With the sole exception of 2013, when Mumbai Indians got Glenn Maxwell for 1 million dollars, the team that bought the most expensive player in an auction has never won the IPL title the same year.
But first, a caveat. We have not looked at ‘icon players’ or retained players, only the players who came up for auction each year.
IPL saga: Big expense, low return
Now, let’s look at the records. In the very first auction, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the most expensive player and his team Chennai Super Kings finished as the tournament’s runner-up.
In 2009, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen they were the most expensive players as both fetched 1.55 million dollars each – even higher than Dhoni who had been sold for 1.5 million dollars. Flintoff’s CSK lost in the semis while Pietersen’s Royal Challengers Bangalore was that year’s runner-up.
In 2010, Shane Bond and Kieron Pollard were the most expensive players but Bond’s Kolkata Knight Riders ended the season in 6th place on the points table while Pollard’s Mumbai Indians were the runner-up.
In 2011, Kolkata Knight Riders paid 2.4 million dollars to buy Gautam Gambhir but their season ended in the final elimination. The team was placed fourth in the final points table.
In 2012, CSK bought Ravindra Jadeja for 2 million dollars and ended as the tournament’s runner-up. The year 2013 was the only exception when a team buying the most expensive player also emerged as the winner. Since 2014 the auction is being done in Indian rupees instead of dollars and Yuvraj Singh was the most expensive buy for both 2014 and 2015 – firstly by RCB and later by Delhi Daredevils. Both teams finished the 7th.
Shane Watson was the most expensive player of 2016 and his team RCB finished as the tournament’s runner-up. In 2017, Ben Stokes was the most expensive player and his team Rising Pune Supergiants was the runner-up.
Most expensive buys of IPL 2023 auction