Ever since Rohit Sharma took over as the skipper, there has been no stopping the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The team has qualified for the final as many as five times, winning four of them. In fact, in the previous seven seasons, MI have won four times.
Even the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the three-time winner of the IPL, have been unable to stop their surge. Rohit’s men were in all sorts of trouble after managing only 149 in the grand finale against CSK. Then it was the turn of the bowlers to pull things back and help Mumbai win by a solitary run.
Lasith Malinga pinned Shardul Thakur to seal the deal. MI has been a team to beat without a shred of a doubt. Meanwhile, they aren’t invincible and can be challenged if the best of the lot comes together.
In the article, let’s take a look at the best IPL 2019 that can beat Mumbai Indians
David Warner- Sunrisers Hyderabad
It won’t be wrong in saying that David Warner has been the most consistent and dynamic batsmen the IPL has ever been a witness to. Having scored 4706 runs at an average of 43.17, bagging the Orange Cap has been neat and drink for the Australian batsman.
Warner wasn’t a part of IPL 2018 due to the ball-tampering saga, but he managed to re-stamp his authority in the previous edition. This time around for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), he ended with 692 runs in 12 matches at an average of 69.20.
The 32-year-old pummelled the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) bowling with a century. Warner played with a strike-rate of 143.86 and got eight fifties. The left-hander missed out a few games in the end owing to World Cup preparations and that effected SRH’s campaign.
KL Rahul- Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) failed to qualify for the playoffs, both in 2018 and 2019. But there were positives from their stints, one of them was KL Rahul, who was their leading run-scorer in both instances.
Last season was a fruitful one for the youngster as he scored 593 runs in 14 matches at an average of 53.90. Apart from six half-centuries, his maiden IPL ton came versus the Mumbai team. The knock came in a losing cause though as Kieron Pollard’s 31-ball 83 transcended it.
It won’t be an understatement in mentioning that KXIP, led by Ravi Ashwin, depended heavily on the opening stand of Rahul and Chris Gayle. Rahul was a prolific run-scorer because of his versatility. There were instances when Rahul was ready to put his head down and he knew when to press the accelerator.
Virat Kohli- Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli is the current all-time leading run-scorer in the IPL and his numbers speak for him. RCB is one of the teams to not have won the T20 tournament, but there’s no doubt that Virat has been their stalwart. One can question his captaincy prowess, not his batting even in the wildest of dreams.
He was the Challengers’ highest run-getter last time, having scored 464 runs at an average of 33.14. However, the Delhi-born would’ve been disappointed after notching only a couple of fifties. His fifth IPL century against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens would remain etched in the memories for a long time.
In the last few seasons, Virat has batted from the number one to number four slot. He has been able to fine-tune his batting, a quality that has set him apart from the others.
Rishabh Pant- Delhi Capitals
Rishabh Pant has been deemed as brash and outlandish. Amidst all the talks, one can’t deny that the Uttarakhand-born is hard to restrict when in full flow. On a number of times, he has dragged Delhi Capitals (DC) out of precarious positions. The southpaw was one of the major reasons why the team managed to go beyond the league stage.
In 16 games, Pant scored 488 runs at an average of 37.53. He smacked those runs at a strike-rate in excess of 160, showing his belligerence. In the Capitals’ first game versus the Mumbai franchise, Pant broke MS Dhoni’s record of the fastest IPL fifty, scoring the same off 18 balls.
He ended with a 27-ball 78 that set the tone for him for the rest of the season. Albeit Pant is yet to find his feet in Team India, it will be hard to leave him out from an IPL team.
MS Dhoni (C & WK)- Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni knows the art of soaking in extreme pressure even at the fag end of his career, the reason why he is deemed as one of the best in the business. The Jharkhand-born has led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to three IPL championships. It goes without saying that the franchise will find it tough to replace him whenever he bids adieu.
In 190 matches, Dhoni has 4432 runs at an average of 42.20. CSK’s batting was a tad on the inconsistent side last time, but Dhoni didn’t flatter to deceive. The veteran scored 416 runs in 15 matches at a super-human average of 83.20 to go with three half-centuries.
His 48-ball 84 versus RCB came in a losing cause at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium .Though he has found it tough to captain versus MI, there’s very few, who can match his skills as a leader.
Andre Russell- Kolkata Knight Riders
Cricket isn’t a one-man show and needs teamwork for success. But a certain Andre Russell pulled off single-handed efforts for KKR a plethora of times in IPL 2019. Despite being in superlative ball-striking form, it was baffling to find him batting in the lower middle-order.
Only in the last few games, the hulk-like Jamaican came up the order, but by then the damage had already been done. Dre-Russ muscled 52 sixes and racked up 510 runs in 14 encounters at an average of 56.66. Russell scored those runs at a strike-rate of 204.81, neutralizing the best of bowling attacks.
Even his mis-hits sailed over the ropes. The Knights pinned their hopes on him with the ball as well. He was their highest wicket-taker with 11 wickets. His top score of 80* against Mumbai at the Eden Gardens.
Ravindra Jadeja- Chennai Super Kings
Ravindra Jadeja’s numbers may not be flashy as some of the others. But the utility he brought to the fore worked wonders for the Super Kings. Among the regular CSK bowlers, the left-arm spinner was the most frugal with an economy of 6.35 owing to his ability to hit the right channels time and again.
In 16 encounters, Jadeja got 15 wickets. With the bat, he didn’t quite get ample opportunities. However, in the limited chances, Jadeja scored 106 runs at an average of 35.33. The Saurashtra cricketer showed nerves of steel in the game against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Jaipur where CSK needed 18 runs off the last over.
Jadeja hit Ben Stokes down the ground for a six, not being able to keep his balance and eventually falling down. As a fielder, the 30-year-old was exceptional, taking nine catches and saving some valuable runs in the outfield.
Kagiso Rabada- Delhi Capitals
Kagiso Rabada could well have ended as the Purple Cap holder in the previous IPL had he played only one more match if not more. In 12 matches, the South African speedster piled up 25 wickets at a strike-rate of 11.2. An economy of 7.82, keeping in mind that he bowls in the powerplay and at the death, aren’t meek numbers by any means.
The pacer ran in and it paid dividends without a doubt. His best figures of 4/12 came versus Kohli’s Challengers at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. He also got support in bits and pieces from the other bowlers.
Rabada bowled the famous Super Over against the Knights at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Russell hammered him to start the one-over eliminator. Thereafter, Rabada came back and rattled Dre-Russ’ woodwork, and won the game for the Capitals.
Shreyas Gopal- Rajasthan Royals
For the Royals, the focus was on Jofra Archer in the bowling department due to sheer ability to generate pace. In the end, it was Shreyas Gopal, who turned out to be their standout performer in that department.
In 14 matches, the Karnataka leg-spinner bagged 20 wickets and was the leading wicket-taker for the Royals. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite get adequate support from the others. Gopal bowled at an economy of 7.22 and a strike-rate of 14.4, thereby putting a lid on the run-scoring.
The spinner got his best figures of 3/12 against the Challengers and it helped RR to their maiden victory last season. Against the same opponent, Gopal got a hat-trick, getting the wickets of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis. The game was eventually called off due to persistent rain.
Imran Tahir- Chennai Super Kings
Imran Tahir was the Purple Cap holder in the last IPL edition as he finished with 26 wickets from 17 matches. Therefore, it shouldn’t raise eyebrows that he was Dhoni’s go-to-man. The leg-spinner had the skills to churn out wickets at any stage of a game and that made him a deadly prospect.
The Lahore-born tweaker had an economy of 6.69 and hardly allowed the batters to get under his skin. He isn’t getting any younger, but the energy he displays in the middle can give anyone a run for money. His best figures of 4/12 came against the Capitals in Chennai.
In that match, the hosts bowled Shreyas Iyer and Co out for 99 while defending 179. He changed his pace and strategized effectively to get his wickets. Tahir is now over 40 and CSK will still love to use him as a weapon.
Khaleel Ahmed- Sunrisers Hyderabad
Khaleel Ahmed didn’t play the first few games due to an injury. But once he started playing, he was amongst the wickets right away. Khaleel played only nine matches, yet was the fifth highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 19 wickets.
He was a bit expensive with an economy of 8.23 and that’s understandable as he mostly bowled at stages when the batters threw the kitchen sink at everything. The left-arm seamer bowled at a strike-rate of 11, the third best in the T20 extravaganza after Alzarri Joseph and Ish Sodhi.
Khaleel’s injection into the attack, boosted the SRH bowling, which leaked a few runs in the previous season, much to the surprise of many. The left-armer’s best figures of 3/13 came against the Capitals in Hyderabad. It wasn’t in a winning cause as the hosts lost by 39 runs.
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