After two months of pulsating T20 action, cricket fans have exactly two weeks to get their breath back before the ODI World Cup begins. Though the shortest cricketing format might not be the best criteria to judge ODI form, with the Indian T20 League being the last real competitive tournament of white-ball cricket, players’ overall form can still be relatively judged before they take the field in England and Wales. As we wrap up the T20 season and move on to the biggest cricketing extravaganza in the world, let’s have look back at the past two months and relive the magic that had the world at the edge of their seats.
2019 began amid concerns of ‘workload management’ and worries around the amount players would want to invest with a World Cup around the corner. But after over 51 days and 60 matches, all the skepticism was quashed, and the bar was raised higher.
Only one other season could better the six-hitting count of season 12 (785). Only one other season had seen two Super Overs contested in the same campaign. Never before had a batsman maintained a strike rate above 190 while hitting more than 350 runs in a season — this year, that peak was scaled by two men. Those two — Andre Russell and Hardik Pandya — were two of the top-most draws of the edition that has just passed us by, but they weren’t alone.
Eight teams, 59 matches, 18,292 runs, 627 wickets, 769 sixes and a shade under 50 days of high octane cricket, and, when the dust settled, 2019 narrowed down to the most expected two-horse tussle. Two seasoned, successful horses with six titles and 13 final appearances between them [eight for Chennai, 5 for Mumbai]. The two best teams of 2019, heck, the two best teams in League history faced off for the fourth time this season. And, this time the stakes were the highest! The El Clásico of all El Clásicos! Both searching for a 4th title in their 4th finals meeting. Finally, Mumbai were crowned the Champions of 2019, successfully defending a 150-run target.to defeat Chennai by 1 run to win an unprecedented fourth League title.
FINAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
BEST & WORST XI OF 2019
Courtesy – FirstPost
Here is the best assembled to resemble the closest-to-perfect team balance keeping in mind the T20 game as it showed itself over the course of this Indian summer
1. David Warner (Hyderabad)
Matches 12 | Runs 692 | Average 69.20 | Strike Rate 143.86 | 50s 9 | Best 100*
2. Jonny Bairstow (Hyderabad)
Matches 10 | Runs 445 | Average 55.62 | Strike Rate 157.24 | 50s 3 | Best 114 | Dismissals 11
3. KL Rahul (Punjab)
Matches 14 | Runs 593 | Average 53.90 | Strike Rate 135.38 | 50s 7 | Best 100*
4. Rishabh Pant (Delhi)
Matches 16 | Runs 488 | Average 37.53 | Strike Rate 162.66 | 50s 3 | Best 78* | Dismissals 24
5. MS Dhoni [C/WK] (Chennai)
Matches 15 | Runs 416 | Average 83.20 | Strike Rate 134.62 | 50s 3 | Best 84* | Dismissals 16
6. Andre Russell (Kolkata)
Matches 14 | Runs 510 | Strike Rate 204.81 | 50s 4 | Wickets 11 | Economy 9.51
7. Hardik Pandya (Mumbai)
Matches 16 | Runs 402 | Average 44.66 | Strike Rate 191.42 | Wickets 14 | Economy 9.17
8. Shreyas Gopal (Rajasthan)
Matches 14 | Wickets 21 | Economy 7.22 | Average 17.35 | Strike Rate 14.4 | Best 3/12
9. Imran Tahir (Chennai)
Matches 17 | Wickets 26 | Economy 6.69 | Average 16.57 | Strike Rate 14.84 | Best 4/12
10. Kagiso Rabada (Delhi)
Matches 12 | Wickets 25 | Economy 7.82 | Average 14.72 | Strike Rate 11.2 | Best 4/21
11. Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai)
Matches 16 | Wickets 19 | Economy 6.63 | Average 21.52 | Strike Rate 19.5 | Best 3/20
Without meaning any disrespect to any of the fallen stars, here is a compilation of a ‘flop’ XI from 2019
1. Ambati Rayudu (Chennai)
Matches 17 | Runs 282 | Average 23.50 | Strike Rate 93.06 | 50s 1 | Best 57
2. Robin Uthappa (Kolkata)
Matches 12 | Runs 282 | Average 31.33 | Strike Rate 115.10 | 50s 1 | Best 67*
3. Vijay Shankar (Hyderabad)
Matches 15 | Runs 244 | Strike Rate 126.42 | 50s 0 | Wickets 1 | Economy 8.75
4. Dinesh Karthik [C/WK] (Kolkata)
Matches 14 | Runs 253 | Average 31.62 | Strike Rate 146.24 | 50s 2 | Dismissals 7
5. Ben Stokes (Rajasthan)
Matches 9 | Runs 123 | Strike Rate 124.24 | 50s 0 | Wickets 6 | Economy 11.22
6. Yusuf Pathan (Hyderabad)
Matches 10 | Innings 8 | Runs 40 | Average 13.33 | Strike Rate 88.88 | Best 16*
7. Krishnappa Gowtham (Rajasthan)
Matches 7 | Innings 4 | Runs 18 | Strike Rate 94.73 | Wickets 1 | Economy 8.30
8. Jaydev Unadkat (Rajasthan)
Matches 11 | Wickets 10 | Economy 10.66 | Average 39.80 | Strike Rate 22.4 | Best 2/26
9. Andrew Tye (Punjab)
Matches 6 | Wickets 3 | Economy 10.59 | Average 77.66 | Strike Rate 44.0 | Best 1/37
10. Mujeeb ur Rahman (Punjab)
Matches 5 | Wickets 3 | Economy 10.06 | Average 63.66 | Strike Rate 38.0 | Best 2/31
11. Kuldeep Yadav (Kolkata)
Matches 9 | Wickets 4 | Economy 8.66 | Average 71.50 | Strike Rate 49.5 | Best 2/41
2019 was a summer of many firsts! Least of which was Captain Cool MS Dhoni losing his cool in full public view. MSD shocked the cricket fraternity with his public outrage in Jaipur and many wondered if the pressure of high octane T20 cricket had started to affect him. So what were the other firsts this season?
13 Instances of team’s fielding less than the maximum allowed four overseas players in the playing XI in this season – the most for any League edition, more than the double of six instances in 2017 which is the next most. In two matches both sides fielded less than four foreign players in the final XI – there was just a solitary such instance in the 11 previous years.
11 Points earned by Bangalore who finished at the bottom of the points table, which happens to be the highest ever for a wooden spoon holder in any edition of the League. Only seven points separated the league topper and the bottom-placed team which is the narrowest margin for any season. 12 out of the 60 matches (20%) were decided by slim margins making it one of the closest ever fought – by ten or fewer runs or won by the chasing side in the last over with required runs at the start of the over eight or above.
32 Total number of changes made by Punjab to the playing XI from the previous match – the most by any side in 2019. Punjab’s inconsistency in selection is further underlined by the fact they never played an unchanged XI in two successive games.
12 Teenagers featured in 2019 – the second most in any season barring the inaugural edition in 2008. The 12 players combined featured in 72 matches which is the third most in a season behind 94 and 88 matches in 2008 and 2018 respectively. Bangalore spinner Prayas Ray Barman (16y 157d) became the youngest League cap while Rajasthan’s Riyan Parag became the youngest to score a fifty. Prithvi Shaw narrowly missed becoming the youngest centurion when he wast dismissed for 99 against Kolkata in Delhi.
13 Instances of team scoring 50-plus runs in the last three overs of an innings – the most in any season. Just to bring in perspective, there were as many instances in the last three seasons combined. No team ever previously scored as many in the last three overs in a successful chase but happened twice this season – Kolkata scoring 54 in 2.4 overs against Hyderabad and 53 in 2.1 against Bangalore, Andre Russell the chief protagonist in both heists.
9.34 More balls taken by Chennai for hitting a six in 2019 compared to the last season – a six every 13 balls last year to one every 22 balls this time around. Chennai took a different route to the finals this season – from being the best batting side last year they were the best bowling side in this edition.
5 This was the fifth season in which David Warner aggregated over 500 runs – the joint-most by any player alongside Virat Kohli and only player to do so in successive years (he didn’t play the 2018 season). He also went past Chris Gayle to become the leading run-getter among overseas players in the league – 4706 runs. He won the third Orange Cap award (leading run-getter in a season) surpassing Chris Gayle’s two.
50.09% The percentage contribution of partnership runs by Warner and Jonny Bairstow to Hyderabad’s total runs scored in the season (in the matches the duo featured) – highest for any pair with at least five partnerships in a season. The duo became the first in the history of the League to score three consecutive 100-plus stands, which they achieved it in their first three matches together.
4.79 Balls taken by Andre Russell to hit a six – the best ratio in a season for any batsman who faced a minimum of 100 balls. Russell cleared the ropes 52 times in the season which is the second most by a player in a League season, only behind Chris Gayle’s 59 maximums in 2012.
204.82 The strike rate for Russell in 2019 – the highest ever for a player facing at least 100 balls in a season – eclipsing his own record of 192.90 in 2015. At the other end of the spectrum is Ambati Rayudu who had a strike rate of 93.07 – the fewest among the 144 players facing at least 300 balls in an edition of the tournament.
263 Wickets taken by spinners this season – the second most in a single edition after 266 wickets from 13 more matches in 2011. Spinners accounted for 41% of the total wickets taken by the bowlers – a far cry from 2008 when it read 22% and fears loomed around whether the format would lead to the destruction of the ilk. For the fourth successive year, the wrist spinners (143) took a higher share of wickets compared to the finger spinners (120).
62 Wickets taken by Chennai’s spinners in this season – the most ever by spinners of a team in a single edition of the League. Imran Tahir tops the list with 26 scalps followed by Harbhajan Singh’s 16 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 15.
56 Wickets taken by Kolkata this season – the fewest ever by any team in any season of the League. They never took more than seven wickets in any of the matches this year. None from Kolkata featured in the top 20 list of leading wicket-takers for the season.
26 Wickets taken by Imran Tahir this season – the highest by a spinner in a single edition surpassing 24 each by Sunil Narine and Harbhajan Singh in 2012 and 2013 respectively. 24 of Tahir’s victims came in the middle overs – the most ever for a bowler between overs seven and 15 in a season.
23.52% The success percentage for DRS referrals (decisions overturned) in 2019 – from 34.52 last year. Out of the 68 decisions referred, only 16 were overturned compared to 29 out of 84 last year. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik and Kane Williamson all had five referrals each as captain with none of the decisions overturned. MS Dhoni was yet again the master of DRS calls getting three decisions overturned out of seven referrals.
HOW DID TEAM INDIA’S WC SQUAD FARE?
Virat Kohli (Matches – 14 Runs – 464 Average – 33.14 50s/100 – 2/1)
Consistent as usual, Kohli didn’t have the best of starts to the tournament but really came into his own in the second half. He smashed a ton against Kolkata to take his side home. Even though Bangalore finished at the bottom of the table, Kohli was one of the star performers for his team. But one thing which teams might take note of is Kohli’s weakness against quality spin bowling which was exploited by the likes of Imran Tahir and Shreyas Gopal. Indian fans though wouldn’t be worried too much as well all know that when in blue, Kohli is a totally different player and one who will be looking to make it count in his first World Cup as captain.
Rohit Sharma (Matches – 15 Runs – 405 Average – 28.92 50s – 2)
Rohit had a rather odd-season to say the least. Despite performing better than the previous two seasons, he lacked a match-winning performance, something which we have associated with him for so long in white-ball cricket. He opened the innings in all the matches to prepare for the World Cup and certainly formed a lethal partnership along with Quinton de Kock. He had only two half-centuries to his name in the tournament but the performances around him were enough to take Mumbai to yet another trophy. His captaincy was top notch once again and was one of the key reasons behind Mumbai’s success. He will be looking to rediscover his ability of scoring big once the World Cup begins.
Shikhar Dhawan (Matches – 16 Runs – 521 Average – 34.73 50s – 5)
Dhawan was traded to Delhi before the start of the season and the experienced opener played his part in taking the team to the playoffs for the first time in eight years. He was one of the few seasoned campaigners in an otherwise young team and that showed. The left-hander also registered his highest T20 score by smashing an unbeaten 97 against Kolkata. Interestingly, he didn’t start well with his scoring rate coming under the radar, but ever since Ponting’s jibe in the media where he said he expected more from Dhawan, the southpaw simply raised his game a level and was back to the Dhawan of old. He will be backing himself to succeed in England, where he has a good record in multi-lateral tournaments.
KL Rahul (Matches – 14 Runs – 593 Average – 42.06 50s/100 – 6/1)
Rahul’s form will certainly be good news for the Indian team management. Even though he opened the innings for Punjab, the composure and temperament he showed might well encourage India to slot him at no.4 in the World Cup playing XI. Though selectors said that Vijay Shankar will be India’s no.4, Rahul offers a more solid batting option. He played a key role in the six wins Punjab had in the season and showed that if he can get going, he will surely be a match-winner for India. The pitches in England will also suit his strokeplay.
Kedar Jadhav (Matches – 14 Runs – 162 Average – 18.00 50s – 1)
Jadhav has been a major letdown in this season. Expected to be the mainstay for the Chennai middle-order, the right hander scored just one half-century and aggregated only 162 runs. Even though the pitch in Chennai was a bit on the slow side and it was difficult for any new batsman coming in, the fact that their top-order was out of form meant Jadhav had time to play himself in, which he couldn’t. He scored 58 against Mumbai at Wankhede but even that came in a losing cause. The fact that Dhoni didn’t decide to use his bowling didn’t help either. He hurt his shoulder in the last group game but is expected to be fit before the World Cup.
MS Dhoni (Matches – 15 Runs – 416 Average – 83.20 50s – 3)
The ‘Thala’ of Chennai once again showed why he is such a vital cog in the yellow army machine which keeps on surprising everyone. He was the highest run-scorer for the team and did the job consistently with the bat. Despite the top-order being woefully out of form, Chennai ensured a top-two finish in the league and managed to reach the finals, largely thanks to Dhoni. He was safe as a house behind the stumps and his tactical acumen as a captain was second to none. Kohli will once again be relying on ‘Captain Cool’ to get the team out of tough situations with the bat and also use his mind in the field.
Hardik Pandya (Matches – 16 Runs – 402 Average – 44.86 50s – 1 Wickets – 14)
Pandya had been under the pump and was making a comeback after being suspended for reasons already well documented. However, the all-rounder showed why he is so vital to Kohli’s plans for lifting the World Cup. Pandya had his best season with the bat, registering his highest aggregate and highest strike rate in a season. He also scored a 17-ball half-century and was striking the ball excellently against both pace as well as spin. He was “in the zone” as they say and almost anything he tried came off. He also picked wickets but was a bit expensive and had the tendency to leak boundaries; that is something he would like to correct going into the World Cup.
Ravindra Jadeja (Matches – 16 Runs – 106 Average – 35.33 Wickets -15)
Jadeja has been included in the World Cup squad over an extra pacer and he showed why this season. It’s the control which he offers along with the accuracy. Playing on spin friendly tracks in Chennai helped him, but he is likely to play a role in the latter half of the World Cup when the pitches will be a bit more tired. He can go through his overs quickly and can be difficult to get away for batsmen. Though his batting prowess wasn’t on display for Chennai, it wasn’t required on most occasions.
Dinesh Karthik (Matches – 14 Runs – 253 Average – 31.62 50s – 2)
Karthik too had a rather ordinary season, amongst his worst with the bat actually. He did smash an unbeaten 97 at Eden Gardens but even that came in a losing cause. What makes it worse is the fact that Eden Gardens was one of the best pitches to bat on. The added responsibility of captaincy didn’t really help either with constant rumours of there being a tiff in the dressing room. He will be hoping to put it all well and truly behind him as he prepares for the World Cup.
Vijay Shankar (Matches – 15 Runs – 244 Average – 20.33)
Shankar was yet another player who had a disappointing outing this year. Traded to Hyderabad, this was expected to be the season when he would take the tournament by storm, considering his ODI and Test call-ups. He would play a couple of good shots but end up throwing his wicket away. He wasn’t called onto bowl as well, delivering a total of 48 balls in the tournament and picking only one wicket. He could well have hurt his chances of making it to the playing XI in the World Cup with such returns.
Kuldeep Yadav (Matches – 9 Wickets – 4 Average – 71.50 Economy – 8.66)
Well, all that could go wrong did go wrong for Kuldeep this year. A Flat pitch and small dimensions at the Eden Gardens didn’t help and he was taken to the cleaners in almost every game he played. Only against Delhi at Kotla did he show glimpses of his earlier self as he pulled back the game to take it to a superover but otherwise he looked a shadow of a player he is. In fact, his last game against Bangalore, saw him in tears and on the ground with his teammates coming to lift his spirits. Kuldeep didn’t play after that and will be hoping to forget this season as he is expected to be India’s trump card with the ball.
Yuzvendra Chahal (Matches – 14 Wickets – 18 Average – 21.44 Economy – 7.82)
Consistent as always for Bangalore, Chahal was an early contender for the Purple Cap. The fact that he continued to be the most impressive Bangalore bowler on a flat track and small ground in Chinnaswamy speaks volumes about the kind of skills he possesses. He was often used in the powerplay by Virat Kohli, and he almost always delivered for his captain. India have often gone for Kuldeep ahead of Chahal whenever they decide to play just one spinner but it will be interesting to see whether that remains the case now, given the kind of season both these players have had.
Jasprit Bumrah (Matches -16 Wickets – 19 Average – 21.52 Economy – 6.63)
The pacer did have an injury scare in the early part of the season but he has once again been sensational for Mumbai. Rohit relied on him to pick wickets and to contain the opposition in the death, a job quite similar to the one he will do for India in the World Cup. He has been accurate with his line and length, being one of the key reasons for another successful season for Mumbai. The way he won the game against Bangalore at Chinnaswamy by getting Kohli out showed how important an asset he is. He was also the star in the final, bowling a sensational 19th over to keep Mumbai in the game. Indian fans will just be hoping that he recovers from the toils of the League in the two-week break and can start afresh in the World Cup
Mohammed Shami – M-14 W-19 A-24.68 E-8.68
Shami has been a transformed bowler in white-ball cricket and he showed that by having his best season with the ball yet. He was the leader of the attack in an inexperienced Punjab bowling line-up along with Ravichandran Ashwin. Effective at the death and in the powerplay, Shami picked up wickets at the right moment for Punjab. His form might see him pip Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a spot in the playing XI in the World Cup if India decides to play two fast bowlers with Hardik Pandya the third seaming option.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – (Matches – 15 Wickets – 13 Average – 45.46 Economy – 7.81)
Bhuvi struggled to be amongst the wickets in this year’s tournament and that cost his team Hyderabad. He has usually been their go to bowler at the death or whenever the team needs wickets. In fact, he faltered quite a lot in death and wasn’t accurate with his yorkers which proved to be costly. However, an economy of below 8 is praiseworthy. He also led the team in Kane Williamson’s absence and that could well have had a detrimental effect on his own performance. He will back himself to deliver in the World Cup though as conditions in England will suit his bowling style.
SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACT
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli reign supreme on Twitter while Chennai were the most-talked-about team 2019. Mumbai led the battle of mentions during the tense final.
While Virat Kohli’s Bangalore finished with a wooden spoon, the India captain was among the top-three most-talked-about players during the 12th edition of the T20 league, finishing behind Chennai captain MS Dhoni, who reigned supreme in the list of most-talked-about players. Title-winning Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma completed the top 3 in the data provided by Twitter India.
Helping raise a few eyebrows, Chennai off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was more popular than big-hitting Kolkata superstar Andre Russell who took the league by storm, hitting 52 sixes in just 14 matches. Hardik Pandya, Chris Gayle, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant and David Warner also made the top 10 and in that order.
Unsurprisingly, the most-tweeted-about match was the final between Mumbai and Chennai in Hyderabad.
When it comes to the most-talked-about team during, runners-up Chennai, led by MS Dhoni, took the honours. Mumbai were second on the list while Bangalore and Kolkata also made the top 4 even as they finished outside the top 4 in the 2019 points table.
The Golden Tweet was this from Mumbai’s Hardik Pandya acknowledging MS Dhoni as his friend and source of inspiration. Dhoni and Pandya played each other in the final, but this Tweet shows the strong sportsmanship between opposing League sides. The Tweet received nearly 16,000 Retweets.
As expected, it was a summer of some breathtaking action, and some extraordinary individual performances lit the stage to quell any murmurs of a ‘low-key’ season in the build-up to the ICC World Cup.
From Andre Russell’s mad-max hitting to Hardik Pandya’s sensational all-round campaign, and from Kagiso Rabada’s supreme skill with the ball to David Warner’s rousing return to the top – 2019 was graced by some unforgettable heroics.
But for some, the season will fade away as a memory to forget as soon as possible. Even the best fall down sometimes, and for a select group of players, the season gone by was a huge leveller.
Until next time, from all of us at Super 8, see you on the other side folks! 👋👋👋👋👋