Royal Challengers Bangalore may have in their possession, the leading run-scorer, the leading wicket-taker and the overall MVP of the current edition of the Indian Premier League, but that doesn’t mean that all the top performers are in the 2016 IPL play-offs.
In fact, there are several impressive performers who have missed out on an opportunity to make it past the group stage despite impressing for their respective sides. So let us take a look at some of them, who were unlucky not to have a chance of winning this year’s tournament despite their fabulous form.
Here are the 5 best individual performers who missed out on IPL playoffs:
Kings XI Punjab may have finished with the Wooden Spoon in IPL 2016 but there can be little doubt that they had a couple of key performers with both bat and ball, who ensured that they didn’t go through the tournament without a win. With the bat, it was captain Murali Vijay, who was leading from the bat. With the ball, it was Sandeep Sharma.
The 23-year-old would have been disappointed to not just make it to the play-offs but also to not get an opportunity to make it into the Indian squad for Zimbabwe. One of the major reasons for that has been his impressive return with the ball for Kings XI. Not only has he operated with great success in the powerplay, but also at the death.
In his 14 matches this season, not only did he pick up 15 wickets, but did so at an economy rate of just 7.32. His ability to nail yorkers at the death was one of the reason why Kings CI didn’t concede many huge totals, despite being outplayed at the top.
Going into the last game of the league stage of IPL 2016, Delhi Daredevils still had matters in their own hands. All they had to do, was beat RCB to make it through to the play-offs. But while that was no easy feat, it certainly would have been achievable had they elected to send Chris Morris higher up the order, when they were setting a target.
Unfortunately, that game was a microcosm of their entire as the South African all-rounder, despite averaging 65 with the bat at a strike rate of nearly 180, came in too late and was left to repair all the damage, with the ball, which he was unable to do.
Still, the fact that he scored nearly 200 runs batting lower down the order and managed to pick up 13 wickets shows just how valuable he was to the Daredevils. Despite bowling primarily at the death, an economy rate of 7 indicates just how capable he was at mastering the art of death bowling. So it was certainly not down to him that DD failed to qualify for the play-offs.
Rising Pune Supergiants finished at No.7 in the standings but it could have all been different had they had the core of their team fit and firing throughout the season. The flurry of injuries to key personnel at exactly the wrong time was one of the reasons why RPSG were languishing near the bottom and not near the top.
Throughout it all though, there was one man standing tall. Ajinkya Rahane might not have gotten too many opportunities in the Indian limited-overs set-up of late but he continued to show how consistent he is in the IPL and how he deserves a chance to open in the shortest format for India.
Rahane is the fifth-leading run-scorer in the tournament with 480 runs at an average of 43 and a strike rate of nearly 130. Only David Warner has scored more fifties than Rahane’s six and from his impressive numbers, you can certainly see why he would have been disappointed to miss out on a play-off spot, for his performances deserved it.
Ever since he became captain of the Mumbai Indians side, Rohit Sharma’s batting has continued to improve at an impressive rate. Despite playing in various roles throughout the season, Rohit is currently the fourth-highest run-scorer in the current edition of the IPL with 489 runs at an average of 44.4 and a strike rate of over 130.
While Virat Kohli’s incredible numbers might make that look like nothing in comparison, it should take nothing away from the fact he is one of only two players to have scored at least 300 runs in every edition of the IPL.
In this year’s edition though, Rohit enjoyed a Jekyll and Hyde-esque performance difference while batting first and second. Although he was brilliant when chasing, he wasn’t nearly as impressive when setting a total. Still, five fifties in 14 innings and nearly 500 runs in this year’s edition shows that he was unlucky not to have made it through to the play-offs.
The loss of Lasith Malinga looked to be one that might seriously hinder Mumbai Indians’ chances of retaining their title. But thanks to the performances of Mitchell McClenaghan, MI were in control of their own destiny until the final game but a loss to Gujarat Lions meant that they failed to make it to the play-offs.
Yet, that should take nothing away from the performance of the New Zealand fast bowler, who held the Purple Cap for the majority of the tournament and finished it with 17 wickets in 14 matches. Although his economy rate of 8.1 is on the higher side, when you consider that he bowled both during the powerplay and at the end, you understand why he went for a few extra runs.
Still, as the third-leading wicket-taker in this year’s IPL, the left-arm fast bowler will be disappointed to have not made it to the play-offs.