IPL GOATs: MS Dhoni greatest captain, AB de Villiers best batsman
A jury comprising 20 former players including Kevin Pietersen, Danny Morrison, Ashish Nehra, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan and Sanjay Bangar picked IPL's greatest players of all time under 5 categories.
On the 12th anniversary of the first-ever IPL match, the panel of experts on Star Sports' new show 'Cricket Connected' picked the IPL GOATs. The choices were made under the categories of best captain, best batsman, best bowler, best all-rounder and best coach.
Best Captain - MS Dhoni
Dhoni, who has led Chennai Super Kings to three titles, won the race by beating Mumbai Indians' captain Rohit Sharma, who has captained Mumbai Indians to four titles, the most in IPL history, including the last one.
Dhoni is the most successful captain when it comes to the number of matches won and the winning percentage. He also holds the IPL record for most matches as captain.
In 174 matches as captain, MS Dhoni has won 104 matches. The Chennai Super Kings captain has a staggering win percentage of 60.11. Notably, no other captain who has led an IPL team in more than 30 matches has a win percentage of 60 or above. Rohit is not far behind. In 104 matches, he has won 60 as captain with a win percentage of 58.65.
Best Batsman - AB de Villiers
Despite having retired from international cricket - he hasn't returned when I last checked - AB de Villiers continues to play for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. Although his performance dipped a bit last year, with 442 runs from 13 matches at an average of 44.20 and a strike rate of 154.00, his all-time numbers were good enough to beat some great batsmen like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and David Warner.
Best Bowler - Lasith Malinga
The leading wicket-taker in the IPL, Lasith Malinga still has a season left in him. From 122 matches, he has picked up 170 wickets at 19.80 and an economy of 7.14. The Sri Lankan beat mystery spinner Sunil Narine who has 122 wickets from 109 matches at 23.31 but a better economy of 6.67.
Best All-rounder - Shane Watson
Though Shane Watson doesn't bowl now, he has 92 wickets from 134 IPL matches, which makes him the second-highest wicket-taker for Rajasthan Royals even now. Watson helped Royals win the inaugural title and has since come to the rescue of Chennai Super Kings may a time. With 3,575 IPL runs at a strike rate of 139.53, Watson was picked ahead of superstar Andre Russell and champion Dwayne Bravo.
Best Coach - Stephen Fleming
CSK head coach Stephen Fleming had an inherent advantage over his competitors as he has coached the franchise right from 2009. After taking part in the competition as a player in its first edition, Fleming took coaching duties and has since shepherded the team to three title wins, despite the team being suspended from the league for two years. Under his stewardship, Rising Pune Supergiant also reached the IPL final in 2017. Mahela Jayawardene who oversaw Mumbai to two title wins and Trevor Bayliss who was in charge of both of Knight Riders' wins in 2012 and 2014 were Fleming's contenders.
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