As franchises get busy closing the books on IPL 2019, ESPNcricinfo reviews the best and the worst buys in terms of money spent on players.
Value for money
Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad, INR 2.2 crore)
(Mat: 10, Runs: 445, Ave: 55.62, SR: 157.24, Ct: 9, St: 2)
There was never any doubt about Bairstow's ability, and at a price tag of INR 2.2 crore, he proved to be a steal for Sunrisers. Excluding the inaugural 2008 season, no batsman has scored more runs than Bairstow in his maiden IPL. Among those with at least 300 runs this season, only Andre Russell (204.81), Hardik Pandya (191.42) and Rishabh Pant (162.66) had a higher strike rate than his 157.24. With David Warner, he added 791 runs for the opening stands, including four century and three half-century stands, which were largely responsible in Sunrisers making to the playoffs.
Ishant Sharma (Delhi Capitals, INR 1.1 crore)
(Mat: 13, Wkts: 13, Ave: 26.84, Econ: 7.58)
Ishant had gone unsold in the 2018 auction, but this season - after being bought by Capitals - he translated his red-ball form into T20s. Primarily used in Powerplays, he picked up eight wickets at an economy rate of 6.85 in that phase. Apart from finding some seam movement with the new ball, he made good use of his latest weapon, the knuckle ball. It was his performances in the first six overs that allowed Capitals to use Kagiso Rabada at the death.
Keemo Paul (Delhi Capitals, INR 50 lakh)
(Mat: 8, Wkts: 9, Ave: 26.33, Econ: 8.72)
In a bowling attack led by Rabada and Ishant, and backed by the spin duo of Amit Mishra and Axar Patel, Keemo Paul was impressive as the fifth bowler. Before the Qualifier 2, he had nine wickets from seven games at an average of 20.88 and an economy rate of 7.77. He saved his best for Sunrisers. In the away league game, he picked up 3 for 17 in a Man-of-the-Match performance, and in the Eliminator, he scored the winning boundary apart from taking 3 for 32.
Riyan Parag (Rajasthan Royals, INR 20 lakh)
(Mat: 7, Runs: 160, Ave: 32, SR: 126.98, Wkts: 2, Ave: 60.50, Econ: 8.64)
Perhaps one of the finds of the season. After Parag's calm and composed 43 off 29 in a chase against Mumbai Indians, Steven Smith tipped the 17-year-old for a bright future. Parag backed Smith's statement with the scores of 47 and 50 against Kolkata Knight Riders and Capitals respectively, the fifty making him the youngest half-centurion in the IPL. He also showed he could bowl everything from legbreaks to googlies, carrom balls and cutters. In short, he was the rare bright light in Royals' otherwise gloomy season.
M Ashwin (Kings XI Punjab, INR 20 lakh)
(Mat: 10, Wkts: 5, Ave: 51, Econ: 7.50)
A mere five wickets from ten games may not tell the full story, but with Varun Chakravarthy and Mujeeb Ur Rahman struggling with injuries, M Ashwin proved to be a more than handy foil for Kings XI captain R Ashwin. With the intelligent use of his variations, M Ashwin strangled opposition batsmen and was the second-most economical bowler for his side in the tournament, giving away only 7.50 runs per over. His 2 for 25 against Mumbai at home set up an eight-wicket win for his side.
High on price, low on performance
Jaydev Unadkat (Rajasthan Royals, INR 8.4 crore)
(Mat: 11, Wkts: 10, Ave: 39.80, Econ: 10.66)
The most expensive buy of IPL 2019 - along with Varun - Unadkat was bought back by Royals for more than five times his base price (INR 1.5 crore). Unadkat had said he would work his "pants off" to wash away the disappointment of 2018 where he was the most expensive Indian buy ever in the IPL, but couldn't convert it into performances on the field. However, for the second season in a row, Unadkat failed to live up to the expectation of being an effective left-arm seamer who can bowl at the death. Out of the 11 innings he bowled in, only thrice he conceded less than nine an over and only once picked more than a wicket.
Varun Chakravarthy (Kings XI Punjab, INR 8.4 crore)
(Mat: 1, Wkts: 1, Ave: 35, Econ: 11.66)
Impressive numbers in the Tamil Nadu Premier League and a truckload of varieties helped Varun fetch a hefty amount - 42 times his base price of INR 20 lakh - during the auction. But a shoulder injury kept him out of the action initially and when he eventually played, Sunil Narine carted the debutant all over the park. Varun ended up conceding 25 from his first over, the worst debut over in IPL history. To add to his woes, he then broke his finger and was ruled out of the IPL shortly afterwards.
Colin Ingram (Delhi Capitals, INR 6.4 crore)
(Mat: 12, Runs: 184, Ave: 18.40, SR: 119.48)
Ingram has made his name in various T20 leagues across the world batting mostly at No. 3. But with Capitals having a strong Indian top order - consisting of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer - Ingram was almost always forced to bat at No. 5 or lower. The two times he batted higher - at No. 4 - Ingram scored 47 off 32 and 22 off 21 but mostly looked out of position down the order.
Shivam Dube (Royal Challengers Bangalore, INR 5 crore)
(Mat: 4, Runs: 40, Ave: 13.33, SR: 121.21, Wkts: 0)
Given his six-hitting ability, Dube was expected to be the finisher Royal Challengers Bangalore were looking for. A tall left-hand batsman who can also bowl right-arm medium would have lent the side the required balance. But a couple of failures meant Dube was overlooked after Royal Challengers' third match into the season. In the second half of the IPL, he returned to play one more game, but his 24 off 16 against Capitals didn't prove enough to fetch him another chance. With the ball, he bowled just 1.4 overs in all and didn't pick any wicket.
Prabhsimran Singh (Kings XI Punjab, INR 4.8 crore)
(Mat: 1, Runs: 16, Ave: 16.00, SR: 94.11)
A hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman, Prabhsimran had shown glimpses of his talent with a 37-ball 65 against Sri Lanka in the Under-19 Asia Cup final and then with a 20-ball 54 against Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. However, with KL Rahul keeping for Kings XI in the IPL, Prabhsimran's wicketkeeping abilities became redundant and the team management didn't trust him enough as a specialist batsman. As a result, just like Varun, he also played only one game but the duo's combined price tag of INR 13.2 crore burned a massive hole in franchise's pocket.