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NEW DELHI: The 2018 IPL players auction in Bengaluru this weekend saw some frenzied bidding overseas and Indian cricketers, with a jaw-dropping 431.7 crore being spent across two days by the eight franchises as they made a dash to stock up their squads for the 11th season of the IPL. At the end of a manic two days of spending, here are the 10 biggest winners.
Ben Stokes (Rs 12.5 crore, Rajasthan Royals)
The England allrounder was the biggest purchase of the 2018 IPL auction in Bengaluru, finding his second Indian franchise in Rajasthan Royals who forked out Rs 14.5 crore for his services. Last season, in his first IPL auction, Stokes has gone to Rising Pune Supergiants for 14.5 crore to make him the costliest overseas player in IPL history and the second most overall. With 316 runs and 12 wickets, Stokes emerged Pune’s most impressive bet and helped them into the final and was voted Player of the Tournament. Though Stokes’ career has been hit by the results of a drunken bar brawl which resulted in him missing the Ashes, and for which he has a court hearing next month, his impressive achievements in the IPL saw franchises bid fiercely for his services.
Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 11.5 crore, Rajasthan Royals)
An insane amount of money, but then this is one of the most skilled Indian fast bowlers when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. Unadkat would have looked at the IPL auction with renewed enthusiasm having been named Man of the Series in India’s 3-0 T20I sweep of Sri Lanka last year, and franchises would have kept in mind the fact that he finished second on the bowling table with 24 wickets in 12 games for Supergiants, striking every 11.4 deliveries while conceding runs at 7.02 per over. That kind of accuracy and potency has been rewarded, and Rajasthan have in their squad a very fine bowler.
KL Rahul (Rs 11 crore, Kings XI Punjab)
On Saturday, Rahul surpassed KXIP’s earlier acquisition of R Ashwin for Rs 7.6 crore to find a new IPL home in Mohali, having played for Royal Challengers Bangalore before this. In 2016, he became the third Indian to score international centuries in all three formats and last year was India’s third-highest run-getter in T20Is with 279 at a strike-rate of 140.90, with three half-centuries. Rahul can open or bat at Not 3 and 4, and given his ability as a wicketkeeper, this was a key purchase by KXIP, who had retained only Axar Patel ahead of the auction.
Manish Pandey (Rs 11 crore, Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Not long after Rahul was bought, Pandey’s name immediately set paddles into motion, and from a base price of Rs 1 crore his value soared in quick time. Mumbai Indians and KXIP engaged in a tussle until RCB entered the fray and upped the stake to Rs 6.50 crore and from there, as Pandey’s price escalated past 11 crore, KXIP bowed out. That left Sunrisers Hyderabad to seal the deal at 11 crore – from a base price of 1 crore – and when Kolkata Knight Riders did not use an RTM card, the 28-year-old was theirs.
Chris Lynn (Rs 9.6 crore, Kolkata Knight Riders)
The big-hitting but injury-prone Australian batsman was another big earner on Saturday, going back to KKR for Rs 9.60 crore from a base price of 2 crore. In four Big Bash League matches this season, the 27-year-old scored 127 runs at a strike-rate of 162.82. Kolkata will hope Lynn remains free from injury this season, given how in the previous IPL he smashed 295 runs at a strike-rate of 180.98 in just seven innings before he damaged his left shoulder.
Mitchell Starc (Rs 9.4 crore, Kolkata Knight Riders)
Joining Lynn at the two-time title winner is Australian left-arm quick Starc, who from a base price of Rs 2 crore fetched a hefty tag of Rs 9.40 crore to find a new IPL home after previously playing for RCB. Currently injury-free, Starc became an instant millionaire on Saturday.
Glenn Maxwell (Rs 9 crore, Delhi Daredevils)
Maxwell was the GMR-owned franchise’s costlier buy of the auction, and could prove a superb one come April. SRH, KXIP and RCB took plenty of interest in Maxwell, but a late bid from Daredevils upped the stakes from Rs 7 crore and they eventually won the Australian allrounder for Rs 9 crore. He had earlier been on Daredevils’ roster but never got a game. No such worries this year.
Rashid Khan (Rs 9 crore, Sunrisers Hyderabad)
That legspin remains a hot commodity in T20 cricket was once again underlined during day one of the IPL auction, when the Afghanistan superstar won a bumper paycheque from SRH. During last year’s player auction, Rashid had seen his value soar from a base price of Rs 30 lakh to Rs 4 crore. The teenager repaid the faith by delivering 17 wickets for SRH at an economy of 6.62. As a frenzy ensued for Rashid’s services, the SRH table sat silently watching RCB and KXIP raise the stakes. As soon as the hammer went down at Rs 9 crore, SRH used one of their Right-to-Match (RTM) cards to buy him back.
Krunal Pandya (Rs 8.8 crore, Mumbai Indians)
The most profitable uncapped allrounder was, not surprisingly, Baroda’s Pandya who had smartly set his base price at Rs 40 lakh. Pandya, who was Man of the Match in last season’s semi-final and final as Mumbai Indians surged to the IP title, found heavy interest from RCB and SRH while Mumbai looked on in silence. At 8.8 crore, RCB won the bid for the allrounder but Mumbai, with glee on their faces, immediately used an RTM card.
Sanju Samson (Rs 8 crore, Rajasthan Royals)
Sanju Samson’s stock as a wicketkeeper-batsman has soared on day one of the 2018 IPL auction, with the returning Rajasthan Royals forking out Rs 8 crore for his services for the 11th season of the league.