Over the years, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has only become bigger and better. It was launched in 2008 and it was a dive into the unknown. When it entered the 2010s decade, it was still finding its feet. One season was played in India and another one was shifted to South Africa due to elections in India.
However, as the decade has gone along, the IPL has stamped its authority as one of the best (if not the best) T20 leagues across the globe. In this tournament, the best not only compete against the best but also get to play and learn along with them.
Over these 10 years, players have come and gone in the IPL but there have been a few constants. They’ve consistently performed and stood up for their team and put in some match-winning performances throughout seasons. Thus, with the decade coming to an end, we look back at the best IPL XI of this decade.
Here’s the best IPL XI of this decade (20010-2019):
David Warner has been an absolute beast in the IPL. At the start of the decade, he played for the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) and showed glimpses of what he can do and scored 1,272 runs from 48 games. The left-handed opener got better every season but was released by Delhi after the 2013 edition ahead of the mega auction.
In 2014, Sunrisers Hyderabad struck a jackpot and that is perhaps their best-ever buy in the history of the IPL. In the five seasons he’s turned up in SRH colours, Warner has run away with three Orange Caps as he’s topped the run charts every alternate year – 2015, 2017 and 2019.
He has aggregated at least 500 runs in each of these five seasons where he averages in excess of 40 and strikes over 140. The New South Wales opener has 36 fifty-plus scores (34 half-centuries and two hundreds) in 71 games which underlines some unreal consistency. Thus, it’s a no-brainer to have him as the top opener in the IPL XI of this decade.
Another automatic choice in the XI for this decade has to be Chris Gayle. He’s been a prolific run-scorer at the top of the order for whichever team he’s played for. Only two players have a strike-rate (players who have a minimum of 2000 runs) in excess of 150 in this decade and one of them is Gayle. In 118 IPL games since the start of 2010, Gayle has scored 4313 runs at an average of 41.87 and a strike-rate of 152.62.
In 2010, he was a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) set-up where he scored 292 runs at an average of 32.44. But it was from 2011 that he took off when he was called up as injury cover by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The Jamaican opener won the Orange Cap twice in a row – 2011 and 2012 and amassed 700+ runs in 2013 as well. He was the heart of the RCB line-up for seven years and amassed 3163 runs at an average of 43.33 for them.
However, in 2018, he almost went unsold before Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bought him up at his base price. In two seasons, he’s been one of their consistent performers. Gayle has scored 858 runs at an average of 40.86 and has scored seven fifties and a ton.
If you take a close look, Virat Kohli hasn’t had a standout season apart from that 2016 one. But he’s constantly scored 400-500 runs in a season and has slipped under the radar on multiple occasions. Yet, no other player has more IPL runs than Kohli in this decade.
The current Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper has aggregated 5001 runs at an average of 41.33 since the start of the 2010 season. He has scored 35 fifties and five hundreds in this period. Those five hundreds are the second-most by any player in the IPL as well.
In 2016, Kohli exhibited unreal consistency. He smashed a mind-boggling 973 runs in a season where he averaged 81.08 and also had a strike-rate of 152.03. It was only the third instance in this decade that an Indian won the Orange Cap. After that season, Kohli has blown hot and cold slightly but has remained at the top of the run charts for RCB.
One could argue that Rohit Sharma is out of position and has to bat in the top three. However, the Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper has gone up and down the batting order quite a bit. His batting position has changed almost every season and he has batted mostly in the middle order in the IPL.
In 2010, Sharma was with Deccan Chargers and he had a good season as well. He scored 404 runs but was released ahead of the 2011 auction. MI spent quite some money on him but it was worth it and as they say, the rest is history. Sharma has never really dominated batting charts but has been a quiet performer.
Moreover, it is his captaincy that largely earns him a place in this IPL XI of the decade. Sharma was handed over captaincy midway through the 2013 season. He has led MI to four titles, making them the most successful team in the history of the IPL.
It wasn’t too long ago that Suresh Raina used to be called Mr IPL. He is a bank at No. 3 and has been very consistent. In fact, Raina has amassed at least 350 runs in every season of the IPL.
Moreover, despite not winning the Orange Cap even once, Raina was the leading run-getter in the IPL before Virat Kohli took over. The Uttar Pradesh left-hander has been one of Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK’s) premier players and is key to their success as well. He has been a consistent performer for them.
Raina did turn out to play for Gujarat Lions when CSK were banned for two years. He had decent tournaments then as well. In this decade, he’s played 162 matches and has scored 4513 runs which is the third-most after Kohli and Warner.
MS Dhoni (C & WK)
There is absolutely no doubt over MS Dhoni’s place in this IPL XI of the decade. He is arguably the best wicket-keeper batsman in the history of the IPL. In this decade, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper has scored 3686 runs at an average of 42.37 and a strike-rate of almost 140.
There was a small dip in 2016 and 2017 when he played for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). However, in the last couple of years, Dhoni has been one of CSK’s better batsmen. He’s stood tall in tough situations and has got the runs and bailed his team out of trouble.
Also, he is super quick behind the stumps. In this period, Dhoni has taken 88 catches and has affected 34 stumpings. Moreover, he has led CSK to three IPL titles as well. Thus, it may be a tussle between him and Rohit for the captaincy armband but we have gone with the former.
You may be surprised to see Shane Watson’s name in this XI. However, he has been a magnificent performer for whichever team he has played for. In fact, he is the only player to feature in the top 25 wicket-takers list and also the top 25 run-getters list for this decade.
He was a part of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) side at the start of the decade. He did blow hot and cold with both bat and ball but he kept putting in some match-winning performances. In 2016, he was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) when RR was banned for a couple of years. But he didn’t have the best time with the bat while he did do well with the ball.
But in 2018, RCB decided to let him go, only for CSK to buy him. Since then, Watson has been the big-match player and has stepped up when it mattered the most. In this decade, Watson has scored 3103 runs at a strike-rate of almost 140 and has also picked up 75 wickets.
When he first broke out on to the scene, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was largely seen as a new-ball bowler. But it is the IPL that has helped him grow and develop into a near-complete bowler. He started off with the Pune Warriors India (PWI) in 2011 before switching to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2014.
It was the move to SRH that turned the tide for Bhuvneshwar. He had picked up only 24 wickets in 31 games for PWI but for SRH, he evolved into a different bowler altogether. The premier fast bowler started mastering the death overs as well and has become a lot more effective. He won the Purple Cap twice in a row as well – 2016 and 2017.
Despite playing one season less, Bhuvneshwar is the second-highest wicket-taker in this decade. He has an economy of 7.25 and also picks up a wicket once every 19-20 balls. Thus, the Meerut pacer will be one of the new-ball picks and one of the premier pacers in this IPL XI of the decade.
Amit Mishra rarely hogs any limelight and yet, he gets the job done. The Haryana leg-spinner is a wily old fox who can outsmart the batsmen and has been a genuine wicket-taker. Currently, he is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of the IPL.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Mishra (who has taken 132 wickets) is not too far behind Bhuvneshwar or Harbhajan Singh who are ahead of him in terms of wickets. He has also picked up a couple of hat-tricks in this decade, adding to the one he took in 2008.
Since 2016, he may not have as effective as before, but he has constantly picked at least 10 wickets in a season. Thus, Mishra will be the only spinner in the XI.
Perhaps, Lasith Malinga is the best bowler of this decade in the IPL. Be it record-wise or even the impact, Malinga has been brilliant for Mumbai Indians (MI). Season after season, the ace Sri Lankan pacer has stood up and delivered.
In 109 matches in this decade, Malinga has picked up 152 wickets which is the most by any bowler since January 2010. He has an average of a shade over 20 while the strike-rate is 16.64. The premier fast bowler has led MI and its bowling attack to multiple IPL titles.
In 2018, he went unsold but got linked with MI as a part of coaching stagg but in 2019, he was back. Malinga was on the expensive side but he delivered in the big final. Thus, Malinga is one of the first names on an all-time IPL team sheet.
Jasprit Bumrah started playing IPL only in 2013 but became a regular member of the Mumbai Indians (MI) squad in the 2016 edition. Since then, Bumrah has evolved into their premier fast bowler. He has picked up at least 15 wickets in each of the last four seasons.
In fact, even the numbers don’t tell the story. Since his debut in 2013, Bumrah has picked up 82 wickets. He has an economy of 7.56 and strikes at 21.12. But it is the impact that Bumrah has had and the way he’s bowled has been remarkable.
Bumrah is simply brilliant at the death. His yorkers are spot on and he can even use his variations – the bouncer and the slower delivery really well. Hence, Bumrah has grown into a complete bowler and has been excellent ever since his debut.
12th man: AB de Villiers
It is tough to leave someone as good as AB de Villiers. But with the four overseas-players rule, De Villiers had to be named as the 12th man. While he scored runs when he was playing for Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals), his switch to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) worked wonders and hasn’t looked back since.
In 133 matches he’s played for RCB in this decade, De Villiers has scored 3835 runs at an average of 39.95 and a strike-rate of 156.34. That strike-rate is the highest for anyone who has scored more than 2000 IPL runs in this decade. Moreover, de Villiers has the ability to bat anywhere in the order and yet, be effective.
The South African star can score all around the park and can literally toy with the bowling. He’s taken some of the best bowlers to the cleaners as well. There’s every reason why de Villiers should be in the XI but with only four overseas players allowed, it was hard to break in.
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