The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) is now hurtling towards its conclusion with the play-off clashes on in full flow.
The T20 franchise competition has developed a reputation of producing future stars for India over the course of its existence and the 2019 edition is proving to be no different.
Here, we take a look at five Indian youngsters who have caught the eye with their displays in the ongoing IPL 2019 campaign.
NAVDEEP SAINI – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Despite what was another disappointing campaign for Virat Kohli and his Royal Challengers Bangalore side, young Navdeep Saini managed to carve a name for himself.
The young Karnal-born pacer had an excellent domestic season for Delhi last year in the Ranji Trophy and he has now carried over that form into his maiden IPL stint with RCB. In 13 matches for Bangalore, Saini picked up 11 wickets but it was the pace at which he bowled at that grabbed eyeballs.
Despite playing most of his matches on a flat batting track at Bengaluru, Saini still managed to maintain a more than decent economy-rate of 8.27. It is only a matter of time before Saini makes his India bow and his maiden IPL campaign will have only bolstered those chances.
KHALEEL AHMED – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
The left-armed pacer made just one appearance for SRH in 2018 despite going on to have a breakthrough year for India in international cricket.
However, the disappointment of missing out on India’s 2019 World Cup squad seems to have spurred the youngster to even greater heights with his 2019 IPL campaign turning out to a fine one.
Having had to bide his time on the bench early on in the season, Khaleel has now established himself as SRH’s greatest pace threat with 17 wickets in just eight appearances.
The 21-year-old has been picking up wickets left, right and centre in the powerplay as well as the death overs. A strike-rate of just over 11 and an economy-rate of only 8.21 adds further gloss to Khaleel’s excellent numbers and he will be desperate to add to his tally in the play-offs for Hyderabad.
SHUBMAN GILL – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
For young Shubman Gill, it was the second IPL campaign after he burst on to the big stage with his displays for India in the ICC U19 World Cup last year.
The right-handed batsman had an indifferent start to his 2019 IPL campaign with Kolkata Knight Riders but soon found his groove after being promoted up the batting order.
In 14 matches for KKR this year, Gill scored 286 runs at a healthy batting average of nearly 33 while registering three half-centuries as well. While his India U19 team-mate Prithvi Shaw has already created waves in senior international cricket, Gill has had to bide his time on the sidelines.
On the evidence of his 2019 IPL showings, a maiden India call up cannot be too far off.
RIYAN PARAG – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
Amidst an IPL campaign to forget for Rajasthan Royals, there was a silver lining in the form of Riyan Parag’s emergence.
The Assam-born teenager showed plenty of gumption and fight in his displays for the franchise in a record-breaking debut IPL campaign.
The 17-year-old became the youngest half-centurion in IPL history when he scored 50 against Delhi Capitals and his 47-run knock against KKR was instrumental in keeping Rajasthan’s faint play-off hopes alive.
Parag also picked up two wickets with his part-time off spin and was a lively figure on the field for Rajasthan. The teenager could definitely be a promising limited-overs talent for India in the future if moulded the right way and it will be interesting to see how he develops from this point on.
RAHUL CHAHAR – MUMBAI INDIANS
While Saini, Gill and Parag have shown plenty of promise, it has been Mumbai Indians’ leg-spinner Rahul Chahar who has been the undisputed young find of the tournament.
The 19-year-old Rajasthan-born leggie displaced last year’s Mumbai favourite Mayank Markande from the playing XI with some exceptional displays where he showed great maturity for a teenager.
Chahar has so far picked up 12 wickets in his as many matches with his latest display being a match-winning 2-14 against Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier. Along with his wickets, the leg-spinner has also been extremely hard to score runs off with his economy-rate hovering around 6.80 mark.
He has everything in his armoury including a lethal googly and top-spinner but it is the confidence with which Chahar has approached his debut IPL campaign that has won him many admirers.
Mumbai Indians extended their stranglehold over Chennai Super Kings this season to reach the IPL 2019 final with a clinical victory, winning the first qualifier by a comprehensive six wickets as Suryakumar Yadav anchored the chase with 71 off 54 after the spinners set Mumbai up well.
It was their third win over CSK in three attempts this season, a record that underpins their status as the team to beat in IPL 2019.
Rahul Chahar starred for the Mumbai bowlers, with 2/14 in his four overs, and he was ably backed up by fellow spinners Jayant Yadav and Krunal Pandya.
CHENNAI BATSMEN FAIL THEIR TEST
On the eve of this game, a exam question set by a professor at IIT Madras, one of India’s most prestigious colleges, went viral, because it asked students to determine what Mahendra Singh Dhoni should do if he won the toss.
In the event, he chose to bat, but it’s likely that those students did a better job passing their test compared to Chennai’s batsmen on their home pitch. Mumbai’s spinners had yet to take a wicket in the powerplay all season, but ended with three after six overs on Tuesday.
Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, and, to an extent, Murali Vijay were the only batsmen who gave a good account of themselves. Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, and Shane Watson combined for 21 runs in 31 balls – nearly the entire powerplay.
Meanwhile, spinners Chahar, Krunal Pandya, and Jayant Yadav – an inspired selection from Mumbai – managed 4/70 in their 11 overs.
Shout out to Professor Vignesh at @iitmadras for making exams relevant to important, real-life issues!— ICC (@ICC) May 6, 2019
Can anyone help @msdhoni and @ChennaiIPL make a decision before the toss tomorrow? (and show your workings 😜) pic.twitter.com/8fp7rGI5BG
SURYAKUMAR HITTING FORM AT THE PERFECT TIME
The final game of the league stage and the first game of the playoffs – not a bad time to start hitting form. Yadav followed his 27-ball 46 from Mumbai’s win over Kolkata Knight Riders with a calm, match-winning innings to put his side in the final.
It’s no coincidence that both knocks have come while chasing small scores – the ideal situation for a batsman. Mumbai’s target against KKR was 134, two runs more than it was on Tuesday.
This innings came with higher stakes, and on a tougher pitch. But Yadav carried the confidence and momentum from his previous innings to make sure there were no slip-ups from Mumbai.
He rode his luck, dropped once on 11 with Murali Vijay missing a tough catch in the outfield and again on 53 when Shane Watson put down a sharp chance at slip. And he made sure to take full toll.
Chennai Super Kings 131/4 (20 overs)
Ambati Rayudu 42* (37)
MS Dhoni 37* (29)
Rahul Chahar 2/14
Suryakumar Yadav 71* (54)
Ishan Kishan 28 (31)
Imran Tahir 2/33
Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni has called on his batsmen to improve their decision-making following his side’s six-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians in the first Qualifier of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL).
CSK were able to muster just 131-4 on a spinning track after Dhoni elected to bat first but it proved to be no challenge for Mumbai who scaled the target with nine balls to spare.
Although Chennai still have the luxury of a second Qualifier to try and make it to the final, Dhoni has urged his batsmen to improve.
“At home, we had to assess the conditions quickly, we have played six to seven games on this pitch and should have read the pitch better, that’s the home advantage,” the CSK skipper lamented after the game.
“We needed to know how the pitch behaves, would it be tacky? Is the ball coming on or not, those were the things we didn’t do well today. I think the batting needs to get better. These are the best batsmen we have got and it looks like we are batting well, but at times, but in different games, they pull off shots that shouldn’t be played.
“These are the players who we have banked on, they have the experience and they should know to assess the conditions better, hopefully, we will do well in the next game.”
For finalists Mumbai, it was the third win of the campaign over Chennai with two of those victories now coming at the Chepauk stadium. Having taken one step closer to a record fourth IPL title, skipper Rohit Sharma stressed on the excellent balance in the side as the reason for their fine run.
“We’ve got a balanced squad,” Rohit stated.
“Whatever the conditions are, we’ve got the squad for them. We have the balance we need on any kind of pitch. Even the batters are confident in what they want to execute.
“That’s probably one of the reasons we’ve had some success in Chennai because we play the conditions well and understand the conditions well.”
Having failed to take advantage of home conditions, Chennai will now move on to Vizag where they will take on the loser of the Eliminator in the second Qualifier on May 10.
The winner of that clash will face Mumbai Indians in the final at Hyderabad on May 12.