Super Over win against Delhi, but often came in too late to make a lasting impact. He will hope for more success with the Proteas at the Champions Trophy.

<b>Azhar Mahmood – Kings XI Punjab</b><br>Runs: 196, Ave: 19.60, HS: 80; Wkts: 10, Best: 3/35

The 38-year-old former Pakistan all-rounder is always fun to watch, as he's become quite the little T20 mercenary. His top score of 80 against Mumbai ensured the Kings wrapped up the tournament with a win, and he almost always contributed with a few wickets. He was expensive though, which provided entertainment for opposition fans, so he'll be missed by all viewers.

<b>R Vinay Kumar – Royal Challengers Bangalore</b><br>Wickets: 23, Best: 3/18, Econ: 8.19

Kumar was third on the wicket-taking list and was the stand-out bowler for the Challengers, despite being struck for a hefty number of boundaries off the new ball. His zenith came against Rajasthan when he took three for 18, and also bagged three against Pune a few days later. Bangalore were heavily reliant on their batsmen, but Kumar did well considering his lack of top class support.

<b>Sunil Narine – Kolkata Knight Riders</b><br>Wickets: 22, Best: 4/13, Econ: 5.46

Seriously, the West Indies spinner could not have done more for his side with the ball. He was fourth on the wicket list, and was the most economical, and took a four-fer twice (only Rajasthan's James Faulkner did better). Narine was the star of the show last season, helping his side win the tournament, but this time he had little help and was one of the few Kolkata players to come out of the tournament untarnished.

<b>Umesh Yadav – Delhi Daredevils</b><br>Wickets: 16, Best: 4/24, Econ: 8.78

The highly-rated India paceman came into the tournament on the back of an injury, and was very hit-or-miss. Given his economy rate, it was more hit than miss when it came to the batsmen, and he was carted for 65 runs against Bangalore. So from an entertainment point of view, he'll be missed not only for his wickets but for the boundaries he concedes. The cheerleaders will be slightly more rested without him on the field.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>