Robin Uthappa: 210 runs, strike rate 131.25
The IPL never seemed to have ended for Robin Uthappa, as he carried his form from four months ago into the Champions League T20. He missed the first game with an injury, and Kolkata Knight Riders promptly crumbled to 51 for 5. They posted a century opening partnership in their second as Uthappa began with a breezy 46. He surged to an unbeaten 85 off 55 in a total of 187 for 2 against Dolphins before purring to 39 in the final. He leaned into elegant cover drives just like he had in the IPL. The now-famous straight followthrough remained straight even while lofting over midwicket.
Kane Williamson: 244 runs, strike rate 151.55
Kane Williamson came into the tournament with a T20 strike-rate of 112. Yes, he was one of the finest young Test batsmen in the world, but T20? As he had joked earlier, it was in his top three formats. Two fifties and a century in four innings and a tournament strike-rate of 151.55 announced how immensely he had improved in the shortest format. And he did it his way, without violence. He used the pace to collect runs behind square, he skipped out to deposit spinners down the ground, and the chip over extra cover added even more grace to his style.
Aiden Blizzard: 188 runs, strike rate 140.29
In successive games, Aiden Blizzard took Hobart Hurricanes to wins with powerful hitting at No. 3. His unbeaten 78 ended a chase of 185 against Cape Cobras with an over to spare. Hurricanes needed 38 off 17 when Blizzard was caught in the deep off a no-ball but responded with a blitz against the experience of Charl Langeveldt and Vernon Philander. Against Northern Knights, he looted Trent Boult for four successive fours on way to 62 off 43 to set up a match-winning score of 178 for 3.
Suresh Raina: 234 runs, strike rate 173.33
Suresh Raina once again showed that he owns this format. He went past 5000 runs and 200 sixes in T20s during the tournament, the first Indian to achieve the landmarks. When he fired, the match ceased to be a contest, such was his dominance. He hammered 90 off 43 as Super Kings posted 242 for 6 against Dolphins, the highest total in the Champions League T20. Super Kings needed a seemingly stiff 181 in the final, but Raina's 59-ball hundred killed the contest much before the game ended. He struck eight sixes each in both innings, a mark of his ability to consistently hit big.
Shoaib Malik: 172 runs, strike rate 138.70
Shoaib Malik has been through so many roles and situations during his long career for Pakistan that he has had no choice but to be adaptable. And that adaptability was on show in this tournament too. Arriving at 68 for 2 against Northern Knights, he crashed 45 off 22 in a century stand with Blizzard. When Hurricanes were 71 for 4 in a small chase, he made sure he stayed till the end with 39 off 35. In the semi-final, he soaked in the pressure applied by the Knight Riders spinners to launch a late flurry of boundaries in a 46-ball 66. All three times, he stayed unbeaten.
Umar Akmal: 189 runs, strike rate 160.16
The importance of Umar Akmal for Lahore Lions went beyond the runs and the strike rate, impressive as they were. He walked into a crisis situation more often than not, and turned it around with incandescent hitting that made light of the pressure. Just as the chase against Mumbai Indians in the qualifiers was getting tighter, Akmal arrived and crashed an unbeaten 38 off 18 to seal it comfortably. Even as his team-mates imploded against Sunil Narine, his 40 off 24 dragged Lions past 150. He stepped it up further against Dolphins, his unbeaten 73 off 45 converting 34 for 4 into 164 for 5.
Ravindra Jadeja: 111 runs, strike rate 201.81
They could not get Ravindra Jadeja at all. Thrice he batted in the tournament in the lower middle order, thrice he blasted quick, late runs, and thrice he remained unbeaten. Super Kings were 79 for 5 in the 15th over against Perth Scorchers before Jadeja's 44 off 28, in partnership with MS Dhoni, made it 155 for 6. His 27 off 13 boosted them to 182 for 7 in the semi-final. He was expensive with the ball overall, but returned 1 for 25 in the final, giving three runs in the 17th over and removing the well-set Gautam Gambhir.
Sunil Narine: 12 wickets, economy rate 5.30
You have to make your runs against Knight Riders in 16 overs, and then take whatever you can scrape off Sunil Narine. Knight Riders' attack revolved around him till he was banned before the final for a suspect action. He has played as many as 144 T20s, and most batsmen still can't figure out which way it is turning. He began with incredible figures of 1 for 9 and 3 for 9 against Chennai Super Kings and Lions. Perth Scorchers and Dolphins went after him but realised you stand to lose too many wickets if you do that.
Akshar Patel: 8 wickets, economy rate 6.15
Following an eye-catching maiden IPL season for Kings XI Punjab that led to an India debut against Bangladesh in June, Akshar Patel's flat trajectory and calm temperament proved as hard to get after as they had during the summer. His economy-rate of 6.15 was almost identical to his IPL effort of 6.13. Only Barbados Tridents managed to take him for runs, and he responded by making an unbeaten 23 off 9 to finish a chase of 175. Even a rampaging Super Kings could not attack him in the semi-final, and he also claimed the wickets of top-scorers Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis.
Ashish Nehra: 10 wickets, economy rate 8.05
His India career may be over, but at 35, Ashish Nehra's fragile body continues to hold up in domestic cricket, where he keeps taking wickets. Nehra ripped through Knight Riders in the opening match of the tournament with 4 for 21, which comprised the top order and half-centurion Andre Russell. He rebounded from the run-fest against Dolphins to take out the Perth Scorchers openers. The wickets of Wriddhiman Saha and Glenn Maxwell in the same over broke the back of the Kings XI chase in the semi-final. He started all right in the high-scoring final, before his inability to get the yorkers right amid the dew resulted in two expensive death overs.
Ben Hilfenhaus: 8 wickets, economy rate 6.75
Ben Hilfenhaus did what he is so good at - he swung the new ball and picked up wickets with it in every game barring the semi-final. He then used the slower ones and varied his lengths at the death to end with an economy-rate well under seven. After going for 49 in four overs against Cape Cobras, Hilfenhaus tightened up so much he returned 3 for 14 to rout Northern Knights for 92, and followed that up with 2 for 14 to skittle Barbados Tridents for 113.