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IPL 2021 – Team of the Season (First Half)
Kavan Shah

Cricket is India’s staple food and no dish serves it better than the IPL. However, with several players testing Covid-positive, IPL-2021 ended up being suspended indefinitely. 26 matches were played in this edition of the IPL, before it was postponed due to the rising number of cases in the country and the outbreak in camps.

However, with that being said, there were players who made their mark in this half-edition of IPL. Some of their performances were way beyond expectations and surprised many, while some failed to make the kind of impact they would’ve wanted. By analyzing their performances and the impact on the tournament, we present our Team of the Season for IPL 2021.

Openers – Some top-class knocks from Faf and Dhawan

Faf Du Plessis (CSK)

The former South African captain was in supreme form during the first half of the IPL for CSK. His batting was one of the main reasons for the success of the Yellove.

 He scored 320 runs with an average of 64 and a strike rate of 145.45 and also notched up four half-centuries. The runs he scored at the top of the order along with his partner Ruturaj made things easier for the rest of the batsmen, something which they lacked last year.

He is also an exceptional fielder, and took spectacular catches at the long-off and long-on.

Shikhar Dhawan (DC)

The southpaw of Delhi & the Orange cap Holder for much of the season was in red hot form for his team. He scored 380 runs with an average of 54.28 and a strike rate of 134.27.

 The rise of Dhawan as a T20 batsman after 2018 with regards to his strike rate has continued. There is little doubt that his exceptional power-hitting will pose a lot of headaches to the Indian selectors ahead of the much-awaited T20 World Cup.

Middle Order – Balance is the key in the middle

Glenn Maxwell (RCB)

The drought of runs in the IPL for the Big Show of Australia came to an end this season. He made 223 runs with an average of 37.16 and strike rate of 144.80 in seven matches.

Of these seven matches, three were on Chennai’s slow tracks. It seems that with the limelight being on Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, Maxwell played much more freely. His 59 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s second match was easily one of the best finishes of the season.

AB de Villiers (RCB)

The impact of the performances of De Villiers in the success of Royal Challengers Bangalore over the years has been unbelievable and this year was no different as well.

He scored 207 runs with the average of 51.75 and strike rate of 164.28. His knock in the first match against Mumbai Indians, where he was playing competitive cricket for the first time in five months proved why they say A.B.C.D.E (AB Can Do Everything).

Rishabh Pant (DC) (C & WK)

2021 has simply been the year of Rishabh Pant. After Shreyas Iyer got injured and was declared unavailable for the season, Pant was handed the captain’s armband. Having the skill to bat practically anywhere in the middle order, Pant’s unabashed style of cricket continued in the IPL.

The most important and impressive thing about his captaincy was the fact that he was proactive and always kept the run-rate in check while chasing down the total. He was also the wicket-keeper of this team and made 213 runs with the average of 35.50 and strike rate of 132.

Under his captaincy, Delhi Capitals was on top of the table with a positive net run rate as well which underlined his credentials.

All rounders – Pollard and Jaddu’s utter destruction

Kieron Pollard (MI) (VC)

The big man of Mumbai played arguably the innings of the season when he notched up 87 against the Chennai Super Kings in Delhi. His two knocks in the season literally made the difference between the two teams, one against the Chennai Super Kings and the other against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The impact this man has created in the Mumbai camp is incredible. Having the ability to bowl two or three influential overs in the middle, Pollard is indeed the ideal match-winner. For example, his two wickets against Chennai broke the momentum of run-flow. With 168 runs at a strike rate of 172 and three wickets with an average of 18, Pollard also comes in as the Vice-Captain of our Team of the Season.

Ravindra Jadeja (CSK)

There was nothing that Jadeja could not manage to do this season. He changed games with his bat, with his left-arm spin and, obviously, with his sensational fielding. His red-hot form in this year’s IPL was a prime reason for Chennai’s dominance.

He took six wickets, made 131 runs with a strike rate of 162. That 37 run-over against Harshal Patel is hands-down the performance of the tournament.

Bowlers – The perfect combination of skill and experience

Harshal Patel (RCB)

The surprise package of IPL 2021 was Harshal Patel. He took 17 wickets with the average of 9.8, and also held on to the Purple Cap. His wicket-taking ability in death overs broke the momentum of the opposition, which was one of the reasons for the exceptional showcasing of Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is also a pretty handy batsman down the order.

Rahul Chahar (MI)

Rahul Chahar was, by far the best spinner of the tournament. He took 11 wickets at an average of 19. That spell of 4/27 against Kolkata Knight Riders ended up making the difference that night. Coupled with an economy of 7.21, he is hands down a strong contender to make it to the final Team India squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Avesh Khan (DC)

Blessed with a speed of 140+ and the ability to bowl in the perfect slot, Avesh was a treat to watch in this season’s IPL. He took 14 wickets with the average of 16.5 and economy rate of 7.7, which included the wickets of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. He also took wickets in every match of the season for Delhi Capitals. Avesh’s consistency impressed the selectors and help him grab a place as stand-by for the upcoming tour of England.

Jasprit Bumrah (MI)

Bumrah only picked up six wickets at an average of 32 and an economy rate of 7.11, but these numbers do not reveal the extent of his impact. He always bowled those difficult slog overs for Mumbai Indians.

Batsmen were confused to charge against him or to just see him off. If they did charge up against him, they ended up losing wickets and if they decided to see him off, that ended up impacted the scoring rate. His length ball and yorkers were pure gold in death overs and once again, he proved why he is one of the best, if not the best death-over bowler in the world.

This is it – our Team of the Season for IPL 2021. What changes would you make? Interact with us on @sportwalkonnet

Note: Cover Image photos from IPLT20.com or respective team’s social media

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