The second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) is all set to resume in the UAE from September 19. The tournament will restart with a match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI). Heading into the UAE leg, Delhi Capitals (DC) are on top of the points table. They have won six of their eight matches. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have won five of their seven games while MI complete the top four with four wins and three losses. Ahead of the second half of IPL 2021, we look at one player from each franchise who should do well.
Royal Challengers Bangalore – AB de Villiers
The South African legend may have retired from international cricket but AB de Villiers remains a force to reckon with in the IPL. He is their greatest match-winner with the bat in the team. In the first half of the IPL as well, he impressed with 207 runs in seven matches at a strike rate of 164.28 with two sizzling fifties. Last year in the UAE, he played some incredible knocks even when the pitches were not always easy to bat on.
Mumbai Indians – Jasprit Bumrah
India’s lead pacer, Jasprit Bumrah is currently making waves in England with some excellent bowling performances. He can win matches for the team irrespective of the surface because he has the skills and the expertise. It was in the IPL that Bumrah first came to the fore and has since gone on to become the leading paceman for India. Bumrah claimed 27 scalps when MI won IPL in the UAE last year.
Chennai Super Kings – Ruturaj Gaikwad
CSK had a horror run last until three fifties by Ruturaj Gaikwad in successive games gave them something to cheer about. Although he is not a big hitter of the cricket ball, Gaikwad is a smart operator, who knows how to pierce the gaps in the field. He gave glimpses of his talent in the first half of IPL 2021 as well when he cracked two sparkling fifties. Gaikwad will be keen to grow his stature.
Delhi Capitals – Shikhar Dhawan
Like old wine, the veteran cricketer seems to be getting better with age. He is the leading run-getter in IPL 2021 with 380 runs at a strike rate of 134.27 with three fifties. Last year as well, Shikhar Dhawan was No. 2 on the run-scorers list with 618 runs. He has found a way to up the ante and score at a brisk pace in recent years. Dhawan will be confident of making an impact in UAE again.
Rajasthan Royals – Chetan Sakariya
A bit of an offbeat choice here. The 23-year-old left-arm pacer from Saurashtra made a meaningful debut for Rajasthan Royals in the first half of IPL 2021. More than the stats, it was the attitude with which he bowled that was pleasing. He will be raring to make an impact in the UAE as well.
Punjab Kings – KL Rahul
Irrespective of the format, KL Rahul is in the form of his life. Currently in England, he is playing some wonderful knocks. Last season, he was like a run-machine for PBKS, notching up 670 runs even as the franchise failed to qualify. In the first half as well, he eased his way to 331 runs. There is no reason why he shouldn’t succeed in the UAE.
Kolkata Knight Riders – Pat Cummins
The Aussie speedster did well in the first half of IPL 2021, claiming nine scalps in seven games. He will be key to KKR’s fortunes with the ball along with the youngsters. Cummins has a lot of experience and variety in is bowling, which should come in handy in the UAE. He is a decent bat as well.
Sunrisers Hyderabad – Kane Williamson
The Mr. Dependable of cricket, SRH skipper Kane Williamson will have to guide the struggling franchise along. He should be able to score runs consistently as he is an extremely gifted cricketer and also loves shouldering responsibility. Williamson will be keen to add a lot more to the 128 runs he scored in four games in the Indian leg of IPL 2021.