Kartikay Dutta, Undergraduate Batch of 2023 While most of us don’t associate the Indian Premier League
Amiya Kumar and Rohan Agarwal, Undergraduate Batch of 2023
The latest season of the Indian Premier League has been hotly debated by cricket fanatics, news channels and the public. While some believe that the tournament acted as a medium of escape and provided a degree of mental respite in these trying times, others are of the opinion that it is extremely insensitive to celebrate the glory of sports, while India battles a deadly second wave of the COVID-19 virus. With the recent news of several players testing positive within the bio-bubble and a surge in coronavirus cases across India, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to postpone the tournament indefinitely. Given the current circumstances and uncertainty around when (or whether) the tournament will resume, we wondered what our awards would be if this is the official end of the season. After carefully reviewing all the performances so far, we present to you – The Edict’s IPL 2021 Season Awards.
Note: The data published is as of Monday, 3rd May after Match 29 between PBKS and DC, after which the tournament was indefinitely postponed.
1. Emerging Batsman : Prithvi Shaw (Delhi Capitals)
After an extremely impressive Vijay Hazare Trophy where Prithvi Shaw averaged a whopping 165.4, many expected him to put his recent struggles behind and carry his rich vein of form into the IPL. Shaw arguably went on to become the most fierce Powerplay batsman in the IPL this season. He was fourth in the race for the Orange Cap when the season was suspended, and provided a massive helping hand to his in-form opening partner Shikhar Dhawan. The duo was the key component to Delhi’s success in 2021. Shaw had the highest strike rate in the IPL (minimum 100 balls faced), striking at an impressive 166.5 while amassing 308 runs in the process. The highlight of his tournament was the six consecutive fours he hit in Shivam Mavi’s opening over versus KKR.
Honourable Mention: After three consecutive fifties towards the end of last season, Ruturaj Gaikwad left little to no doubt about his immense talent. This season, Gaikwad began slowly but then went on to repay Chennai’s faith in him, accumulating 198 runs in 7 matches at a strike rate just shy of 130. His performance against the tricky Rashid Khan was particularly commendable.
2. Emerging Bowler: Avesh Khan
When one looked at Delhi Capital’s squad at the start of the season, they would have seldom thought Avesh Khan would become DC’s ace bowler. Due to the unavailability of Ishant Sharma and their South African speedsters in the first game, Khan was given a surprise opportunity vs CSK. The youngster dismissed MS Dhoni and the since-prolific Faf Du Plessis for nought. Delhi’s unsung hero did not look back from thereon and collected 14 wickets, and was second in the race for the purple cap when the season was suspended. Khan bowled at an economy of 7.7 and an average of 16.5 – both phenomenal numbers for a youngster at this level. He also nailed his yorkers in the death throughout the season, while outperforming his more popular teammate and last year’s purple cap winner, Kagiso Rabada.
Honourable Mention: Players like Chetan Sakaria are why we truly love the IPL. Yet another unknown young player suddenly emerged to prominence when Rajasthan Royals picked him up in the auction. Sakaria generated the most swing in the Powerplay out of all the new-ball bowlers and was a vital cog in the death overs as well for the Royals. He picked up 7 wickets in 7 matches at a reasonable economy of 8.2, whilst also taking some tidy catches on the field.
3. Most Valuable Batsman: Shikhar Dhawan
India’s swashbuckling opener, Shikhar Dhawan, was in excellent form right from the start of the tournament. His consistent performances helped Delhi Capitals secure top spot in the points table, albeit having played a match more than the rest of the teams in the top half. With an impressive average of 54.28 and a total of 380 runs from eight innings -he has also been crowned with the Orange cap. Shikhar’s most noteworthy performance was against the Punjab Kings, where he made 92 off 49 balls. His ability to pummel some of the most prominent bowlers may have just been the cutting edge DC have longed for to finally lay their hands on a trophy.
Honourable mention: On par with the previous two seasons, KL Rahul was in outstanding form with an astounding average of 66.20. The possibility of him being ruled out of this season due to abdominal pain would have been a massive setback for the Punjab Kings, who were just beginning to get into their stride.
More notably, Faf du Plessis scored four back to back half-centuries for the Super Kings and was not far behind KL with an average of 64 and a total of 320 runs. When things looked uncertain for KL due to his illness, Faf had a fantastic chance of claiming the Orange Cap.
4. Most Valuable Bowler: Harshal Patel
Since 2012, Harshal Patel has struggled to become a regular fixture. After years of obscurity, he finally set the stage on fire in 2021. The right-arm seamer was RCB’s best bet for bowling yorkers in the death overs. The only batsman that legitimately plummeted him in the death was an inspired Ravindra Jadeja, who scored a historic 37 runs in Patel’s final over during the match between the two teams. Nevertheless, he has managed to take seventeen wickets in only 7 innings with an economy of 9.17, therefore proving that RCB made the right decision by trading him from DC.
Honourable Mention: Even though Mumbai Indian’s performances this season have been lackluster on multiple occasions, Rahul Chahar has repeatedly bamboozled opposition teams with his magnificent bowling skills. With a total of 11 wickets, he too is a worthy contender for the Purple Cap.
5. Moment of the Tournament: Harpreet Brar’s Match Winning Spell
Harpreet Brar is a champion in the making, a young man to watch out for and a soon to be cricketing star. He left us all awestruck by taking Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s wicket and receiving a post-match pat on the back from the skipper himself, who vehemently dislikes being dismissed. Jasprit Bumrah is the only player before Brar who can boast of Kohli being their maiden wicket. We can only hope that the young left-arm spinner emulates Bumrah’s success. His spell was only made better by what he did almost immediately after his maiden IPL wicket. Brar proceeded to scalp cricketing legend AB de Villiers and ‘The Big Show’, Glenn Maxwell’s wickets in quick succession to effectively win the game for the Kings. This is definitely too early, but has the Indian Men’s Cricket Team unearthed yet another valuable asset for the future thanks to the IPL?
Honourable mention: Pollard’s 87 off just 34 balls against the Chennai Super Kings, which left fans in disbelief is a very worthy shout for this award as well. The game seemed to be quickly slipping away from Mumbai’s grasp when Pollard walked in, but the big West Indian carried his team home with arguably one of the greatest displays of power-hitting the IPL has seen in recent times.
6. Disappointment of the Season: Mumbai Indians
The performances of Mumbai Indians in this IPL after winning two consecutive IPLs, were certainly surprising. One of the biggest reasons behind Mumbai’s success over the years has been the strength of their Indian contingent and their strategy to essentially stick to the same eleven for each game. This season, however, the performances of some Indian players lacked the same poise as in previous seasons with the likes of Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya struggling for runs with the bat, while Jasprit Bumrah’s wicket-taking ability seemed to have taken a blow as well. Many expected Mumbai Indians to hit the ground running, especially considering the impressive performances by Suryakumar Yadav and Kishan on national duty, but it wasn’t to be.
There were problems collectively as well as the side, known to be dominant at Wankhede, struggled to adjust to the conditions of Chepauk, while their bowling unit that started well, proceeded to find the conditions in Delhi a hassle as well. Nevertheless, Mumbai’s reputation as kings of the late comebacks in the competition coupled with their exhilarating performance versus the Super Kings provided a brief reminder about their ability and that they still meant business.
7. Signing of the season: Moeen Ali
After a disappointing 2020 season, Chennai Super Kings find themselves back in contention for the title despite many pundits suggesting a bottom half finish before the 2021 edition began. One of the reasons behind this success was the acquisition of Moeen Ali from Royal Challengers Bangalore. Many doubted the signing of the English all-rounder for what was initially thought to be an inflated price. However, the CSK management used Moeen Ali in a role never seen before and bore fruit for the same. Ali batted at number 3 in a radical role which has been key in maintaining the team’s run rate through the middle overs. His six-hitting ability has been a boon for the men in yellow.
He was more than handy with the ball as well. Under the tutelage of MS Dhoni, his spin bowling abilities were vital and it made us momentarily wonder where this version of Moeen Ali was in previous editions of the IPL. He will definitely be an interesting sight at the World T20 later this year as well, if indeed the tournament does take place.