56 games played. Three teams separated by NRR to decide top three and three teams separated by NRR to decide the fourth playoff spot. And five team separated by one point, the closest the IPL had ever been competed with the final spot undecided even after 55 games were played in the tournament.
So, Chennai Super Kings make their way to play-offs for the tenth time, in as many seasons they were part of. Delhi Capitals, after rechristened, make it to the play-offs for the first time since 2012. Continuation of pattern for Mumbai Indians to be back on the top after 2013, 2015 and 2017 seasons. Fourth straight year for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
As tight as the competition been this season, so was the performances from each of the eight teams. Some of the magnificent performances made the tournament enjoyable than ever before.
Here is our team of the tournament for IPL 2019:
David Warner: Hands down. The most consistent player of the season and the orange cap winner. With 692 runs in 12 innings, he averages 69.2 at a strike rate of 143.80. 9 fifty-plus scores (1 century and eight half centuries) in 12 innings, he is in the league of his own.
Lokesh Rahul: So many contenders for the second opening slot. Jonny Bairstow, Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle – all of them delivered some of the best performances this season but the most consistent of them all is KL Rahul. With 593 runs and 7 fifty-plus scores, he makes it to the list ahead of others.
AB de Villiers: Probably not the most preferred choice but the 360-degree player’s performance was overshadowed by his teams’ modest record. 442 runs in 13 innings at an average of 44.2 and strike rate of 154, he scored 5 fifties in the season.
Rishabh Pant: He had hot and cold season. The maniac performances to more sublime innings. To the days where he went berserk to win games to the days he let his team down. Rishabh is arguably one of the most exciting talents in the cricketing circles currently. He brought in the X-Factor that Delhi Capitals demanded this season.
M S Dhoni: Who would have thought thala MSD would be so good this season. Many had written him off, even as a limited overs cricketers, the zone his forte. But, every time he steps on field, he had some thing to offer. With those flashy stumpings and being the lead run scorer in the team, the wine just got excellent to marvelous with age.
Hardik Pandya: Whatever sparked the renaissance in Pandya, may be the off-field controversy or the the injury that took sidelined him for a decent period of time. He came back with rage filled all over. Misfields cursed, unnecessary singles screamed, fours scored celebrated, sixes punched and the helicopter shots came and came and came. Hardik of 2019 is a player looking for greater things in career.
Andre Russell: Set the tournament on fire. He is probably the most dangerous T20 player going around. Fire that burnt for long time now. What is the worst possible result with Russell had been the theme of this tournament. He was consistently good and kept himself injury free. Now off to World Cup, back to the home, a year to be remembered for.
Shreyas Gopal: Of all the players in the Rajasthan with all the big bucks thrown around, the spinner from Karnataka was their star performer this season. With 20 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 17.35, he broke the backs of many sides picking up the most crucial wickets of opposition. An economy of 7.22 is not bad either. A hat trick is always special.
Imran Tahir: 21 wickets at an economy of 6.50 and two four-for, he is only second to his Proteas team mate Kagiso Rabada. His celebrations are as joyful as they could get.
Kagiso Rabada: Purple cap winner with 25 wickets in just 12 innings. He is simply outstanding this tournament. He delivered every single time his young team required him to. Average of 14.72 is the best in the tournament. Suffering back niggle, he will not be available for him team when he might be needed the most. A hopeful speedy recovery to make it to the World Cup.
Khaleel Ahmed: A player that was left under the radar of big names. He was excellent for Sunrisers. He played just half the games of the remaining lot but he picked as many wickets as Bumrah. At an average of 15.47 (just after Rabada) and strike rate 11.2 (same as Rabada), he will complete the team of the tournament.
(c) all images and stats to iplt20.com