IPL 2019 is all set to take place with the opening match being between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Just like every edition, the upcoming edition of the cash-rich league also promises to be exciting. One of the exciting elements of the league is the race for the Orange Cap.
The Orange Cap is handed out to the player with the most runs at the end of the season. The tournament has seen players from different countries win the coveted cap over the years. In fact, every year the competition for the coveted cap heats up which encourages the batsmen to elevate their game to the next level each season.
This year, just like every year, there is a list of players who are expected to set the IPL stage on fire with their batting due to their current form.
Here, five players have been listed who could win the Orange Cap this year. These predictions are made based on their form in the past year.
#5 Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
2018 was an exceptional year for Jonny Bairstow in limited overs cricket. He finished the year as one of the leading run scorers in ODIs with 1025 runs to his name from 22 matches. The right-handed batsman scored a total of four centuries and two half-centuries. He was in top form against New Zealand and Australia.
With David Warner's return to the franchise this year coupled with Shikhar Dhawan’s departure, the SRH management will probably look to Jonny Bairstow to open the batting with Warner. These two men could complement each other quite well considering the fact that both of them are destructive openers.
Given his recent form, it wouldn't be a surprise if he finds himself in contention for the Orange Cap.
#4 Quinton de Kock (Mumbai Indians)
Quinton de Kock hasn’t been very consistent in the IPL. However, he has shown glimpses of his abilities in the past, especially when playing for Delhi Capitals. He has a lot of potential and this is a big reason why he still gets picked up by IPL franchises.
This year, in particular, could be different for de Kock. He has shown a bit of form in the Mzansi Super League. He finished the tournament as the second highest run scorer with 412 runs in eight matches. His form transitioned into the international circuit where he performed quite well for South Africa in Tests and ODI against Sri Lanka.
Quinton de Kock should fit in perfectly with Mumbai Indians and could be used to open the batting along with Rohit Sharma. If his recent form is any indication to go by, then the South African wicket-keeper will have a very prominent role to play for Mumbai Indians.
#3 Chris Gayle (Kings XI Punjab)
The past couple of seasons haven’t been that great for Chris Gayle. He has barely managed to score more than 400 runs in a season since 2016. Hence, he nearly went unsold in last year’s auction before being picked up by KXIP. With 368 runs in 11 innings, he managed to perform decently for his new franchise. He hit a century and three half-centuries in the process.
The destructive southpaw will look to make an even bigger statement in the upcoming edition of IPL. In the recent ODI series against England, Gayle looked in scintillating form on his way to two centuries. He even scored a blistering 162 in the fourth ODI.
Considering the IPL is just a few days away, Chris Gayle should have no problem carrying over his form into the IPL. If that happens, then every IPL franchise will be put on high alert as it will be raining sixes.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Universe Boss finishes the tournament as the highest run scorer.
#2 Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Kane Williamson is one of the best players in the world right now. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen in Test cricket. In IPL 2018, Williamson proved that a player doesn't need to play the big shots to score big in T20 cricket. He top scored last season with absolute class. Playing classic tradition cricket strokes all around the ground, the right-handed batsman scored 735 runs and won the Orange Cap.
His form didn’t stop there. He went on to have another fantastic year for New Zealand. The Kiwi skipper's inclusion in playing XI remains to be seen because of David Warner's return to the SRH fold. It’s a decision that SRH will have to seriously consider given how good he (Kane Williamson) is performing right now.
If given the chance, he could finish the season as the top run scorer and even play a crucial role in helping his team win their second IPL title.
#1 Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Without an iota of doubt, Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world right now and every year he just seems to be getting better. At the moment, he is scoring centuries for fun. Hence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to everyone if Virat Kohli wins the Orange Cap this year.
The fans witnessed how destructive Kohli could be in IPL 2016 when he hammered four centuries in the same season and nearly scored 1000 runs. Given his current form, history could repeat itself once again. He may not score four centuries this year, but he could certainly finish the season as the leading run scorer. He can even become the all-time leading run scorer in the IPL at the end of this season.
Leading from the front, Kohli will be an absolute nightmare for the bowlers this year and his performances will be the difference between victory and defeat for RCB.