New Delhi: Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul’s stellar show drowning their off-field distractions, David Warner sounding a warning bell to his World Cup rivals and a 40-year-old Imran Tahir turning the clock back were some of the takeaways from the just-concluded IPL. While Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ‘Dad’s Army’ nearly did an encore, Mumbai Indians’ consistency on the big day paid off again during a season where there were more than 30 last-over finishes. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuIn a World Cup year, it was imperative that the focus would be on international stars and the contenders for the silverware have had the form and fitness of their stars analysed threadbare over 50 days. For tournament favourites India, the foremost gain has to be Hardik and Rahul’s performance. The enormously gifted Hardik and the very stylish Rahul seemed to have channelised all their energies on the field during the past seven weeks to produce results that will augur well for India in the upcoming World Cup in England. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersBack after serving a temporary ban for their trash talk, IPL was a platform for the best friends to get their focus back in the game, and they did so in a glorious fashion. Kings XI Punjab couldn’t make it to the play-offs but Rahul did his bit opening the innings, scoring 593 runs and finishing second behind David Warner (692) in the run-scorer’s list. His approach was classical and the six fifties and one hundred will certainly keep him in high spirits if the team management expects him to bat at No. 3 or 4 in the mega event. For Hardik, the IPL triumph couldn’t have come at a better time as he, time and again, proved why he is called the ‘game-changer.’ 402 runs at a strike-rate of 191 plus, 29 sixes, 14 wickets and 11 catches is stuff of any all-rounder’s dreams, statistics that India captain Virat Kohli can find solace in despite his own franchise RCB’s disastrous show. MI skipper Rohit Sharma said: “Hardik is the best example. Before the IPL, he didn’t have a good time, was injured, and missed a few games as well. But he has been tremendous for us — both in batting and bowling.” Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah’s haul of 19 wickets each was an indicator of their wicket-taking ability. David Warner’s 692 runs is one of the best comeback stories of IPL and his form will certainly keep his World Cup opponents on guard. His former captain Steven Smith found a bit of touch towards the end of his IPL campaign, which translated into runs during the practice games against New Zealand.