Murali, Narine have made their presence felt
If the high-profile purchases in IPL V have belied their worth, there are some who have exceeded expectations. Bikash Mohapatra presents the smart buys
They can be labeled the 'smart buys'. The franchise owners deserve to be complimented for being wise enough to secure their services.
If the high-profile purchases in IPL V have belied their worth, there are some players who have exceeded expectations, justifying their team's decision to invest in them.
Rediff.com takes a look at players whose purchase has delivered their respective franchises the desired result, if not more.
Muttiah Muralitharan (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Base Price: US $200,000
Bought for: US $220,000
He had a fairly decent time with the Chennai Super Kings and an equally forgettable one with the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala last year, the latter being the reason why no franchise showed any particular interest in him.
Eventually picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for just US $20,000 more than his base price, the wily off spinner has justified his worth in the tournament.
With 13 wickets in eight matches and an economy rate of less than six, the veteran Sri Lankan is easily Bangalore's best bowler in the tournament.
Interestingly, with RCB's three other foreign recruits -- Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Tillekeratne Dilshan -- being their three best batsmen, to accommodate Muralitharan in the squad (going by the four foreign players a side rule), regular captain Daniel Vettori has to sit out.
Murali, on his part, has helped justify his captain's decision.
Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Base Price: US $50,000
Bought for: US $700,000
When Kolkata Knight Riders paid 14 times the base price to acquire the services of this West Indies spinner there were many eyebrows raised.
However, Sunil Narine is a worthy purchase, a mystery spinner, so to speak.
He's third in the list for the Purple Cap, given to tournament's top wicket-taker, with 17 wickets (in 11 matches) besides having an economy rate of under six runs per over. His bowling has cast a spell on the batsmen, most failing to read him.
Narine has, over the last month, become a crucial factor in Knight Riders' progress in the tournament.
Mahmood makes significant impact on Kings XI's fortunes
Azhar Mahmood (Kings XI Punjab)
Base Price: US $100,000
Bought for: US $200,000
The first player of Pakistani origin to play in the IPL since the inaugural edition, Azhar Mahmood's British citizenship helped him make the cut.
The all-rounder hasn't played international cricket for more than five years now but is a globetrotter as far as T20 competition is concerned, having been part of winning sides in England, New Zealand and Bangladesh.
Kings XI Punjab paid double his base price and had to wait for a considerable time till Mahmood procured the visa. However, the wait was worth it.
The veteran has had a significant impact on the Punjab team's fortunes, contributing with both ball and bat.
Jayawardene's experience an asset for Delhi
Mahela Jayawardene (Delhi Daredevils)
Base Price: US $300,000
Bought for: US $1,400,000
He did his bit for Kings XI Punjab in the first three seasons and also made an impact in Kochi Tuskers Kerala's colours.
It was, therefore, no surprise when Delhi Daredevils snapped him up at the auction, paying almost five times his base price.
Mahela Jayawardene has since played a key role for the team, both with his batting and his experience.
While he hasn't been consistent with the bat, failing to capitalize on starts on most occasions, his 55 against Mumbai Indians was a class act.
Besides, the fact that he captains Sri Lanka ensures Virender Sehwag, the Delhi skipper, can always rely on him for suggestions. No wonder the team is atop the table at present.
Brad Hodge has impressive strike rate
Brad Hodge (Rajasthan Royals)
Base Price: US $200,000
Bought for: US $475,000
The veteran Australian was a utility player for both this earlier franchises – Kolkata Knight Riders and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
It is probably this attribute that made the Rajasthan Royals' owners shell out more than double the base price to acquire his services.
Suffice to say Brad Hodge hasn't disappointed.
He has been fairly consistent with the bat -- an impressive strike rate of 140, winning a couple of matches on his own. Besides, he has been a livewire in the field.
Hogg has delivered more than he was expected to
Brad Hogg (Rajasthan Royals)
Base Price: US $100,000
Bought for: US $180,000
The oldest player in IPL V, Brad Hogg didn't cost much.
However, he has delivered more than he was expected to.
In the eight matches he featured in, the 41-year-old spinner has taken 10 wickets, at an economy rate of under seven runs per over.
It's a pity that he hasn't played more often.
Finally, there's another Rajasthan Royals' player who also makes the cut.
Kevon Cooper was an unknown entity when Royals acquired him at his base price (US $50,000). The young all-rounder, though, made a name, especially with the ball picking 10 wickets.
It's a shame that his success story was cut short by an injury.