IPL 2016 May 29, 2016

Rahul, Pandya and others who exceeded expectations

In a season dominated by popular names, some lesser-known players made a difference

Krunal Pandya


Mumbai Indians' search for an Indian allrounder was complete when they unearthed Krunal Pandya in their third match - after trying out Shreyas Gopal and J Suchith in the first two. Krunal struck a quick 20 and returned 1 for 20 against Gujarat Lions, fitting into the bits-and-pieces role Mumbai were yearning for. Despite being shuffled around the batting line-up, Krunal crunched 237 runs at an average of 39.50 and a strike rate of 191.12. He also contributed with six wickets.

Karun Nair


In the quest of filling their squad with youngsters, Delhi Daredevils splurged INR 4 crores on Karun Nair - 40 times his base price of INR 10 lakhs. Nair started off slowly, registering three single-digit scores in his first four innings, but thereafter his consistency was one of Daredevils' bright spots. In 12 innings, Nair struck 357 runs at an average of 35.70. The highlight of his season was a match-winning, unbeaten 83 to take Daredevils to a last-ball win against Sunrisers Hyderabad and keep their campaign alive.

Adam Zampa


In the 2016 World T20 in India, Adam Zampa impressed with five wickets from four matches and an economy rate of 6.27. Despite playing just five games this IPL, he claimed the most wickets (12) for Rising Pune Supergiants. His bowling average of 9.58 was the best among their specialist bowlers. He also returned the second-best figures in the competition's history when he took 6 for 19 in a losing cause against Sunrisers.

KL Rahul


KL Rahul seamlessly transitioned from his classical Test-match strokeplay to become a vital cog in Royal Challengers Bangalore's batting line-up. Coming in for Chris Gayle in Royal Challengers' third match, Rahul totalled just 30 runs in his first two games. Thereafter, he cracked three consecutive fifties that helped him secure his spot for the rest of the season. He finished with 397 runs in 14 games at an average of 44.11. He also carried out wicketkeeping duties for Royal Challengers.

Marcus Stoinis


Marcus Stoinis' medium-pace bowling and big-hitting prowess made him one of Kings XI's most valuable purchases - he was bought for INR 55 lakhs. Stoinis, armed with his stock ball, the offcutter, took eight wickets, including a career-best 4 for 15 against Mumbai Indians. In five innings with the bat, he made 146 runs at an average of 36.50, including an unbeaten 34 against Royal Challengers Bangalore that almost carried his side home in a tense chase. Unavoidable circumstances cut short his season - he had to return home due to "personal reasons".

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo