No Rohit, Shikhar in Sportstar’s IPL XI; Virat Kohli in

Based on staffer votes, we picked a starry IPL XI — sticking to the four overseas players rule — that features Virat Kohli with M.S. Dhoni as his captain.

David Warner and Jonny Bairstow were the run-machines for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2019.   -  AFP

IPL 2019 is over, but our calculations, permutations and combinations did not stop. Fifty days of number-crunching, tracking performances in the PowerPlay and studying the economy of death over specialists led to dream XI’s in our heads.

Based on player report cards and votes from staffers, here’s the Sportstar IPL XI.

No Rohit, Shikhar as openers

Sunrisers Hyderabad openers David Warner (692 runs in 12 games) blocked the opener's slot due to his consistent run in the tournament. India internationals Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan missed out on the votes despite a good season.

K.L. Rahul, second in the most run-getters' list (593 runs in 14 games) after Warner, sneaked in.

Rohit lifted the fourth IPL title as Mumbai Indians captain and Shikhar’s side, Delhi Capitals, finished third with the left-hander scoring 521 runs in 16 games. The former's below-par show (only two half-centuries) with the bat may have cost him a few votes.

Shreyas Gopal, the uncapped star

Gopal was one of the standout players for Rajasthan Royals. The leg-break bowler from Karnataka finished the season with 20 wickets and dismissed Kohli and AB de Villiers twice each. And to add a major feather to his cap, Gopal became the 19th bowler in the history of the tournament to pick a hat-trick.

Shreyas Gopal.   -  BCCI


Why Virat Kohli?

Kohli failed to inspire a collective effort from Royal Challengers Bangalore, but with the bat, the 30-year-old remained awe-inspiring. The highlight of the season came at the Eden Gardens, where Kohli made his fifth IPL century in a show of his usual class and unique shot-making ability. That hundred came off 58 balls and helped RCB record one of its satisfying wins in a largely unsatisfactory season. Kohli finished with 464 runs and was the highest run-scorer in the season among captains.

Virat Kohli.   -  PTI


Pandya and the Windies connect

Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard have been Mumbai’s back end specialists. Pandya imbibed the Calypso vibe from Pollard; he loves the Windies players. But this time, Pandya gets to share the dressing room with the cricketer who went neck to neck — Andre Russell — and remained a constant threat for opponents. Russell and Pandya smashed 82 sixes in the tournament. The strike-rates have been close as well; Russell at 204.81 and Pandya at 191.42; fancy them in the same side? We certainly do.

Dhoni’s boy Chahar

Deepak Chahar.   -  AP

Chahar built on an excellent IPL 2018 with more consistent and authoritative displays for Chennai Super Kings in 2019. His role in the team evolved as the season progressed and he bowled more overs at the death i n the second half of the season, after Dwayne Bravo picked up a hamstring injury in the fixture against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. But for the most part, he didn’t look out of place while bowling with the old ball. He used his variations, the knuckle ball and slower bouncer, judiciously.

Players who almost made it to the XI but missed out on a narrow margin

Jos Buttler

Jonny Bairstow

Rohit Sharma

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