Shreyas breaks free, Malinga sticks to script
The three best batsmen
3. Shreyas Iyer
The thing that stands out about a young player is how he develops through the tournament; whether he can carry on with the form throughout the tournament. He started off very nervously against Chennai Super Kings, but has gone on from strength to strength. He has handled world class bowlers with ease. He looked the part and was one of the shining lights in an inconsistent Delhi Daredevils campaign.
2. David Warner
He had the added responsibility of being captain and Sunrisers Hyderabad relied very heavily on the top two [Shikhar Dhawan, the other]. He seemed to thrive on it and credit has to be given to their management. We all know how dangerous and dynamic he is, but he also added the consistency this year. This tournament he showed that he can carry responsibility well.
Anything you say about him at the moment is not enough. He is the only player in world cricket who is No. 1 in all three formats. There is hardly a bowler who has got his number and he makes batting look easy. Royal Challengers Bangalore are lucky to have him as they don't look half as good without him as they are with him, at the moment. He is undoubtedly the number one batsman.
The three best bowling performances
3. Chris Morris
In a crunch game for Rajasthan Royals after an inconsistent campaign, Chris Morris had a perfect outing against Kolkata Knight Riders. They needed a win to qualify and in a game with scores of 190-plus [each innings], he was the standout performer with 4 for 23 and without it, Rajasthan would have found it hard to qualify, which would have been disappointing after winning five games in a row at the start of the tournament.
He started the tournament quietly for Mumbai Indians, but as the tournament has progressed he has picked up his intensity and form which is why Mumbai are in the final. You could have picked any of his performances. Mumbai needed to win this game against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Malinga when needed, stood out. He always does and has been their X-factor across IPLs. When he in form, it is very difficult to beat the Mumbai Indians.
1. Ashish Nehra
Any team that wants to go all the way needs that X-factor in their batting or bowling and he has stood out for Chennai Super Kings throughout the tournament. He has to work very hard to keep himself fit. It is not just his bowling, as he has bowled well before. It is the wickets that have mattered for Super Kings - 4 for 10 in Bangalore on a very difficult ground for bowlers against Royal Challengers was a standout performance for me this IPL.
The three best young Indian players
He has come out of nowhere and made crucial contributions, despite not having had a big tournament. The team management saw something in him in the training sessions. He played a really crucial knock against Knight Riders when they were down and out, smashing 61 off 31 balls. Also when Mumbai needed to win all their league games. That was the turning point for me as they got enough runs [to win]. For a young player to play that crucial knock was impressive. He has been good in the field and has bowled a few crucial overs. One of the players you need to watch out for in the next IPL.
It can go either way for a legspinner in T20 cricket. He plays in Bangalore for Royal Challengers, where the ball doesn't really turn much and it is a tough ground for a bowler. He has picked up wickets in the middle of the innings and has been one of the consistent performers for the team. He has been good in a couple of seasons, but helped them get to the playoffs this season.
1. Shreyas Iyer
Everyone has seen how he has progressed through the tournament. He has been good for Mumbai in the domestic circuit and has had a really good season. It was his first season in first-class cricket, which makes it even better. You always look at guys who carry their first-class performance to a high-profile tournament like the IPL and transform that talent, confidence and temperament when you are playing against the best in the world in high pressure situations. Shreyas has done that in his first IPL season, which is a very good sign going forward.