The recently concluded twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was absolutely a terrific and phenomenal spectacle. Finally, after almost two-months of thrilling battles, the Mumbai Indians (MI) were crowned the champions of the tournament for the record fourth time. The Rohit Sharma-led team eclipsed the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by a run in the nail-biting finale clash to lift the coveted trophy. After all the dramas and anticipations, it is that point of time when the fans and experts start on their analysis work for the season.
Thus as an ardent fan of the game, I take this opportunity to pick the dream playing XI from the recent edition in accordance with the performances and the other key aspects taken into consideration. The same set of rules are followed in choosing this team which are taken care officially in any IPL team- four overseas players and seven Indians.
Here is the best playing XI from the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League:
When it comes to picking the best team of the season, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) opener David Warner surely has to be the obvious choice for one of the opening slots. The tainted Australian batsman was forced to miss the last edition of the IPL due to the tough ball-tampering controversy. But then, he silenced all his critics with a staggering performance on comeback to competitive cricket and it is also a fact that he couldn’t have had a better stage than the IPL to announce his arrival.
The flamboyant southpaw batsman has racked up a staggering tally of 692 runs in 12 games at an amazing average of 69.20which also included a terrific hundred. Although, Warner left midway through the season due to international commitments, but he played an integral role in helping the SRH team win some important games, which also then paved the way for the team’s lucky entry into the playoffs.
There were some big choices for the second opening slot as many openers have done really well for their respective teams, however, there was one stand-out performer who is hard to look beyond and that is KL Rahul. The right-hander while playing for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) amassed a splendid total of 593 runs from 14 games at a great average of 53.91. Rahul scored a staggering century against the Mumbai Indians (MI) at a phenomenal strike-rate, however, it ended in a losing cause.
The two KXIP openers, Rahul and Chris Gayle have been fabulous for the team this season as both of them contributed with some explosive starts on consistent basis. Rahul came into the IPL with a struggling form and some off the field tensions going around but this brilliant performance will surely give him great confidence leading upto the all-important 2019 World Cup.
Although his team ended with the wooden spoon and his numbers also weren’t that extraordinary according to his standards in IPL 2019, but it is difficult to leave out Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli from the best team of the season. In 14 matches played this season, the modern-day icon scored 464 runs with a strike-rate of more than 140 and at an average of 33.14. Kohli blistered a fabulous hundred which also came in a winning effort.
Virat’s form was not at all a concerning point for RCB as well as the Indian team considering the World Cup 2019 not being too far, as along with that century, he also smashed two fifties as well. It was also an evident fact that the Royal Challengers were quite dependant on the heavyweight batting duo of Kohli and AB de Villiers, but still the former did really well contributing with the best of his abilities.
With a huge reputation and a probable World Cup spot up for the grabs, Rishabh Pant entered into IPL 2019 with some great expectations and after the end of the season, he has surely impressed one and all. Although, he failed to seal the dream opportunity of being part of the World Cup team, but Pant took that matter as a challenge to prove the world his worth. While playing for the Delhi Capitals (DC), the swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman racked up a total of 488 runs in 16 matches at a decent average of 37.54.
He blistered all his runs with a great strike-rate of 162.67. Pant played a key role in powering the Delhi Capitals to the playoffs of the IPL for the first time in six years. Only in a few games but still this season, Rishabh Pant finally proved the world that he surely can finish matches successfully.
MS Dhoni (c & wk)
When it comes to choosing the leader and wicket-keeper of the dream team of the season, there is none other than the legendary MS Dhoni. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper had a fantabulous run in the 12th edition of the IPL, composing a superb tally of 416 runs at a phenomenal average of 83.20. MS Dhoni smashed his career-best IPL knock of 84 runs that came off just 48 balls against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
The former Indian captain portrayed to be the lone warrior of CSK’s batting this season as during his absence, the team clearly struggled. If not for Dhoni’s fabulous effort both with the bat and behind the wickets and the brilliant performance from the bowlers, it would have been very difficult for CSK to qualify for the finals of VIVO IPL 2019. Such was his impact and now the fans would definitely want him to continue the fireworks in the upcoming World Cup as well.
The one player who astonished the cricketing world and took the IPL 2019 by a storm has to be Andre Russell. The big-hitting Windies all-rounder blasted a total of 510 runs in 13 innings at an average of more than 50. With an astounding strike-rate of 204.32, Russell clobbered 52 gigantic sixes, a number which is difficult to achieve for even a whole team. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have experienced an Andre Russell-dominated and dependent campaign in IPL 2019.
In almost every next game, the big West Indian has somehow managed to make a match out of nowhere and has also been successful majority of the times. He smacked a total of four half-centuries with a highest score of 80 not out. Along with his terrific batting credentials, Russell also claimed 11 vital scalps with the ball.
This may have not been the best position for him but it was almost impossible to leave somebody like Hardik Pandya while picking the best team of the season. With the damage he has done throughout the tournament, the Mumbai Indians (MI) big-hitter served the world with a perfect recipe of his finishing capabilities that too on a consistent basis. In 15 innings, Hardik blistered a total of 402 runs at an average of 44.67 with a staggering strike-rate of 191.43.
He played many dazzling innings in IPL 2019 but his extraordinary knock of 91 runs off just 34 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was surely one of the greatest innings in the entire history of the IPL. During that knock, Hardik also smashed the fastest fifty of the season which came off just 17 balls. The Indian all-rounder, who is also part of the World Cup team, played a vital role for MI with the ball, picking up 14 wickets at an average of 27.86.
There is a popular saying in the game, Cricket is a young man’s game, and however, 40-year-old Imran Tahir challenged the statement and silenced everyone with a sensational performance in IPL 2019. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) right-arm leg-spinner proved the fact that age is just a number, claiming a stupendous tally of 26 wickets at an amazing average of 16.58. The Proteas leggie ended the season as the highest wicket-taker and after a considerable amount of time period, it was a spinner who grabbed the Purple Cap.
Tahir bamboozled even the best of batsmen with his bagful of variations and played a significant role in helping CSK end the season as the second most successful team. He would also be hoping to continue this brilliant work in the upcoming World Cup, which will be his last ODI tournament in the South African colours.
The most impressive youngster who grabbed the eyeballs in the twelfth edition of IPL was Mumbai Indians (MI) leg-spinner Rahul Chahal. As they say, one man’s loss could prove to be a gain for somebody else. Similar thing happened with Rahul when the first-choice spinner Mayank Markande got injured during one of the league games. This allowed the 19-year-old Rajasthan leggie to make his debut for MI and he straightaway made an impact from the first match.
This forced the team management to award the youngster with a consistent run as the specialist spinner of the side and he never downed the trust. He may have ended the season with 13 wickets to his name but the most important part of his numbers was his economy rate of 6.55. He played most of the games this year on flat pitches and thus, he oozed out the pressure with an excellent contribution to take down all the challenges.
It is often said that on Indian pitches it is very difficult to extract the combination of quick pace and swing, which is somewhat easier in the overseas conditions. But the young South African speedster Kagiso Rabada did actually prove the theory wrong with his outstanding performance this season. In 12 games played this season for the Delhi Capitals (DC), Rabada picked up a total of 25 wickets at an impressive average of 14.72.
He played a vital role for the Delhi-based franchisee both upfront in the powerplay as well as during the death overs stage. It was quite unfortunate that Rabada suffered a heartening end to what has been a remarkable season for him as he was forced to leave midway due to a back niggle. In a bid to attain complete fitness before the start of 2019 World Cup, the fast bowler returned back home to South Africa to obtain further medical assistance.
The one player who played a massive role in Mumbai Indians (MI) success this year was Jasprit Bumrah. The right-arm fast bowler delivered sensational and effective spells both in the powerplay overs as well as during the death. Bumrah finished the season as the most successful bowler of his team, picking up a tally of 19 wickets in 16 games at an average of 21.53.
Even after bowling perhaps the most difficult overs, it is a worth noticing point that the Indian pacer ended his IPL campaign with an economy rate of 6.63. To dish out an example of his staggering performance, Bumrah bowled a brilliant Super Over to restrict the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at a score of just 8 runs in the one-over eliminator. For his efficient figures of 2 for 14, the speedster was adjudged as the Man of the Match in the summit finale clash against CSK.