IPL 2019: Best Overseas XI of the season
IPL 2019 was special in many ways. For starters, this was the first time the tournament was scheduled ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup. The scheduling meant certain teams not allowing certain players to participate, some players pulling out themselves to stay fit and fresh, and some other teams calling their players early for preparations.
All of this meant the IPL was without stars such as Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch. Other stalwarts like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Steven Smith and Jofra Archer left towards the later stages of the tournament for national duties.
However, despite all these factors, IPL 2019 will go down as one of the most closely contested seasons ever. Moreover, there was no shortage of entertainment from the available overseas stars. In fact, both the Orange Cap and the Purple Cap were won by foreigners - David Warner and Imran Tahir respectively.
Here, we look at the best overseas XI from the season:
Openers: David Warner (c) , Jonny Bairstow
David Warner has undoubtedly been the best overseas batsman in the history of the IPL. Not only that, he has also been one of the best batsmen in the league ever since he has donned the SRH jersey.
For SRH, Warner has scored 500-plus runs every season he has played. This season he became the only player to win the Orange Cap thrice, with 692 runs from 12 games at an average of 69.20 and strike rate of 143.86.
His successful stint included a scintillating hundred against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and 8 fifty plus scores in the other 11 games. Warner is also the captain of this side, having won the title as skipper in 2016.
Warner's opening partner Jonny Bairstow wreaked havoc in his debut IPL season. The pair stitched together as many as four century stands. Their success meant SRH were the team with least wickets lost in the powerplays.
Bairstow had to leave for national duties midway through the tournament. But by then, he had already smashed 445 runs from 10 games at an average of 55.62 and strike rate of 157.24. His century against RCB was accompanied by two fifty plus scores.
Middle Order: Quinton de Kock (wk), AB De Villiers, Kieron Pollard
Trading in Quinton de Kock from RCB proved to be a masterstroke for MI as the South African wicket-keeper finished third in the race for the Orange Cap.
De Kock was exceptional with the gloves and managed to provide good starts on a consistent basis. His 529 runs came at an average of 35.26 and strike rate of 132.91. With 4 fifties and a highest score of 81, De Kock is the wicket-keeper for the team.
AB De Villiers did not have a great season by his standards, but he did manage to win a few matches on his own. Also, not many foreigners did well in the middle order this year as the likes of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Colin Ingram and David Miller were not up to the mark.
De Villiers finished with 442 runs from 13 games at an average of 44.20 and strike rate of 154, with four fifties under his belt.
Kieron Pollard roared back to form this year after a poor 2018 season. Though he scored only 279 runs from 14 innings, it was the impact he created with the bat at the death that changed the course of a number of games.
His knock of 83 against KXIP while leading the side showed yet another dimension of his batting. Also, like almost every IPL final he has played, Pollard scored a more than handy knock in the nail-biting final this year too.
Pollard averaged 34.87 and had a strike rate of 156.74.
All-rounders: Moeen Ali and Andre Russell
Ali ended with 220 runs from 10 innings at an average of 27.50 and a strike rate of 165.41. With the ball, he was quite economical; his 6 wickets came at an average of 28.16 and an impressive economy of 6.76.
Ali would be the third spinner in this side.
Andre Russell, the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, set the stage on fire with his insane hitting in the first half of the season. He single-handedly pulled off improbable chases on numerous occasions; by the end of the season, the KKR think-tank must be regretting not sending him up the order more often.
Once sent at number three, Russell unleashed his wrath on MI as the likes of Bumrah and Malinga were taken to the cleaners with ease. Despite batting at number six for most of the season, Russell finished fifth in the Orange Cap list, with 510 runs.
His dream season included 4 fifties with 52 sixes at an average of 56.66 and strike rate of 204.81. Not only that, he was also KKR's leading wicket-taker with 11 wickets at an economy of 9.51.
Bowlers: Kagiso Rabada, Rashid Khan, Imran Tahir and Lasith Malinga
One of the major architects of Delhi's magnificent campaign, Kagiso Rabada had a dream season. Picking wickets at will, Rabada was clearly the best overseas pacer in the tournament and one of the best pacers of the season along with Jasprit Bumrah.
Leading the chart for the Purple Cap until the final, Rabada picked 25 wickets in 12 games at an economy of 7.82 and average of 14.72, including 2 four-wicket hauls. His match-winning Super Over against a rampaging Andre Russell remains one of the highlights of the season.
The leggie from Afghanistan Rashid Khan did not have a great season by his standards but he was still good enough, picking 17 wickets from 15 innings. Because of the threat he possesses, most teams looked to just play him out, which resulted in his superb economy of 6.28.
Rashid averaged 22.17 with the ball in what can be considered a mixed season for him.
Imran Tahir, the Purple Cap winner of the season, played a key role in CSK's road to the final. Tahir was by far the best spinner this season, picking wickets on every turf he played irrespective of the assistance from the pitch.
He finished with 26 wickets at an economy of 6.69 and average of 16.57, including 2 four-wicket hauls.
Mentoring a team in one season and then coming in as a player and winning them the final next season is not something you see everyday, and not something everyone is capable of doing. But Lasith Malinga made it possible with his experience, and in the style he is best known for.
Despite his accuracy fading a little, Maling won two games for MI with his outstanding last overs - against RCB in the group stage and against CSK in the final. He may have been on the expensive side, but Malinga was always amongst the wickets. He ended with 16 wickets from 12 games at an economy of 9.78 and average of 27.37, including 2 four-fers.