With the IPL 2021 auction all set to take place tomorrow, the buzz around it has intensified manifold. Not every player who is highly prized excels in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Playing in the sub-continent against world-class players worldwide in front of massive crowds can be hugely pressurizing for several players. Hence, their performances have fallen flat in the face of such challenges and as a result, could never get a look again.
On the contrary, several lesser-known or unknown players can create a massive impact even for a modest amount. Certain players that the franchises buy at a base price are not expected to outperform the tournament’s big guns. However, they end up doing so on a few occasions and perform beyond expectations, providing excellent value for money.
IPL 2021 Auction: 6 Players Who Were Bought At Base Price But Turned Out As Match-Winners For Their Team
Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch is one of the destructive white-ball batsmen in the present era. Aaron Finch could take the game away quickly from any opposition through his rapid run-scoring and swift running between the wickets. Since 2016 was one of his peak years, he was one of the players expected to go big in the auction.
Instead, Gujarat Lions, playing in their maiden season in IPL 2016, bought him for his base price of INR 1 crores. It was indeed a bargain buy for the newly-formed franchise as Aaron Finch had a season to rever, mustering 393 runs in 13 fifties with five half-centuries, scoring at a strike rate of 131.44. The Lions made it to the knockouts that year.
Hashim Amla is already recognized as one of the greatest stroke makers regardless of the format and a prolific run-scorer. Hashim Amla was part of the South African team that dominated world cricket for the better part of the last decade. The right-handed batsman, who retired from international cricket last year, has over 15000 runs in ODI and Test cricket.
The 37-year old arrived for the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2016 as a replacement player for Shaun Marsh, who was ruled out due to an injury. Amla had a decent season with Kings XI Punjab in 2016, managing 157 runs in six matches at 26.17. However, the following season, he hit the top gear, hitting 420 runs in 10 games at 60 with two tons.
Indian cricket boasts a pool of highly talented and quality spin-bowlers. Amongst the likes of Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreyas Gopal is making rapid strides too. Karnataka spin-bowler Shreyas Gopal had impressed with his leg-spin in the domestic circuit and Rajasthan Royals seized the opportunity to secure his services.
The franchise bought him at a base price of INR 20 lakhs. Earlier, the 27-year old was part of Mumbai Indians and could not get many opportunities. But the 2018 edition was the turning point as he managed 11 wickets in as many matches and took 20 the following year. In 2019, the leg-spinner also took a hattrick, making Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, and Marcus Stoinis his victims.
Lasith Malinga is arguably the deadliest bowler in T20 cricket and is a nightmare to the best of the batsmen. Lasith Malinga’s slinging and toe-crushing yorkers at any stage of the game are precious as batsmen find themselves in a tangle on how to handle it. The Sri Lankan veteran is the highest wicket-taker in IPL history, bagging 170 in 122 matches at 19.80.
But shockingly, he went unsold in the 2019 IPL player auction as no franchise put their foot forward for Malinga. But later on, the Mumbai Indians bid for him at the base price of INR 2 crores. The 37-year old repaid the franchise’s faith by playing a vital role in their fourth title victory that year. He took a wicket off the last ball of the match against the Chennai Super Kings when they needed one run to win.
Imran Tahir is a wily bowler when it comes to the shortest format, regularly bowling uncanny variations and having the passion for continuing playing even at 41. Having made his T20I debut in 2013, Imran Tahir boasts of an outstanding record in the version, taking 63 wickets in 38 matches at 15.04 with two five-wicket hauls. When it comes to T20 cricket, the leggie has 382 scalps in 306 fixtures.
Hence, the South Africa spin bowler was always going to be on-demand in the Indian T20 extravaganza. Imran Tahir went to Chennai Super Kings at a base price of INR 1 crore ahead of the 2018 edition. And the 41-year old performed decently in a successful campaign for the yellow army, snaring six scalps in as many matches. In the following edition, he won the purple cap, taking 26 wickets at 16.58 while keeping an economy rate of 6.70.
Hardik Pandya has emerged as a gun all-rounder in the shortest format of the game in recent past. Hardik Pandya displayed promise straight away when he made his debut in 2015. While the right-handed batsman had only 112 runs in nine matches that year, he had a strike rate of 180.65. Pandya also had a solitary fifty to his name as Mumbai Indians secured his services at INR 10 lakhs.
In the following years, the 27-year old became one of the most valuable players for the side and his stocks raised alarmingly. The Baroda-born all-rounder had the best season in 2019 when he mustered 402 runs in 16 matches at 44.67 with a strike rate of 191.43. Pandya also played a crucial role in Mumbai Indians’ title victory in IPL 2020.