IPL 2019: Team of the league stage; MS Dhoni, Andre Russell make it, Rishabh Pant misses out
After 56 matches and 44 days, we finally have the top four sides in the Indian Premier League. Such has been the intensity of the matches this season that Royal Challengers Bangalore, ranked eighth on the points table, finished with 11 points, while Sunrisers Hyderabad, which sneaked through to the playoffs, ended with 12 points.
It was a league stage dominated by top order batsmen, wrist spinners, and power hitters. We take a look at the best side from the league stage:
The Australian was like a machine, like a man on a mission and he absolutely took off. 692 runs in 12 matches at an average of 69.20 and with a strike rate of 143.86, ensured that SRH have a healthy NRR which helped them make it to the top four.
593 runs in 14 matches and KL Rahul looked in sublime form right through the season. Although KXIP could not make it to the playoffs, Rahul’s strokeful brilliance in the middle was surely a joy to behold.
Coming in at number 3 is Shreyas Iyer, the Delhi Capitals skipper, who was consistent and showed that the extra responsibility of captaincy sits perfectly with him. 442 runs in 14 matches at an average of 34 and with a strike rate of 123.46 ensured that Delhi Capitals did not lose momentum. Iyer’s effort showed that the role of the sheet anchor exists even in T20 cricket.
AB de Villiers
Despite another bleak campaign for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ab de Villiers proved once again why he is one of the best in the business. 442 runs in 13 matches at a strike rate of 154 and average of 44.20 ensured AB stamped his class all over the league once again.
He sauntered out to the middle, took guard and obliterated bowling attacks. It was a season when Andre Russell redefined power hitting and was extremely consistent while at it. 510 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 204.81 and an average of 56.66 made him one of the most feared batsmen of the league this year.
Chennai Super Kings were far from a perfect team, but then there was MS Dhoni, taking control of his side and plastering the cracks all through the season. 368 runs in nine innings at an average of 122.66 and with a strike rate of 139.92 reminded everyone that the seasoned campaigner is alive and kicking.
Much like Andre Russell, Hardik Pandya too was an absolute revelation with his clean hitting and consistent game-defining knocks. 380 runs were smoked by Hardik in 14 games with a strike rate of 198.95 and at an average of 47.50. We don’t need to remind anyone of his skills as a medium pacer.
The leg-spinner from Rajasthan Royals was the pick of the spinners this season and it will be no surprise if he walks away with the emerging player of the season award this year. He was absolutely brilliant with his leg-spin and googlies and picked up 20 wickets in 14 matches at an economy rate of 7.22. Also, throw in a hat-trick and it was a season to remember for young Gopal.
The young quick from South Africa was in rollicking form for Delhi Capitals. He had pace, accuracy and presence and screamed away to 25 wickets in 12 innings at an economy rate of 7.82. At the end of the league stage, he proudly wears the purple cap.
The ever-reliable Imran Tahir was MS Dhoni’s X-factor, especially on the slow, sluggish tracks of Chennai. 21 wickets in 14 matches at an economy rate of 6.50 made Tahir an absolute match-winner.
Bumrah edges out Mohammed Shami primarily because of the economy rate. While Shami took 19 wickets in 14 games, Bumrah managed to grab 17 wickets in 14 games. However, Bumrah was frugal as his economy rate of 6.78 was much better than Shami’s 8.68.