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(Source: AFP)

All time best IPL XI

The Indian Premier League is one of the most entertaining T20 leagues in the world and has managed to capture the attention with its quality of cricket on offer. 

Over the years, the fans have witnessed some thrilling performances from the players, some of whom have managed to script their names in the history of the IPL courtesy a fine run in the edition. Here is the all-time best XI of the IPL. 

Chris Gayle: No T20 team is complete without Chris Gayle. The left-hander from West Indies is a legend in the format, and despite his inconsistencies in the last few years, he has made a name of destroying the bowlers with his fearless batting approach. Gayle first played for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008, before moving to Royal Challengers Bangalore. He now plays for the Kings XI Punjab unit. 

David Warner: The pocket-sized dynamite, David Warner is considered as one of the most aggressive players in the IPL. The Aussie made his debut playing for Delhi Daredevils in 2009 and spent five years with the team, scoring over 1400 runs at a strike rate of over 135, including hitting a number of tons. However, he was released by the franchise ahead of 2014, after which he was picked up by SRH. Since joining the Orange Army, Warner has reinvented his game and has been on fire, scoring 848, 641 and 692 runs in his last three years. 

Virat Kohli: The Indian skipper is the perfect candidate for the number three slot, as he is capable of playing the role of both anchor and aggressor to perfection. Picked up by the RCB unit after a thrilling Under-19 World Cup in 2008, the Delhiite has played all seasons for the franchise. He has accumulated 5412 runs from 177 games in his IPL career, striking at 131.61 with 5 hundred! He was in great touch in 2016, scoring more than 900 runs with the help of four hundred, becoming the only cricketer to smash as many hundred in a season. 

Suresh Raina: The left-hander is one of the best batters in the IPL, and has proved to be an integral member of the Chennai Super Kings unit since the inception of the league. The destructive middle-order player can also roll his arm over besides being an electric fielder. Raina currently has 5386 runs in the league, just 26 runs short of the highest-run scorer Kohli. He has scored his runs at a strike rate of over 137, with the help of one hundred and 38 fifties. 

AB de Villiers: Like Gayle, AB de Villiers is also a must-have in any T20 team. Possessing the ability to destroy any bowling unit in the bag, de Villiers has almost every shot in his armoury, which makes him one of the biggest threats. The former South African began his career with Delhi Daredevils in 2008 and moved to RCB in 2011, where he has stayed put since. AB has plundered more than 3500 runs for his current franchise at a monstrous strike rate of over 150, which is evidence of his hard-hitting skills. He also has three hundred in the league. 

MS Dhoni: The former India captain, MS Dhoni, is one of the most successful skippers in the IPL, winning three titles along with two Champions League trophies. Batting in the middle order, the Ranchi lad has the ability to destroy different bowling attacks and win his side games from improbable positions. He was bought by the CSK side in 2008 and has played for the team each season except the two years when they were banned. He has amassed more than 4000 runs in his career at an average of over 42 and a destructive strike rate of 137.85. His shrewd captaincy makes him the ideal candidate as the leader of the all-time IPL XI as well. 

Harbhajan Singh: A vital member of the Mumbai Indians since the first year of the IPL, Bhajji can provide important breakthroughs in the middle overs besides being a handy batter who can smash the balls a long way. The off-spinner has claimed 150 wickets in his career thus far and has an impressive economy rate of just 7.05. Bhajji was released from Mumbai and bought by Chennai Super Kings in 2018, and though he has had below-par seasons with the side, his past performances ensure that he gets a look-in. 

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar: The right-arm fast bowler was picked up by RCB in 2009 and moved to Pune Warriors India in 2011, but his IPL career has turned around ever since he joined SRH in 2014. He has been the leader of the bowling attack and little has the Uttar Pradesh player disappointed, picking up 20, 18, 23 and 26 wickets from 2014 to 2017. Injuries affected his performance in the last two seasons, but his exceptional control and swing bowling make him a top threat for the opening batters. 

Zaheer Khan: The former Indian seamer retired from the international circuit in 2015, and is undoubtedly one of the most successful fast bowlers from India. His toe-crushers yorkers along with his pace and swing in the death overs made him a lethal prospect in the tournament. In his IPL career, Zaheer turned out for Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils. He ended his career in the league with 102 wickets from 100 matches at a decent economy rate of 7.5. The left-arm pacer became the 8th Indian bowler to pick 100 wickets in the IPL in 2017, and his experience increases the depth in the squad. 

Amit Mishra: Although the spinner has been unable to seal his spot in the national team, Mishra is one of the most successful sides in the tournament. The second-highest wicket-taker in the league, the 36-year old has a number of records in the competition, including being the only bowler to get three hat-tricks in the IPL. He has taken hat-tricks against Deccan Chargers in 2008, Kings XI Punjab in 2011 and Pune Warriors in 2013. Mishra has scalped 157 wickets in the league and has also made useful contributions with the bat in hand lower down the order. 

Lasith Malinga: The fourth international in the all-time best IPL XI, Lasith Malinga is a must-have. Not only is the Sri Lankan the highest wicket-taker in the history of the competition with 170 wickets, but he has also left his mark with his pin-point bowling and his ability to rise to the occasion in pressure games. The player has turned out for Mumbai Indians in every single season that he has played in, and his death bowling heroics make him a dangerous opponent to face.

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About Sarah Waris

This postgraduate in English Literature from Kolkata has taken on the tough task of limiting the mystic world of cricket to a few hundred words. A firm believer that Kohli is a wizard with the willow, she spends her time awaiting the next Indian spring triumph.

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