The IPL is back with half of the season still left to be played in 2021. Before the postponement of the competition, there were players who were really making a name for themselves with the bat and ball.
Here’s a look at who stood out and who’s likely to pick up where they left off when they return to the pitch.
Shikhar Dhawan (Delhi Capitals)
With 380 runs from his opening eight matches, the Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan is leading the race for the Orange Cap, the award handed to the leading scorer in the competition. Dhawan has already hit 43 fours and eight sixes, taking his side to a flying start as an opener on so many occasions, which has given Delhi the platform to record some impressive scores.
With Dhawan in excellent form, the Capitals have a great chance of going all the way to the trophy. As it stands, this is already reflected in the odds from the bookmakers. They’re currently the second-favourites among the top ten online cricket betting sites in the outright market for the 2021 IPL, with odds of 11/4 to be crowned the winners. In addition, Dhawan, the odds-on favourite for top team batsman, is priced at 1/8.
Of course, this is all subject to change, but the advantage of many betting sites is that they now offer live cricket betting, so that the odds will update during and after every game of the tournament. If Dhawan continues his form with the bat, the Capitals’ odds of success will shorten further.
Harshal Patel (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler Harshal Patel is having the best campaign of his career in 2021, so far. He got off to a flying start back in April, becoming the first bowler to pick up five wickets in a match against the Mumbai Indians, and has 17 wickets from his games so far.
The 30-year-old will have his eyes on becoming the leading wicket-taker in the IPL this year and will also have aspirations of breaking into the India team in limited-overs cricket. RCB’s right-arm medium bowler has arguably been the surprise package of the tournament so far. This is his second spell with the franchise after he was traded there from the Delhi Capitals earlier this year.
Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals)
Batsman Sanju Samson made his ODI debut for India back in July and that was largely down to how well he was playing in the IPL in the opening half of the competition in 2021. He scored 46 runs from 46 balls in the game for India against Sri Lanka and was named Rajasthan’s captain ahead of the season.
He marked his debut as the skipper with a century against the Punjab Kings and is operating at a strike rate of 147.78, with an average of 46.16 from his opening seven games. Given the extra responsibilities now on his shoulders with the Royals, it’s impressive that his performances at the crease have not been affected. He’ll now be hoping to lead his team to the playoffs at the end of the regular season.
All three players are sure to be in contention for being named the 2021 IPL MVP. The last Indian to win that award was Virat Kohli in 2016.