What was begun, must now be completed. Half done is effort wasted. And so, IPL 2021 is set to resume, bringing with it the inevitable gamut of expectations, excitement and speculation over potential team combinations.
However, the discussion this time is slightly different. This is unchartered territory, unlike any other pre-tournament build up. This is almost akin to a winter break in football. Or perhaps like the Champions League knockout rounds kicking off a few months after the conclusion of its group stages.
IPL 2021 has been – like any other walk of life – affected by the sinister reality of our time. There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the T20 tournament. These have ranged from those regarding the pandemic to India’s participation in the fifth Test match against England at Manchester.
These things, however, are now academic as the dress rehearsal for the ICC T20 World Cup in UAE begins with IPL 2021 and while some teams would be hoping the break has not derailed their form or momentum, a few others would wish for a fresh beginning with better fortunes.
Here is the best playing 11 of all teams.
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Delhi Capitals
A lot has gone right for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw have complemented each other well and the fast bowlers have also delivered with Indian pacer Avesh Khan among the wickets.
The franchise will once again depend on Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje to provide breakthroughs. Meanwhile, the duo of R Ashwin and Axar Patel will have key roles to play after being selected in the T20 World Cup squad.
Delhi also welcome Shreyas Iyer back into the side but Rishabh Pant will continue as captain for the remainder of the season. Chris Woakes will be missing though, but Delhi have their bases covered.
Best playing 11: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(C) (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmeyer, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Chennai Super Kings
CSK bounced back from their disappointing campaign in 2020 to their usual selves in IPL 2021. The MS Dhoni led franchise is one of the teams to beat in this campaign, although a return to the same venue where they underperformed may evoke forgettable memories.
Chennai look a balanced unit and the form of all rounders Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja will be crucial to their success. Both men are coming off decent outings, albeit in a different format. Dhoni will also look towards Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar for big performances after the duo only made it to the traveling reserves in India’s T20 World Cup squad.
CSK’s plethora of all round options is exactly what Dhoni likes in his teams. Once again, Ruturaj Gaikwad will be tasked with scoring runs at the top, especially with a cloud over Faf du Plessis and his injury status.
Best playing 11: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C) (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli has led RCB particularly well in IPL 2021 and like the previous two teams, has lost only two games. They are third on the table and will look to finish in the play off places in consecutive seasons.
And for that to happen, they will need their big guns AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell to fire. While the former has not played cricket since the IPL was suspended, the latter did not have a good run in UAE last season. Devdutt Padikkal will also be key to RCB as he has continued his form from last season.
The absence of Washington Sundar will be a big miss and the role of Yuzvendra Chahal is thus enhanced. Sri Lankan recruit Wanindu Hasaranga might be playing the Sundar role after his performances against India recently. Harshal Patel will also be looked at given his 14 wickets so far.
Best playing 11: Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers (WK), Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Mumbai Indians
Perennial favourites Mumbai Indians were just coming into their element when IPL 2021 was suspended. Kieron Pollard inspired them to a thrilling run chase against CSK and thus, the break came at a wrong time for the habitual slow starters.
Mumbai is perhaps the most settled franchise among all and have all bases covered. At least nine of their players expected to start will be part of the upcoming T20 World Cup representing various teams.
Even as Mumbai challenge for the title, eyes will be firmly fixed on Hardik Pandya’s bowling form as well as Rohit Sharma, who has not always been at his best with the bat in this competition. Ishan Kishan will also be under the spotlight after he was picked in India’s T20 World Cup squad. So will Rahul Chahar, who has been picked ahead of Chahal as the leg spinner.
Best playing 11 – Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Adam Milne, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals has been the most affected with absentees this IPL. Their English superstars Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer will all be missing the UAE leg of the tournament. Joining them in the unavailable list is Australian T20 specialist Andrew Tye.
However, they have managed to pick up some smart replacements which includes number 1 T20 bowler in the world Tabraiz Shamsi. They have also recruited Evin Lewis, Oshane Thomas and Glenn Phillips. Liam Livingstone’s availability will also be a big boon after his exploits in The Hundred.
Among the existing players, captain Sanju Samson has been consistent and the investment in Chris Morris has also paid off. Youngster Chetan Sakariya also impressed in IPL 2021, following which he made his India debut.
Best playing 11 – Yashasvi Jaiswal, Evin Lewis, Sanju Samson (C) (WK), Liam Livingstone, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Jaydev Unadkat, Tabraiz Shamsi
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Punjab Kings
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal will once again be key for Punjab, who have been their usual inconsistent selves. When on song, they are unbeatable and when not, they are capable of throwing away games from the easiest of situations.
Self-proclaimed Universe Boss Chris Gayle will also return to the IPL, perhaps for his final time and he will be keen to get into form ahead of the T20 World Cup, wherein his team West Indies are defending champions. Another from his part of the world, Nicholas Pooran, has found his range after a torrid IPL.
Punjab, although sixth on the points table, are still in the reckoning for a playoff spot and their fortunes will hinge on the middle order in addition to how the Mohammed Shami led bowling fares. Shami, many believe, is not a first choice in T20s and hence the pacer will be keen to prove his worth.
Best playing 11 – KL Rahul (C) (WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR have flattered to majorly deceive. World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan, reunited with leadership inspiration Brendon McCullum has been unable to replicate their mutually favoured attacking approach in the IPL. The Englishman’s batting form has also deserted him.
KKR’s famed middle order engine room has not fired as a unit either, although Andre Russell had shown some form and his CPL has been productive. The finishers have not been helped by the top order either, as the top three have all scored under 120 runs per hundred balls.
Their bowling is also a concern as they are simply unable to pick wickets, sitting joint lowest this season. And after Pat Cummins pulled out, not only their bowling but also their underperforming batting has been weakened. Even though KKR will have to pull off a miracle to finish in the top four, viewers will tune in to watch how Varun Chakravarthy fares.
Best playing 11 – Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Rahul Tripathi, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
IPL 2021 Best playing 11 – SunRisers Hyderabad
SRH’s campaign has been the most surprising as they are usually a very consistent team. And doubly so because Trevor Bayliss at the helm usually guarantees success.
The implication of the poor run was felt by Mister SRH himself, David Warner as he was replaced as captain by Kane Williamson. SRH are almost out of contention for the playoff spots, barring a modern day folklore worthy heist wherein they win every game.
Jonny Bairstow’s absence makes it an easy decision for the management to push Wriddhiman Saha to the top and see for the remainder of the season who they want to retain going into the mega auction. Manish Pandey, one with much to prove, will be key if SRH are to upset a few apple carts in the business end of IPL 2021.
Best playing 11 – Wridhhiman Saha (WK), David Warner, Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Abdul Samad, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma