The dream 11 of IPL 2019

Nearly two months of the Indian Premier League mayhem came to an end with Mumbai Indians clinching their record fourth IPL title beating Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 2019 by one run at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad on Sunday.

As another memorable season of the IPL comes to end, it leaves its fans with ton and tons of memorable matches, performances and controversies. While the epic  final – El Clasico Round 4 – was the peak of the uncertain nature of T20 cricket, the tournament was witness to amazing individual performances with the likes of David Warner, MS Dhoni carrying their team throughout the season and the likes of Alzzari Joseph and Shreyas Gopal enjoying their moment under the spotlight.  

We try and encapsulate all that excitement here and present to you the best XI of IPL 2019:

David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Who doesn’t love a good comeback story; and David Warner epitomised that this season. He was banned from international cricket for a year, missed IPL 2018 and leading up to this season, it was Warner who was the talk of the town and the feisty opener did not disappoint. By the time he left IPL owing to international duties, he had amassed 692 runs at 69.20, striking the ball at 143.86. He was the bedrock of Sunrisers Hyderabad batting unit, and with an able ally in Jonny Bairstow, the duo proved to be the most destructive opening duo this season. The hunger and drive Warner showed on his comeback trail was something out of a Hollywood script and no one deserves a spot in IPL 2019 XI, more than this diminutive 5’5’’ opener. (ALSO READ: The top innings of IPL 2019)

KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab)

Jonny Bairstow could have easily occupied this spot, but India international KL Rahul pips the England allrounder as he finished the season as the second highest run-getter in tournament with 593 runs in 14 matches at an average of 53.90. His strike rate was 135.38 and he scored one hundred and six half-centuries, playing an instrumental role in Kings XI Punjab’s victories this year. Rahul, similar to Warner, was a man on a mission and goal was simple: To present a strong case for India’s no.4 spot in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. And fair to say, Rahul’s name will shine the brightest in that goblet of fire. Rahul was measured in his approach irrespective for whether he was batting first or second. And with Chris Gayle, he formed a formidable pair. But, Rahul was no one-trick pony and shifted gears in accordance to the match situation and remained unbeaten three times – for an opener that’s a fantastic stat to have in a T20 tournament. (ALSO READ: Alzarri Joseph leads the top-five bowling spells)

Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals)

The young lion of Delhi Capitals not only led his team to a windfall season, but he did that leading from the front with the bat. Like Rahul, Iyer too had a lot riding on this IPL with regards to the No.4 spot, and with 463 runs in 16 matches at 30.86 he too should consider this as a very good season. Iyer showed good account of himself when his team was under pressure and put in key performances when it mattered the most. It is never easy to focus and deliver the goods as a batsman when you are a skipper, but with Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly for guidance, Iyer was top notch when it came to captaincy as well. (ALSO READ: The top five catches, headlined by Kieron Pollard’s Perfect Catch of the Season)

Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals)

A debatable inclusion, but the X-factor that this brash Delhi boy carries is quite literally, unmissable. He provided the fans with far too many ‘missed-opportunity’ moments, yet was strong enough to finish the season with 488 runs in 16 matches at 37.53 striking at 162.66. He scored only three fifties in the season, but those three knocks underlined the immense potential the Roorkee-born stumper has. He may not have had  a strong showing with regards to the No.4 spot for the World Cup, but for IPL 2019 he sure was the best No.4. (ALSO READ: From Russell to Pollard, the top 10 cameos)

MS Dhoni [WK/C] (Chennai Super Kings)

This was Dhoni’s best season as a batsman, scoring 416 runs in 15 matches at an whopping average of 83.20 and he single-handedly carried Chennai Super Kings for the majority of the tournament. And if there was any doubt that this 37-year-old is not fit or is too slow or has lost his touch, well he just answered his critics the best way possible. Dhoni’s tactical acumen was on full display as usual and his stump work was immaculate. Yes, he had to miss two games owing to a back problem, and did have some troubles when he batted in the middle for long, but he carried through and was the brightest star for his side.

Hardik Pandya (Mumbai Indians)

This was to be the make or break IPL season for Hardik Pandya. He was not having the best of times  the past six months and coming off an injury layoff as well, it was imperative for Pandya to do well, for his own sake and for his team, Mumbai Indians. And Pandya redeemed himself in grand style, taking over the mantle of the finisher of MI from Kieron Pollard. He bowled with pace and venom whenever he was called upon and managed to pick up wickets as well. But Pandya’s biggest impact came with the bat, especially in the death over, striking the ball at 191.42 throughout the season and averaged 44.66. He scored 402 runs in 16 matches with a best of 91 that came against Kolkata Knight Riders – one of the best knocks of the season.

Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Russellmania did fade away as the tournament progressed, but no one was talked about the way Russell was when he was on song. Russell redefined the term power-hitting with sensational late-order hitting that was hardly believable. The best of the best were not spared when Russell got going and carried Kolkata Knight Riders during the first half of the tournament. Coming in at No.6 or 7 and only twice at No.4, the Jamaican amassed 510 runs to finish the tournament as the fifth highest run-getter at an average of 56.66 and strike rate of 204.81. He was the leading wicket-taker as well for KKR with 11 scalps.

Shreyas Gopal (Rajasthan Royals)

Undoubtedly leg-spinner Gopal was the standout performer for Rajasthan Royals with 20 wickets at an average of 17.35 and economy of 7.22. He took a hat-trick this season against Royal Challengers Bangalore including the scalps of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis and had Kohli and de Villiers number twice this season. But, lack of support from other bowlers did not help the team in maximising the efforts of Gopal in the middle-overs. However, with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the other two accomplished leg-spinners having a forgettable season, Gopal’s performance should be noticed by the Indian selectors.

Imran Tahir (Chennai Super Kings)

He is 40 and doesn’t field that well. It’s a combo that won’t garner much interest in the IPL. not if you are Chennai Super Kings, not if you finish the tournament as the highest wicket-taker. Imran Tahir was Dhoni’s got-to man in the middle-overs and every time he came on to ball Tahir delivered. Most tellingly in the final against MI when he had Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. It did help that Tahir played a majority of his matches at the spin friendly track of MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, but it does take skill to perform, even if the conditions are favourable. He became the spinner with most wickets in a single IPL season and bowled with an economy of 6.69 including two four-wicket hauls

Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals)

Rabada, up until his injury during the fag end of the tournament, was lit as hell. KG was a menace every batsman he bowled at and he was the only bowler who managed to keep Russell quiet in the thrilling Super Over win over Kolkata Knight Riders. Rabada wore the orange cap for most part of the tournament before losing it to his South African teammate Tahir in the final, but with 25 wickets in just 12 matches at an average of 14.72.

Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians)

Jasprit Bumrah had an up and down season but when it mattered the most the best in the world showed why is he called that. With 2/14 in the final against CSK and other stellar performances in pressure moments, he delivered the goods for his team’s fourth title. He picked 19 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 21.52.