IPL 2021: We are almost in touching distance of the second phase of the Indian Premier League that will be kicking off on the 19th of September with a blockbuster clash between reigning champions, Mumbai Indians and resurgent Chennai Super Kings.
The second phase of the fray will see a couple of paradigm shifts in terms of the pecking orders of various outfits considering the withdrawal of several illustrious players and the accommodation of newcomers.
Taking all the necessary modulations into account, we would like to rate the teams for the second half of the tournament that will finally stay witness to the conclusion of this year’s domestic extravaganza.
#1 Delhi Capitals – 9 out of 10
The team currently at the top of the points table will remain intact as none of their players have withdrawn. With the party arriving back in UAE, fast bowlers like Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada will find their footing again, a fact that was crucial in shaping Delhi’s fortunes in the preceding year. They already have a strong batting line-up that stars the likes of Stoinis, Shreyas Iyer, Pant, Dhawan and Shaw. One of their primary advantages is the solid Indian base that they have in the forms of Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Axar Patel. All these factors coming together will be crucial in keeping Delhi afloat at the top.
#2 Chennai Super Kings – 9 out of 10
After a forgettable illustration in the preceding season, Chennai Super Kings is back to their formidable form in the ongoing edition of the tournament as the outfit was able to strike the perfect balance that lacked last year. With the arrival of Moeen Ali this year, the dynamics changed for the Yellow army. He was able to inject the much-needed acceleration in the middle while Raina’s return gave them a better hope. Du Plessis managed to stage a couple of decent performances wherein their bowlers made a great effort to defend the totals on the board. Everything that Chennai has done this season have been a success. More importantly, a strong base of Indian cricketers like Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur has allowed the Yellow Army to pull off decent displays in the tournament.
#3 Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8 out of 10
Probably they could have secured a better rating but a multitude of changes on their side will pose a lot of questions. With the inclusion of Hasaranga, Tim David and George Garton, the team has found great replacements for their departed players. However, we have previously seen giants of the game crumbling under the pressure of the IPL. Unless the monikers are put to the litmus test in the second edition, it is hard to predict how they would eventually emerge. With all said and done, they still have a brilliant squad at their behest that brags about the likes of Padikkal, Kohli, ABD, Maxwell, Siraj and Jamieson. We are all aware of the destruction that the middle-order trio of Maxwell, Kohli and De Villers can inflict upon their counterparts and Kyle Jamieson’s electrifying form in all formats of the sport has been eerily brilliant. The man’s first season in IPL has been a hit so far and he would continue to be RCB’s trump card as the season resumes. Another name that must be mentioned is Harshal Patel. A surprise pick who is now the holder of the Purple Cap with 17 wickets from 7 games. Combine the aforementioned factors and it will be a combustible display for all cricket fans across the globe.
#4 Mumbai Indians – 7 out of 10
The reigning champions had a questionable start to the campaign after a defeat in their opener and a near escape in the following game. Their batters have struggled vehemently but a scintillating display from the bowlers has managed to keep them afloat in the fourth position of the table. Rohit Sharma and De Kock’s presence will be imperative for the likes of Indians while Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav will be crucial to define the middle order. Late pyrotechnics from Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard will be the cherry on the cake for the Indians. They have an excellent bowling line-up in Bumrah, Chahar, Krunal Pandya and Trent Boult. Marco Jansen has also managed to prise out a couple of decent displays however, with new circumstances around the South African fast bowler, it will be interesting to watch how the beanpole copes with it.
#5 Rajasthan Royals – 5.5 out of 10
Rajasthan Royals has struggled vehemently in this tournament. Despite being stationed in the fifth position of the table, they have only managed to win three games out of their seven. They will not be able to avail the services of their primary players like Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes. Though they have managed to sign a couple of decent replacements in Tabraiz Shamsi and Glenn Phillips, a lot will rely on the likes of their most expensive all-rounder, Chris Morris. The man has so far lived up to his exorbitant billing and will be a major factor in shaping the fortunes of the game. David Miller and Mustafizur Rahman will also be crucial to the Royals considering the fact that these are the best remaining foreigners in the line-up. Mustafizur Rahman is in brilliant form and will be a major game-changer if the Royals are to stay afloat in the tournament.
#6 Punjab Kings – 5 out of 10
Punjab Kings will be raring to change a lot of calculations as the tournament begins. They have already been the victim of poor team management as they opted for Ravi Bishnoi quite late in the tournament. They will have to use Chris Gayle in a proper manner to maximize the amount of destruction that the titan brings along with himself. Rahul has also been a major game-changer for Punjab and his contributions at the top are equally important for the Red army. The discovery of Harpreet Brar will bring a lease of fresh life in the marred campaigns of Punjab and being in a much-better state from last time, it won’t be surprising if they manage to claim a berth in the play-offs.
#7 Kolkata Knight Riders – 4 out of 10
KKR is one of the most unbalanced teams in the tournament. With an exceptionally poor batting line-up, the team is staring at a darker void as their star performer, Pat Cummins won’t be returning for the second phase of the tournament. Surprisingly, they have not used the likes of Ben Cutting and Tim Seifert until now despite both the monikers being equally impressive in the shortest format of the sport. Their over-reliability on Andre Russell has been costing them dearly. Sunil Narine has also been a big flop and a poor Indian base of players has made life miserable for the Knights. Not much hope seems to be available for the KKR franchise but the inclusion of Southee may spark a few smiles.
#8 Sunrisers Hyderabad – 3.5 out of 10
A formidable force previously tried to play a hand at being the ambassador for youth but the youngsters they have roped in have mostly failed and miserably. Warner and Bairstow have been the best bet for Sunrisers. However, with Bairstow pulling out of the league, it will be an interesting point that whom will the Orange Army pick in his place. Kane Williamson will have to pull off a few remarkable knocks to keep the Sunrisers in a piece but so far the showdowns by Hyderabad have been downright abysmal and as the points table suggests, they are at the rock-bottom of the pecking order.