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23 Feb 2018

2018 IPL Auction: Top 10 bargain buys

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10. Mohammad Nabi

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9. Sachin Baby 

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8. Lungi Ngidi

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7. Cameron Delport 

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6. Aditya Tare 

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5. JP Duminy 

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4. Shakib Al Hasan

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3. Dhawal Kulkarni

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2. Imran Tahir

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1. Gautam Gambhir

Picture Credit: Ramesh NG

With the likes of Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat fetching well over RS 10 Crore, this article aims to assess the bargains of the auction and the early candidates for best value for money.

With 169 of the 578 players which went under the hammer at the event being sold, deciding on ten was challenging and so several honourable mentions are necessary;

- Ajinkya Rahane: RS 4 crore to Rajasthan Royals

- Sandeep Sharma: RS 3 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad

- Mustafizur Rahman: RS 2.2 Crore to Mumbai Indians

- Chris Gayle: RS 2 Crore to Kings XI Punjab

- Faf du Plessis: RS 1.6 Crore to Chennai Super Kings

- Stuart Binny: RS 50 Lakh to Rajasthan Royals

- Billy Stanlake: RS 50 Lakh to Sunrisers Hyderabad

- Harshal Patel: RS 20 Lakh to Delhi Daredevils

- Apoorv Wankhade: RS 20 Lakh to Kolkata Knight Riders

- Shreyas Gopal: RS 20 Lakh to Rajasthan Royals

After narrowing down the field of sold players, here are the top ten bargains of the 2018 IPL Auction.

10. Mohammad Nabi

RS 1 Crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad

One of the first two players to feature in the IPL from Afghanistan last year, Mohammad Nabi isn't short of T20 experience, with 158 matches under his belt.

Despite selling for less than nine times the price of his compatriot, Rashid Khan, both spinners are likely to be of equal importance for the Sunrisers Hyderabad who have shown faith in the Afghan bowlers for the second consecutive season.

With the price of spinners such as teammate Rashid Khan, Ravi Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Krunal Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal, RS 1 Crore appears to have been a great piece of business for the Sunrisers.

In his 158 T20 matches, Nabi has shown his handiness with bat and ball, collecting 180 wickets at an economy of just 6.82 and batting at an average of 21.27 with an impressive strike rate of 138.

9. Sachin Baby 

RS 20 Lakh to Sunrisers Hyderabad

Fetching players for base price always is good business for teams in the auction as they're able to reach the minimum squad limit with some cheap buys.

However, even more so when teams are able to gain players for so cheap who already come with a wealth of IPL experience; as with Sachin Baby.

Having already spent seasons with the Rajasthan Royals and most recently the Royal Challengers Bangalore, for RS 20 lakh, Sachin Baby had to make this list.

At the age of29, Baby has played 63 T20 matches, batting at an average of 21.23 with a high score of 79.

With his ability to hit big and score crucial runs, Sachin Baby goes in to the Sunrisers squad as a potential lower order batsman who can hit late runs or steady the ship after early wickets.

8. Lungi Ngidi

RS 50 Lakh to Chennai Super Kings

As showed by Sussex' Jofra Archer, teams are always after young and explosive fast bowlers. Perhaps if Archer went for less than the massive 7.2 Crore he did, he'd have made this list given his immense form.

Instead, CSK have bagged themselves a relatively new but impressive pace man in South Africa's Lungi Ngidi.

At just 21 years old, Ngidi has already experienced T20 cricket in the Ram Slam T20 cup in South Africa and boasts impressive stats for a young bowler.

Taking 43 wickets in 39 matches at an economy of 7.23 is impressive but even more so is Ngidi's start to international cricket.

With three international T20 caps, Ngidi collected six wickets at a fantastic economy of just 5.50. This young man is one to watch in this years tournament.

7. Cameron Delport 

RS 30 Lakh to Kolkata Knight Riders

At seven is an opening batsman I've always regarded as underrated. I went into the auction not having him down as a player that would sell but KKR has picked up a steal here.

With left arm batting power similar to that of Ben Stokes, Delport brings a wealth of experience into the KKR side, which they arguably lacked after Gambhir's exit.

Having played 137 T20 matches for sides such as the Dhaka Dynamites, Dolphins, Sydney Thunder, Lahore Qalandars, Leicestershire and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, Delport is not short of experience.

Mostly opening the batting, the South African has an average of just under 27 at an impressive strike rate of 138. His ability to get his sides of to good starts is crucial in this format of the game and his three T20 centuries and 17 50's shows his ability in the shortest format.

Delport also offers some handy medium pace in the middle overs. He's picked up 48 wickets at a nifty economy of 7.65 in 68 bowling innings. 

This T20 veteran could be a key purchase for the KKR.

6. Aditya Tare 

RS 20 Lakh to Mumbai Indians

Another real steal late on in the action came through Aditya Tare's return to Mumbai.Somewhat of an IPL veteran, Tare offers versatility through his ability to bat higher or lower in the order but also his skills as a wicketkeeper.

With two titles already under his belt with the Mumbai Indians, Tare will look to add a third in this year's tournament.

Tare also offers leadership skills having replaced Suryakumar Yadav as Mumbai's Ranji Trophy captain in 2015.

His stats in T20 also add to the surprise at his base price sale; Eight 50's in 76 innings and a solid average of 26.80. Tare's hitting at the back end of innings' is evident through his strike rate of 131.

Mumbai Indians fans will be happy to see Aditya Tare back in the blue of Mumbai.

5. JP Duminy 

RS 1 Crore to Mumbai Indians

Another new Mumbai Indian and this time it comes in the shape of all-rounder, JP Duminy.

The South African has been a mainstay in the Indian Premier League having played plenty of matches for the Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Averaging around 37 in T20 and T20I matches shows Duminy's talent and ability to face even the best opposition in cricket.

With the ball, the Cape cricketer adds useful off-break bowling which has seen him take 70 wickets at an economy of 7.60.

With the price of many less experienced and proven players in the auction, RS 1 crore for a player like Duminy had to make this list.

4. Shakib Al Hasan

RS 2 Crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad

One of the more expensive purchases that made this list but for good reason. Potentially the greatest Bangladeshi cricketer of the last decade and experienced T20all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan.

Al Hasan boasts incredible T20 stats. Having played over 250 games, the Bangladeshi has a batting average of just over 20 at a decent strike rate, but what he adds with the bat he adds double of with the ball.

Bowling in 246 innings, Al Hasan has picked up 292 wickets at an incredible economy of 6.77.

Not only is Al Hasan the ICC number one ranked all-rounder in T20 cricket, he's number one in all three formats of the game.

RS 2 crore for the best all-rounder in cricket? How could he not be here?

3. Dhawal Kulkarni

RS 75 Lakh to Rajasthan Royals

For such an experienced IPL bowler to go for below Rs 1 Crore is surprising, especially when you consider the fact a similar fast bowler in Jaydev Unadkat went for over Rs 10 Crore.

With over 100 T20 matches in his career, Kulkarni is a proven wicket-taker. With most of them coming in the IPL, the Indian has 119 wickets, going at 7.75 runs per over.

With death bowlers being so sought after in T20 cricket nowadays, Kulkarni's price is seriously surprising and the lack of competition from other franchises is just as much.

If previous seasons are anything to go by, Kulkarni will be worth his price and more.

2. Imran Tahir

RS 1 Crore to Chennai Super Kings

Every time this guy bowls in a T20 match you expect him to get at least a wicket. His wild celebrations and running should be enough to fetch a Crore anyway but CSK are getting a top quality leg-spinner in Tahir.

As with others on this list, the South African's experience is crucial to his bowling and continued success in this format.

With close to200 games, Tahir has collected 217 wickets and gone at an economy of just 7.14.

Having played T20 cricket for over 25 teams, including four English counties, three South African franchises and an IPL team, Tahir has carved himself a reputation as one of the best limited-overs leg-spinners of all time.

1. Gautam Gambhir

RS 2.8 Crore to Delhi Daredevils

For the long-term captain and consistent opener of a franchise to switch for such a low price is mind-boggling.

The auction works in bizarre ways and Gambhir was a player I had expected to attract a lot of attention and bids as a potential opener and captain for any of the franchises.

Averaging 30 opening the bat for Kolkata Knight Riders, Gambhir was a crucial player for KKR in what have been a successful few years for the franchise, having led them to two IPL titles.

I had expected the former Test batsmen to attract large interest from Kings XI who have lacked a real leader since the departure of George Bailey, and fans of other franchises will be jealous at this acquisition for the Delhi Daredevils.

Which bargain buy do you think will have the biggest impact on the upcoming IPL season? Let us know in the comments below.