Ageing Tigers make a loud statement in the IPL

They have shown that it’s not just the youngsters who can thrive in the world’s most competitive league.

Leading the most successful team at the IPL is, of course, M.S. Dhoni.   -  K.R. Deepak

It is only April, but it would be safe to say that one of the greatest sporting stories of 2019 has already unfolded at Augusta in the United States. Surely, Tiger Woods winning the Masters, at the age of 43, will take some beating.

A few hours before the golfing legend’s extraordinary feat at the Augusta National Golf Club, in distant Kolkata, Imran Tahir was equally busy turning the clock back.

The 40-year-old leg-spinner took four for 27 to lead Chennai Super Kings’ charge against Kolkata Knight Riders.

The South African deservedly walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award.

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The yellow brigade

It was another ageing soldier who took the individual honours in Super Kings’ opening match. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, 38, took three for 20 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.

Shane Watson is only a year younger than Harbhajan. And he was the Man-of-the-Match in CSK’s next game.

The 37-year-old opener from Australia made 44 off 26 balls to spearhead the team’s successful chase against Delhi Capitals.

Leading the most successful team at the IPL is, of course, a man who is of the same age as the Aussie — M.S. Dhoni.

READ: IPL 2019: Time out of game helped Pandya get into 'good mind space'

Astute skipper

Arguably, no captain in cricket is as astute as him — “He is one captain I would like to play under,” said former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood a few days ago — and he is as agile as anyone behind the stumps. In front of it, few handle pressure situations the way he does.

When CSK, batting first, was reduced to 27 for three by Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni responded with an unbeaten 75 off 46 balls.

With CSK tottering at 24 for four, chasing 152 in the return game at Jaipur, the skipper made 58 (43b). Super Kings beat the Royals again and Dhoni the Man-of-the-Match on both occasions.

READ: Team India for World Cup 2019: Karthik, Jadeja, Shankar in squad, Pant misses out

Gayle force

Chris Gayle has won the award only once for Kings XI Punjab this season, but the 39-year-old has been another shining example for ‘old is gold’ at IPL-12.

His scores so far: 79, 20, 40, 5, 16, 63, 99 not out and 30.

Men like A.B. de Villiers and Lasith Malinga are not exactly getting younger at 35, but they have been in the thick of it too.

The South African, who quit international cricket last year, has made four fifties in eight matches for RCB, while the Sri Lankan pacer celebrated his return to the Mumbai Indians XI with a Man-of-the-Match award-winning figures of four for 31.

There is nothing more refreshing than youthful vigour in sport, but Woods and these vibrant cricketers have shown that passion and talent can defy age.