India opener K L Rahul and middle-order batsman Manish Pandey bagged bumper deals at the Indian Premier League Player Auction on Saturday. Kings XI Punjab and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) were involved in a bidding war for Rahul, with the former acquiring his services at Rs 10.5 crore after Royal Challengers Bangalore did not use their Right to Match (RTM) card to retain him. Interestingly, Pandey was bought by SRH at the exact same price to equal Rahul as the most expensive Indian at this year's auction until then. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), after several discussions, opted not to use the RTM card to retain the stylish right-hander.
Pandey's 11-crore deal definitely surprised quite a few fans. However, it must be noted that the Karnataka batsman was been a consistent performer in IPL as well as domestic cricket.
West Indian swashbuckler Chris Gayle surprisingly went unsold despite his well-established T20 batting credentials. England Test captain Joe Root also went unsold.
Indian batsman Karun Nair, who had a base price of Rs 50 lakh, fetched a bid of Rs 5.60 crore from KXIP, reaffirming the franchises' interest in Indian players.
The other big buy among the 16 marquee players was Glenn Maxwell, who was back in the Delhi Daredevils fold after five years for a record Rs 9.40 crore after intense bidding. DD had the last laugh when KXIP refused to use their RTM card.
Chennai Super Kings bought Harbhajan Singh at his base price of Rs 2 crore. Dwayne Bravo was taken for Rs 6.40 crore by CSK using the RTM card.
Kieron Pollard was predictably bought by Mumbai Indians using their Right To Match (RTM) card for Rs 5.40 crore while Sunrisers Hyderabad bought back Shikhar Dhawan for Rs 5.2 crore after heavy bidding from KXIP.
Faf du Plessis was retained by CSK for only Rs 1.60 crore, while Kane Williamson was back at SRH for Rs 3 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)