Indian Premier League

#VIVOIPL 2019 : David Warner’s Spectacular Return And Andre Russell’s Brute Power Leave Telling Impact

Another season of the Indian Premier League has ended . And in the end it was the Mumbai Indians who won the title for the record fourth time – 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 . Captained astutely by Rohit Sharma and a well- balanced outfit , the team finished as deserving winners. What mattered for them most is their players rose to the occasion when it wanted them .


Quinton De Kock was brilliant with the bat at the top . And made up for rather below par showing from Rohit Sharma. Hardik Pandya played some blistering cameos to propel the innings many a time. Kieron Pollard too stood  up when it demanded. The bowling looked penetrative . Jasprit Bumrah proved why is one of the best in business in all formats, well supported by Hardik Pandya, Lasith Malinga ( not in is prime but managed to prove his huge experience, hero of the last ball final finish)  spinner Rahul Chahar impressed as well.   Warming the bench after some matches in the beginning it seems that it is end of the IPL career  for Yuvraj Singh It seems unlikely he will feature next year.

Runners- up Chennai Super Kings did not have the best of the tournament but somehow managed to find their ways to win and reach the final again. The 1 run final loss was heart- breaking. It was so near yet- so far. But a close look would suggest many  weaknesses – Suresh Raina despite a an impressive IPL record over the years was not consistent enough. At number 3 he wasted many balls and found hard runs to come by. Kedar Jadhav , Ambati Rayudu too did not shine. Shane Watson struggled the most part but barring the fifty in the second qualifier, 96 in league game and 80 in the final had a rather quiet tournament.

Faf Du Plessis made most of the chance by playing  some top innings while opening the batting. Dwayne Bravo’s heroics with the bat were few . Same with Ravindra Jadeja . It meant that all the pressure on captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni, The best finisher tag is still in-tact , MSD played some blistering knocks and took the team home . But their strategy of slow start and power towards the end has not found support from some critics. The team needs to re- look at this next year.

The high for Chennai was their bowling with Imran Tahir  leading the way. He was simply superb with his spin and showed that at age 40 one can do wonders in T20 game with aplomb. Deepak Chahar too bowled well. Harbhajan Singh rolled back years with his guile and variation. Ravindra Jadeja bowled some tight spells and took vital wickets.  The ageing side of the tournament needs a rejig next year surely .

If there was team that made a mark this season , it was the Delhi Capitals. The mixture of youth and experience was perfect. Head coach Ricky Ponting should be pleased with the effort . Shreyas Iyer captained the team well. Shikhar Dhawan’s return had bolstered the team’s batting at the top along with young Prithvi Shaw.   There was the X- factor – Rishabh Pant, who played some sensational knocks but was terribly unlucky not to be picked for the World Cup 2019 squad. That left many players like greats Ricky Ponting , Sourav Ganguly stunned and shocked.  Their bowling was easily the best in the competition – Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma were outstanding, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra handled the spin department well.  DC left an impact and has the ability to all the way next year.

Two time champions Kolkata Knight Riders last year under Dinesh Karthik played great cricket, but this time after a bright start faltered miserably to crash out. Form of several Players Robin Uthappa, skipper Karthik, Sunil Narine came under the scanner. Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill gave them some cheer. Had it not been for Andre Russell and his brute power with the bat on numerous occasions the team would not have won matches as it won this time. Russell was devastating with the bat. The Jamaican with those power forearms, biceps and shoulders left a massive impact in the tournament.

Apart from  Andre Russell, Aussie opener David warner returning to IPL after a year ban proved why is one of the most feared batsman in the game. He was the star for Sunrisers Hyderabad . Warner was brilliant at the top  with Englishman Jonny Bairstow ( in his debut impressed with his clean hitting)  formed a cracker of a opening partnership. SRH this time unfortunately lacked the consistency to do well. Skipper Kane Williamson did not fire. Stand in skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar was clueless when it came to captaincy. His bowling too was not sharp and went for lot of runs. He struggled for wickets, Rashid Khan, superstar, shone again chipping in with economical spells. Khaleel Ahmed bowled with fire when  chance came. Vijay Shankar touted as a 3 D player and picked for World Cup did not have much to show. Losing close games, slump in form and ill- thought captaincy coast SRH dearly.

Kings XI Punjab skippered by Ravichandran Ashwin, the team  repeated what it did last year. Start with a promise to only flop later . Chris Gayle , Mayank Agarwal, K L Rahul did give them good moments with the bat. While Sam Curran, Mohammed Shami  excelled with the ball. Ravichandran Ashwin found himself in massive controversy after he did mankad to Jos Buttler of Rajasthan Royals during an encounter. Ashwin too looked a different persona this time around – he was animated, expressive, aggressive and demonstrative . He could not control his emotions.

Like the kings, The Rajasthan Royals too flopped. Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson ,Jofra Archer , Spinner Shreyas Gopal were brilliant . But a combined  effort was missing. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, ot of team India, was clearly not at his fluent best. Barring one hundred his batting and captaincy was ordinary. Even the   change of leadership to Steve Smith came too late, by the time the damage was done. All – rounder ben Stokes once again failed to fire . Royals bowling barring Gopal lacked fire- power. Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaidev Unadkat ( struggled to get wickets and went for plenty of runs ) meant their poor bowling was exposed . Add to that the Stokes failure. Royals need a major surgery to make an impact next year.

Finishing yet again last was the high profile – Royal Challengers Bangalore . Skippered by Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, despite having big names failed to click . With six losses at the start their campaign was as good as over. They won some matches towards the end  but that did not help . Kohli did not have  a big tournament like he normally does. A B De Villiers looked rusty after International retirement. Moeen Ali , showcased why he is  a X factor for England with some lovely cameos. Marcus Stoinis had a reputation but could not deliver.  Yuzvendra Chahal did bowl well , But he death bowling of RCB was the worst . Umesh Yadav struggled for wickets, Navdeep Saini bowled with pace but was costly . It hurt RCB right through. They need to look at the players auction next time to fine tune their side into a balanced one. Till then Virat Kolhi will have to wait for an IPL title.

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