The second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) is all set to be held in the UAE from September 19 onwards. The first half of the event that took place in India had to be suspended owing to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the bio-bubble. Teams have already begun assembling in the UAE ahead of the second half. Franchises will be familiar with the venue as the entire IPL 2020 was held here. The India leg of IPL 2021 saw Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal cracking their maiden IPL hundreds. Can we have more in the second half? Here are some contenders.
1. Prithvi Shaw
The young Delhi Capitals (DC) opener was in marauding form with the willow in the first half. He clobbered 308 runs in eight games at an exceptional strike rate of 166.48. Prithvi Shaw cracked three fifties in the India leg with a best of 82 off 41 balls against KKR. This performance included six fours off the first over in DC’s innings bowled by Shivam Mavi. Every time he came out to the middle, Shaw looked to take on the bowlers and tasted impressive success in his endeavour. He has the highest IPL score of 99, registered in 2019.
2. Faf du Plessis
The CSK opener will return to the second half of IPL 2021. Doubts were raised regarding Faf du Plessis’participation after he was ruled out of The Hundred, having failed to recover from the concussion he suffered during the PSL. But the South African is nearing full fitness now. Du Plessis had a brilliant run during the first half of IPL 2021. Opening the innings, he smashed 320 runs in seven matches at a strike rate of 145.45. Du Plessis crossed the fifty mark four times and came close to a hundred, remaining unbeaten on 95 off 60 balls in a game against KKR.
3. Ishan Kishan
The young MI batter had a torrid time on slow pitches during the India leg of IPL 2021. He scored only 73 runs in five games at a terrible strike rate of 82.95. However, UAE is a venue where Ishan first came to prominence in the IPL. He totalled 516 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 145.76 during IPL 2020. The hard-hitting left-hander struck four fifties, with a best of 99 off 58 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). If he gets going in the UAE again, there is no reason why he cannot cross the magic three-figure mark.
4. Glenn Maxwell
Having struggled for consistency over the years in the IPL, Big Show Glenn Maxwell finally performed closer to potential, turning out for RCB in the first half of IPL 2021. He impressed with 223 runs in seven games at a strike rate of 144.80, twice crossing the half-century mark. Maxwell had the highest score of 78 in the India leg of this year’s event. Overall, his highest in the event is 95, which he whacked more than once during the 2014 edition, his most prolific season so far. Even batting at No. 4, he is good enough to strike a hundred on his day.
5. Suryakumar Yadav
So much has changed for MI’s Suryakumar Yadav over the last few months. After what seemed like a never-ending wait, he finally made his international debut against England earlier this year, and an impressive debut it was, whipping Jofra Archer for a first-ball six. Since, Yadav has tasted success in Sri Lanka as well, following which he has been sent to England for the Test series. The man who has been consistently personified in the IPL, has smashed over 400 runs in every season from 2018 to 2020. In IPL 2021, he has 173 runs from seven games. Slightly below par but he can still make up for it. His highest IPL score of 79 not out also doesn’t suit his delightful talent.