With the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 set to commence next week, Delhi Capitals (DC), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will look to continue their domination this season.
- DC are at the top of the table, with 12 points, having won six out of their eight matches
- CSK and RCB have 10 points each
- Reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) hold the fourth spot with eight points
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Meanwhile, the likes of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will aim to bounce back as they are at the bottom of the table.
- KKR have just two victories from seven matches
- The 2016 winners SRH have had the poorest run so far
The Orange Army have managed just one win from seven games. As a result, the SRH management had replaced Australia’s David Warner with New Zealand’s Kane Williamson as the captain of the side in the IPL 2021.
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RCB’s great start
By winning their first four matches, RCB registered their best-ever start to an IPL season. They defeated MI, SRH, KKR and Rajasthan Royals (RR) before suffering a loss against two-time winners CSK. Glenn Maxwell, who managed to score a tally of 108 runs in 11 innings for Punjab last season, has been RCB’s best batsman in 2021. He has scored 223 runs in seven games at an average of 37.17.
Former Proteas batsman AB de Villiers has once again been consistent for Bangalore, averaging 51.75 in six innings. Moreover, their bowling attack has been led by Harshal Patel, who is also the leading wicket-taker so far in the IPL 2021 with 17 wickets. In the opening game of the IPL 2021, which was between RCB and MI, Harshal became the first-ever bowler to claim a five-for against Mumbai.
Back DC at 3.75, or support RCB at 4.35
A young Delhi side
In the absence of Shreyas Iyer, who missed the first leg of IPL 2021 due to a shoulder injury, Rishabh Pant led Delhi to the top of the table. The combination of the young and the experienced has driven Delhi forward this season: with 380 runs, Shikhar Dhawan is the current leading run-scorer of the tournament and his opening partner Prithvi Shaw is not very much behind with 308 runs in eight games at an average of 38.50.
Having registered two crucial half-centuries, Pant has also led from the front and has scored 213 runs at 35.50. With Shreyas likely to return for the second leg of IPL 2021, Delhi’s batting is set to further strengthen. Delhi’s 24-year-old pacer Avesh Khan has been their best this season, having bagged 14 wickets this season. He has led Delhi’s experienced pack of bowlers including Kagiso Rabada and Marcus Stoinis.
CSK bounce back
After finishing seventh in the 2020 edition of IPL, MS Dhoni-led CSK have bounced back in style this season. With five wins and two losses in seven matches, CSK are one of the favourites to make it to the knockout stage this time around. Faf du Plessis has kept CSK’s runs chart running as the Proteas batsman has scored 320 runs at an excellent average of 64. With nine and eight wickets respectively, Sam Curran and Deepak Chahar have made a difference with the ball for the former two-time winners.
Back CSK or MI as outright winners at 3.60 and 4.05, respectively
A slow start for Mumbai Indians
The five-time champions MI can never be ruled out unless it’s definitely over for them. Even though they have managed just four out of seven wins, they can still qualify for the next round if they turn things around in the second phase of IPL 2021. They have won three out of the last four IPL seasons, including two one-run victories in the final, which shows Rohit Sharma’s side has the ability to turn tables in the last minute.
In the first phase of the tournament earlier this year, MI lacked a collective effort in every match. They need their match-winners such as the Pandya brothers, Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan and others to step up. In the list of most runs, only Rohit is the MI batsman to feature in the top-10 and that needs to be rectified this time. Even in the bowling department, Trent Boult and Deepak Chahar will need more support from their teammates to win matches for MI.
So far the IPL 2021 season has been a very competitive one, and the remaining league matches won’t be less interesting with all the eight teams desperately trying to seal a spot in the finals.
IPL 2021: Here are the IPL teams’ chances of making it to the final play.
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- The runner’s up from 2020, DC, is one of the strongest teams at present and could make it to the final once again. Bangalore also look to be very strong, on paper at least. A final between these two sides would be an ideal one as it would mean, IPL would get a new champion.
- However, CSK and MI certainly could be threatening too, considering the teams include match-winners who hold tons of experience of dominating through the pressure games.