Just when it seemed like Chennai Super Kings would continue their march towards a third consecutive title, Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis produced their best batting performances of IPL 2012 to give Kolkata Knight Riders their first IPL championship. Bisla, who was only included because of an injury to L Balaji, made a superb 89 and added 136 with Kallis, who scored 69. Super Kings, who qualified for the play-offs with great difficulty, were outstanding in the two play-off games before the final. They batted first on both occasions and registered comfortable wins after posting huge totals of 187 and 222. M Vijay, badly out of form in the league phase, turned it around with a stunning century against Delhi Daredevils. His 113, scored at a strike-rate of 194.82, is fifth on the list of top batting performances in IPL 2012. The rest of the batsmen in the game managed a strike-rate of 141.61. Another notable performance from last week (in 12th position) was MS Dhoni's rapid half-century against Mumbai Indians. Dhoni scored at an outstanding strike-rate of 255 in a match where the other batsmen managed a combined strike-rate of 122.22.
Chris Gayle, the leading run-getter in IPL 2012, with 733 runs, is on top of the list of best batting performances for his 128 against Daredevils. Shane Watson is second and is followed by AB de Villiers, who scored a brilliant 59 against Rajasthan Royals. While six of the top ten innings are centuries, the lowest score to make the top-20 list is Dhoni's 51 against Mumbai Indians. David Warner, who scored his second IPL century in the game against Deccan Chargers, is the only player with two innings in the top ten. Interestingly, there are only three innings in the top 20 (two for Knight Riders and one for Super Kings) for the finalists. This is a strong indicator of the fact that the teams were not overly reliant on one or two players like Royal Challengers Bangalore and Daredevils.
Needless to say, Gayle ended as the top batsman in IPL 2012. Remarkably, his points tally is more than 30% higher than that of the second-placed Gautam Gambhir. Gayle, without cutting down on his aggression, has managed a high average of 61.08. Kevin Pietersen played just eight matches but was exceptional in the short period. He finished marginally behind Gambhir in third position. Chargers finished second from bottom but spoilt Royal Challengers' party in their final game. They were able to compete on the batting front purely because of the form of Cameron White and Shikhar Dhawan, who are in fourth and fifth positions respectively. Faf du Plessis, who is in sixth position, could not find a place in the Super Kings team towards the end of the tournament but did his bit in the league phase when the rest of the line-up was struggling for runs. Steven Smith's presence in the top ten is also ironic because his team (Pune Warriors) lost nine consecutive games towards the end of the league phase.
Gayle's top-class run in IPL 2012 has clearly established his status as the best batsman across all the seasons of the IPL. Shaun Marsh started the season on top but fell away as the tournament went on. Watson, who is in third place, had a spectacular 2008 season, when he was player of the tournament and has been fairly consistent ever since. The last six positions include five Indian batsmen and Michael Hussey. Dhoni, who was outside the top-ten, has moved up after making some vital middle-order contributions in the league phase and play-offs.
In a week dominated by the bat, there were hardly any noteworthy bowling performances. Even the mysterious Sunil Narine found the going tough in the final as he leaked 37 runs off his four overs, his most expensive analysis this season. Ravindra Jadeja and Dale Steyn continue to retain the top two spots on the list of best bowling performances in IPL 2012. Ben Hilfenhaus, who returned figures of 2 for 25 in the final, was highly effective for Super Kings, especially in the opening overs. He is in fourth position for his superb spell of 2 for 8 against Rajasthan Royals. Steyn often bowled superbly for Chargers only to see the other bowlers fritter away the advantage. He, however, is the only bowler to figure twice in the top ten. Surprisingly, Morne Morkel, the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2012, does not have a single performance in the top ten and has his best performance of 4 for 20 coming in at 17th position.
Narine's poor performance in the final meant that he dropped down slightly to second on the list of top bowlers in IPL 2012. Steyn, on the other hand, produced impressive spells in his last few matches including the game against Royal Challengers. He picked up 18 wickets in 12 matches at an excellent economy rate of 6.10 and finishes IPL 2012 as the best bowler. Muttiah Muralitharan, who is in third position, provided Royal Challengers' weak bowling attack with the much-needed experience. Lasith Malinga and the leading wicket-taker Morne Morkel are in fourth and fifth positions. Brad Hogg rolled back the years and picked up ten wickets at an impressive economy rate of 7.02. The presence of Parvinder Awana and Azhar Mahmood in the top ten showcases the strength of Kings XI Punjab's pace attack.
Malinga retains top spot on the list of best bowlers across the IPL seasons followed by Muralitharan and Steyn. The next two spots have been taken by two spinners Amit Mishra and Anil Kumble. Morne Morkel, by virtue of his recent display. is in sixth spot. R Ashwin, who conceded 41 runs in Super Kings' defeat in the final, finds a place in the top ten because of his economy rate of 6.22 across the five seasons. The top ten is rounded off by Ryan Harris, who has a highly impressive value of wickets per match (1.29), and Ashish Nehra.
In the final, Kallis once again proved the value of an allrounder in the line-up. He bowled an important spell in the end overs and picked up the crucial wicket of Hussey before scoring 69 off 49 balls to set up Knight Riders' chase. Dwayne Bravo did better than Kallis with the bat but finished marginally behind on the bowling front. Kieron Pollard often came in lower down the order for Mumbai Indians but still managed to make a strong impact. His bowling in the middle overs also proved crucial to Mumbai Indians' run to the play-offs. Pollard, Bravo and Kallis are the only allrounders with strong performances on both the batting and bowling fronts (ten-plus points in batting and bowling). Shakib Al Hasan and Albie Morkel had an ordinary run with the bat but did much better with the ball. Considering he came at such a huge price, Jadeja was a disappointment. Mahmood, however, justified his inclusion with a fairly consistent all-round run. Watson, who managed six wickets in seven matches, had a terrific impact with bat and ball for Royals. His total tally of points was 41.88 with a distribution of 23.88 for batting and 18.00 on the bowling front.