Virat Kohli was one of the biggest flops in IPL 7 and his poor form meant a poor year for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League T20 cricket championship exposed new players who took the shortest format of the game by the scruff of its neck. The IPL has always thrown up new upstarts, who have excelled in this grueling format. The tournament has also made a mockery of reputations. Big players means big money but the returns may be counterproductive. The following 10 players certainly flattered to deceive:
Jacques Kallis: Still one of the best all-rounders in the world, the South African had a lacklustre IPL 7 with the bat. Initially, Kallis started opening the innings for Kolkata Knight Riders with skipper Gautam Gambhir, but his dip in form meant Robin Uthappa filled the gap and the rest is history. Retired from Test cricket, Kallis scored 151 runs from eight IPL matches and took four wickets. He may have played his last IPL.
Virat Kohli: India's premier batman over the last three years, Virat Kohli would have probably dreamt of winning the tournament before it started. But the way the tournament panned out for him, Kohli must have spent a few sleepless nights. After two wins in as many matches, the loss against KKR in the third game started the slide for Kohli's team from which Royal Challengers Bangalore did not recover. Kohli's poor form with the bat was quite visible in the anger that he showed every time he was dismissed. The on-field umpires also played their part with poor decisions that marred Kohli's innings. The number of runs (359) scored does quite show the talent of this batsman and Kohli will like to forget this IPL thinking it was that "one bad tournament".
Chris Gayle: One big reason why Bangalore failed this season was Chris Gayle. Not playing the first few matches certainly did not help RCB's cause, but once he joined, he hardly played a part as his bat was silent all through. Everyone found it hard to believe that the man who scored over 708 runs in the last IPL was not his usual self. A tally of 196 runs from nine matches, Gayle was a shadow of his 2013 form. Averaging a paltry 21, Gayle did not have a single 50-plus score.
Kevin Pietersen: Delhi Daredevils were very happy to appoint star England batsman Kevin Pietersen as captain, but they never imagined that this would be such a big mistake. Nine consecutive defeats this season sums up Delhi's performance and KP's show was hardly that of a daredevil. Pietersen scored 294 runs from 11 matches averaging just 29 with only one 50-plus score. Like Gayle, Pietersen also missed the early part of the tournament due to finger injury. Probably one thinks that his sacking from the England team had taken all his cricketing form away with it!
Yuvraj Singh: Bought at a whopping record price of 14 crores, Yuvraj Singh made the world go gaga over him. But all that was not transformed into results for RCB. Totally out of touch in the first half of the tournament, Yuvraj's coming back to form in the latter half of the tournament was too late for his team to qualify for the playoffs. With 376 runs from 14 matches, RCB certainly didn't bargain for this from India's 2011 World Cup hero. One would say, better luck next time, Yuvi.
Shane Watson: Rajasthan Royals have always been a low-profile side where utility all-rounders like Shane Watson have stepped up every time the team needed them. Given the responsibility of leading the Royals in IPL 2014, Watson lost his batting form and that was just what the doctor did not order for Rajasthan, who lost a crucial game against Mumbai Indians and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Watson scored 240 runs and picked up 7 wickets in this IPL. This was certainly not leading from the front.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Regarded as one of the best finishers in world cricket, Dhoni was not quite able to give the perfect finish for his team going down to Kings XI Punjab in the second qualifier. He has been criticized for not promoting himself up the batting order for which Chennai Super Kings had to pay the price of losing games from winning positions. Only 371 runs in 16 matches with one half century is proof of the fact that Dhoni under-utilized himself.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The wickets column may show 16 but Ashwin was like a punching bag in this IPL. Glenn Maxwell took a special liking for the Indian office when he hit him to all parts of the ground en route to a blazing 95 in Abu Dhabi. Other batsman also showed no mercy to Ashwin scoring heavily off his bowling and thus neutralizing carom-ball effect. Pitches were to his liking, but probably the batsmen facing him weren't.
Amit Mishra: The quickest bowler to reach 100 wickets in IPL, Amit Mishra was hardly a threat this year. He bowled at an economy of 9-plus which was unexpected from a bowler of his quality. But when a batsman like Maxwell is at his best, no bowler in the world looks effective. Mishra, like Ashwin, had to bear the brunt of bowling to Maxwell when the Aussie scored a quickfire 90 in Cuttack. Together with Dale Steyn, Mishra made a perfect combo of pace and spin but he just couldn't spin it Sunrisers's way. Mishra had only seven wickets to his credit in a low-key IPL.
Dale Steyn: The spearhead of Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack had a horrible IPL 7. Hammered to all parts of the ground, batsman from all the teams took a special liking to this South African fast bowler. Steyn's failure with the ball was one of the main reasons why Sunrisers looked so pale a team. That he was taken for 26 runs in an over by countryman AB De Villiers (RCB) and KKR's Yusuf Pathan, was one of the highlights of the tournament. Steyn managed to bag only 11 wickets this season with an economy rate of over 7.