IPL 2019 season review: Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings
Finding different match-winners in different situations was a defining factor in Mumbai's successful campaign this year, with four batsmen scoring more than 400 runs each and five bowlers taking more than 10 wickets each.
That Mumbai held their nerve until the last ball and backed themselves to win despite dropping multiple catches and conceding byes is testament to their experience and confidence in pressure situations.
Chennai Super Kings spent a majority of their season being propped up by two players in MS Dhoni and Imran Tahir, with other players slowly increasing their contributions towards the end of the season. While they had a spin bowling attack that kept building pressure in the middle overs, average fielding and death bowling are issues to be addressed if they are to win next year.
A player for every situation defined Mumbai Indians' campaign this year
Contributions from different players and continuity in selection were crucial factors in Mumbai Indian's title win this season.
Quinton de Kock led the batting with 529 runs, followed by Suryakumar Yadav (424 runs), Rohit Sharma (405 runs) and Hardik Pandya (402 runs). Kieron Pollard was the only other batsman with more than 200 runs (279).
Hardik and Pollard scored most of their runs during the death overs, as evident by their strike rates of 191.42 and 156.74 respectively.
Jasprit Bumrah led the bowling with 19 wickets and was often key to making crucial breakthroughs. He was followed by Lasith Malinga with 16 wickets, Hardik Pandya with 14 wickets, and wrist-spinner Rahul Chahar with 13 wickets. Mayank Markande was dropped after taking one wicket in three matches.
Alzarri Joseph managed six wickets before injury ended his season, and Jason Behrendorff impressed with five wickets before joining Australia's World Cup preparations.
Krunal Pandya had a mixed tournament with 183 runs and 12 wickets, and will be expected to improve his performances next year. Managing the fitness of their bowlers will be an issue to deal with, but Mumbai Indians are settled otherwise.
Over-reliance on a few players cost Chennai Super Kings
This season highlighted the value of Dhoni as captain and player for Chennai Super Kings.
He led the batting with 416 runs, and his tactical acumen was often key to Chennai's wins. The impact of his leadership was felt when he missed two matches with injury and fever; Chennai lost both those matches.
Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson had decent seasons with the bat, scoring 396 and 398 runs respectively. Watson endured a poor start to the tournament but ended with back-to-back fifties against Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians. However, his slowness in the field and running between the wickets was a concern, with his run-out in the final proving particularly costly.
Suresh Raina managed 383 runs but had a poor season as fielder and stand-in captain. He dropped catches at crucial moments and lacked the tactical aptitude that Dhoni brought to the team.
Ambati Rayudu and Kedhar Jadhav had poor outings, with Rayudu scoring at a strike rate of 93.06 and Jadhav getting injured towards the end of the season.
Imran Tahir led the bowlers with 26 wickets, the most by any bowler this season. Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja were the other standout bowlers with 22, 16, and 15 wickets respectively. Chahar often bowled all his overs upfront, generating swing and pace to take wickets.
Dwayne Bravo managed 11 wickets but struggled to contain the run-scoring during the death overs, conceding at an economy rate of 8.01 throughout.
Fielding and death bowling are areas that Chennai Super Kings will look to improve on next year, and they will also have to find a way to deal with the eventual retirement of some of their key players. Better handling of pressure might be another thing to look at; Chennai have made eight finals and won just three of them.