IPL 2015 May 23, 2015

Absolutely ridiculous AB and nastily brutal Watson

Iain O'Brien picks his top three bowling and batting performances, and the top three foreign players this IPL season

Three best bowlers

Play 01:22
O'Brien: Starc has made Royal Challengers

3. Ashish Nehra
At 36, he has stood out for me as a left-arm pacer. They have been having a lot of success recently in all forms of international cricket. He has led the attack with 19 wickets in 14 matches. You can't ask for much more from the 36 year-old. He has swung it and bowled at the top, at the death and in the middle overs.

2. Yuzvendra Chahal
He had a good tournament last year with 12 wickets, but this year he has well and truly exceeded that with 23 wickets at an average of 18.04. He has been an extra handful for the opposition batsmen to deal with. Royal Challengers Bangalore's success this IPL has a lot to do with his bowling.

1. Mitchell Starc
He had a superb World Cup. One of the few Australian bowlers to have had success this tournament; he has picked 20 wickets. He has bowled at the start, at the death and a couple of spells in the middle overs. He has kept the run rate down, taken wickets and very rarely bowled expensive overs. He has been one of the men that has made Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Three best batting performances

Play 02:08
O'Brien: Mandeep the match-changer

3. Mandeep Singh
He played a match-changing innings in the eliminator, when he scored 54 off 34 balls. While he might have been overshadowed by AB de Villiers, his innings changed the match. Their partnership made it very special for Royal Challengers. That innings really stood out for me and his two shots off Dhawal Kulkarni in the 10th over turned the tide.

2. Shane Watson
His hundred against Kolkata Knight Riders in a virtual knockout was the innings of the tournament. He opened the innings and batted all the way through and created a score which Knight Riders were not able to chase down. He batted sensibly at the start and then brought out the brute force towards the end of the innings. It was classical in some parts and nastily brutal in the rest. That hundred against a fantastic Knight Riders bowling attack was one of the highlights of the IPL.

1. AB de Villiers
He was the backbone of an impressive first-innings total. His innings was audacious and absolutely ridiculous. It was the kind of innings that no longer stands out for him, but it stands out for cricket watchers. It was another innings of class and showed why he is the best batsman in the world, by some distance.

Three best overseas players

Play 01:39
O'Brien: Warner played beautiful cricket

3. David Warner
He captained the Sunrisers Hyderabad and opened the batting with Shikhar Dhawan and picked up the most Man of the Match awards this IPL. He averaged close to 50 and set up massive platforms but the rest of the team could not back him up. He was not all about brutal power, he played some beautiful cricket shots too.

2. Mitchell Starc
He changed the fortunes of Royal Challengers after joining them. They were a team that were strong at the top of the batting order but were light in the bowling department. Starc's wicket-taking ability really changed how they progressed through the tournament. A lot rested on his shoulders and he has been strong enough in terms of character and fitness to get through the tournament. Most importantly, he has had a lot of success where other Australian bowlers have failed.

1. AB de Villiers
He is a phenomenal player and it is hard to keep him out of any team. His amazing, all-round skills can change a game in the blink of an eye. He can keep and is also fantastic in the field. AB is humble and leads by example. He is always at hand to help the younger players and is an excellent partnership builder.