The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) was indefinitely suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis in the country. Just as the league had entered the second round of fixtures, the news of its premature halt broke. By Sunday, May 2, 29 matches had been played and the world witnessed some exceptional knocks by some of the top players in the world. As the suspense on its resumption continues to loom, let’s take a look at the top-5 batting performances from IPL 2021.
1) Kieron Pollard: Mumbai Indians’ all-rounder Kieron Pollard had been uninspiring with the bat in MI’s first six games. He’d only scored 81 runs, with his highest being an unbeaten 35 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Come May 1, Saturday, Pollard–who had hit six sixes in an over against Sri Lanka in a bilateral T20I series before the tournament– wreaked havoc on the Chennai Super Kings bowlers.
Defending champions Mumbai were chasing a mammoth 219 in 20 overs after a late blitz from CSK’s Ambati Rayudu. Mumbai lost an early wicket and at the halfway stage and found themselves reeling at 81/3. Pollard then rose to the occasion to blast an unbeaten 87 off just 34 balls to guide his side to a four-wicket victory in Delhi. His blitzkrieg included six fours and eight sixes as MI snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
2) Ravindra Jadeja: The rise of Ravindra Jadeja as a batsman in the last couple of years has been exceptional. Known for his left-arm spin and fielding prowess, the southpaw has stepped up with the bat more often than not in recent times. The story was no different against Royal Challengers Bangalore in match 19 of IPL 2021.
Opting to bat first, CSK surged to a strong start courtesy of openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis. RCB managed to peg the run flow considerably towards the back end of the innings. However, one final twist was yet to unfold. Jadeja smashed Purple Cap holder Harshal Patel for 37 in the final over of the innings to take CSK to a match-winning score of 191/4 in 20 overs. The feat included five maximums and Jadeja remained unbeaten on 62 off just 28 balls. Three-time champions CSK went on to register a 69-run win.
3) Devdutt Padikkal: The stylish Karnataka batsman broke into the scene during his maiden IPL season in 2020. He amassed 473 runs in 16 matches to seal his spot for the next season. In the build-up to the tournament, he enjoyed a successful domestic season and carried his good form into the tournament.
Despite missing out on the opening game of IPL 2021 due to testing positive for the coronavirus, Devdutt Padikkal started his campaign on a positive note. He was able to get decent starts but failed to capitalize on them; until match 16 against Rajasthan Royals of course.
RCB were set a target of 178 at Mumbai’s Wankhede. Opening the batting with skipper Virat Kohli, Padikkal brought up his maiden IPL century to take his side to a comprehensive 10-wicket win. His knock of 101 off 52 balls included 11 fours and six sixes. Padikkal is a clean striker of the ball who scores runs off traditional shots just like his skipper, who scored a 42-ball 72 on the night.
4) Sanju Samson: Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson, in IPL 2021, did what he does best; that is to begin the lucrative league on a high. In match 4 of IPl 2021, he smashed 119 off 63 balls against Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.
Sent into bat, PBKS posted a massive 221/6 in 20 overs. RR stuttered in their chase, losing wickets at regular intervals. Samson continued to hold one end as he began running out of partners. The Kerala batsman showcased elaborate shot-making, taking the opposition bowlers to the cleaners and kept his side’s ship afloat till the end. He hit 12 fours and 7 sixes during his sensational knock but failed to take his team over the line as RR fell short by 4 runs.
5) AB de Villiers: He may have retired from international cricket in 2018 and he may not have been playing competitive cricket regularly but that hasn’t stopped South Africa’s AB de Villiers from showing everyone why he is still one of the best in the business. His knock in match 22 against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad bears testament.
The wicketkeeper-batsman walked in at number five when his team’s scorecard read 60/3 after 9 overs. Kohli, Padikka, and Glenn Maxwell already been dismissed. AB started off cautiously to steady RCB’s boat and then took on the bowlers from 15th over onwards. He smashed Marcus Stoinis for three sixes in the final over of the innings to finish unbeaten on 74 off 42 balls to guide his side to a match-winning total of 171/5. Eventually, RCB claimed the contest by 1 run with the final over proving to be the difference.