IPL 2019 ended with Mumbai Indians being crowned as champions winning by just 1 run in a thrilling encounter against CSK. While T20 cricket and especially IPL is known as a young man’s game there were some experienced players who proved their worth and rubbed their shoulders equally with the youngsters. We look at 5 players above the age of 35 who shone in IPL 2019.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to surprise and excite despite his advancing years. Despite a few albeit loud murmurs that MSD is not the same player he once was. Dhoni responds by having an IPL season for ages. The 37-year old has scored 416 runs in 12 innings, the most by a CSK player in IPL 2019. “Thala” Dhoni’s importance to the CSK cause can be gauged by the fact that CSK have lost all the 3 matches he has missed. Dhoni has a stupendous average of 83.20 with 7 Not outs further highlighting his finisher tag. In a hit and miss CSK middle order Dhoni has shown brightly and has single handedly carried Chennai’s batting. Dhoni’s performance certainly shows that the old warhorse certainly is not finished yet.
Seeing Imran Tahir celebrating his each wicket will make you think that Imran Tahir is a rookie just enjoying his wicket let alone a 40-year old who is old enough to be a father of many of his IPL players and in some cases his victims. The South African leg spinner has played a big part in CSK’s success this season picking up wickets whenever the team needs him. Tahir has taken 26 wickets winning the Purple Cap and his 26 wickets taken this IPL is the most wickets by a spinner in IPL history. He is also the only spinner to have taken two 4 wickets haul further highlighting his ability to run through opposition line-ups.
The “Universe Boss” once again enjoyed a superb season at the top of the order for Kings XI Punjab. The explosive West Indies opener scored 490 runs at an average of 40.83. Gayle also had a strike rate of 153.61 his best since IPL 2013. The 39-year old scored 4 half centuries and also became the first player in IPL to hit 300 sixes. Gayle is not the same player he once was in a sense that he takes his time, targets bowlers before unleashing himself. Without Gayle and KL Rahul’s efforts at the top Kings XI would have surely finished bottom of the IPL table.
Harbhajan Singh is the 3rd Chennai Super King player to feature in the list highlighting just how CSK have made a mockery of their ages. Bhajji at the ripe old age of 38 years is enjoying one his finest IPL campaigns. The “Turbanator” has taken 16 wickets at a strike rate of 16.50, only in IPL 2008 Bhajji had a better strike rate. Despite bowling primarily in the Powerplays Harbhajan Singh has an economy of 7.06 and has taken most wickets by a spinner in the Powerplay overs highlighting his control and ability to stifle batsman. Bhajji in IPL 2019 also become the first off-spinner to take 150 IPL wickets.
Lasith Malinga last year was playing Ice Cricket in Switzerland in a league where retired players like Kallis, Sehwag and Shoaib Akhtar were playing. The fast bowler suffered an injury last season and was appointed as a bowling consultant for Mumbai Indians for IPL 2018, this was the time you genuinely felt the end is near for one of the greatest fast bowlers in T20 era. There were eye brows raised when Mumbai Indians bought him back but Malinga’s performance this season has vindicated their decision. The 35-year old has taken 16 wickets at a strike rate of 16.81 among fast bowlers who have taken more than 10 wickets only 3 have a better strike rate. Malinga is not quick like he once was but he makes it up with his guile, off cutters and deadly change of pace which plays with the batsman’s minds.