The first half of IPL 2019 is coming to an end. It has been an exciting first-half, serving up controversies, nail-biting thrillers, and the great contest between bat and ball. IPL 2019 has so far lived up to its billing.
There have been few controversies, but it has only added spice to the competition, making IPL the most followed domestic T20 tournament across the world. So, here are the highlights of IPL 2019 from the first half of the tournament. Have a look.
West Indians come to the party in IPL 2019
It won’t be wrong to say that this edition of IPL 2019 has been dominated by West Indies players. From batting, bowling to fielding, West Indian cricketers have made headlines in IPL 2019.
The biggest impact player has been Andre Russell who has been consistent with the bat lower down the order for Kolkata Knight Riders. Russell has twice won matches for KKR from hopeless situations while chasing.
He has decimated SRH and RCB bowling attack, chasing down over-50 runs in last three overs of the chase. He has also given the flourish to the innings consistently while batting first.
Dwayne Bravo bowled CSK to win against Rajasthan Royals, defending 12 runs in the last over, before he was ruled out for two weeks due to an injury.
Kieron Pollard of MI started slowly but picked up the pace as the tournament progressed. He single-handed chased down a mammoth target of 198 against KXIP with a brutal knock of 83 off 31 balls with 10 sixes and 3 fours.
Alzarri Joseph made his IPL debut for MI memorable with the best IPL bowling figures of 6/12 against SRH.
It had been a Caribbean fervour throughout this season.
Captain Cool loses it
You never expect ‘Captain Cool’ to lose his cool even in the most pressure-cooked situation. But thanks to IPL competitiveness and the quality of cricket and the desperation of a win, MS Dhoni too lost it, marching towards the umpire to confront them on a no-ball that was overruled.
Dhoni was fined 50 % of his match fee. But thanks to Mitchell Santner’s last-ball six to take the team across the finish line, CSK would have cried foul on standards of umpiring like how RCB vented their frustration after being denied a no-ball in a close loss to Mumbai Indians.
‘Shame’ old story for RCB, but fans remain loyal
Every year, RCB fans cry their throats out, saying ‘Eee Sala Cup Namde (This year, the cup is ours)’. But then they have to swallow a bitter pill of seeing their team off to another miserable start to the tournament. This year, RCB have lost six straight games and their chance of qualifying for playoffs is all but over.
But fans will still queue in large numbers at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, to support for Virat Kohli and Co. If there was a title for most loyal IPL fans, RCB supporters would win it hands down.
Bowlers too had their share of the limelight
IPL is expected to be a batsman’s paradise. But this edition of IPL has seen an equal contest between bat and ball. K Rabada of Delhi Capitals showed Andre Russell is not invincible as the South African pacer managed to york the West Indian and stopped him from getting the team across the finish line in a super over.
Deepak Chahar has shown good quality medium-pace bowling will always have its say in a batting-friendly IPL.
Experienced and veteran spinners Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir proved they are still are a force to reckon with.
Alzarri Joseph produced fine bowling display to take 6/12 and shatter IPL records
Quality of umpiring
This IPL has not been without controversies like other editions. From Virat Kohli venting out his frustration at being denied a no-ball from MS Dhoni confronting umpires for a no-ball being overruled, this IPL has seen a sharp decline in umpiring standards, leading to unwanted controversies.
Besides, the number of decisions that have been ruled in favour of the teams shows IPL still lags behind in maintaining a spotless record in umpiring.
Quite a few IPL 2019 matches have gone down to the wire, giving a thrill to players, fans and TV audience alike. Rabada defending 10 runs in super over against KKR, Santner’s last-ball six or Pollard’s MI stealing a win from KXIP on last-ball – it has all given IPL 2019 a prime time slot of thrillers, dramas, and entertainment all packed in one.
And fans are wanting for more, queuing up in large numbers in cricket stadiums to soak in as much IPL as they can.