IPL 2021 suspended: Expected end to most exciting T20 tournament

The inevitable has taken place. Amid growing complains that the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 was being held at a time when the India has been forced on its knees with country’s people fighting their worst battles in their homes and hospitals, desperately seeking basic necessities like oxygen, beds and even medicines, it was pertinent for the authorities to take a call for the greater good. 

The debate remained divided between two factions: some said it was morally not right for the IPL to continue when the general public is going through the wrath of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, aided by the failure of the system, while the others remained confident that every night, even if for a mere four hours, IPL was bringing a great deal of distraction. 

The IPL braved all challenges and marched on, as far as to get to the halfway stage. The battle for the knockout spots was getting intense and the teams were starting to bring out their best. But this was when the worst struck—players and support staff tested positive across four teams and the authorities had to take the ultimate call of postponing or suspending, whatever you like to call it, for the time being. 

And given that the cricket calender is busy—India have the World Test Championship final against New Zealand next month, followed by a long tour of England and then the T20 World Cup—the IPL 2021 may not return. 

BIO-BUBBLES BREACHED

IPL’s bio bubbles were not safe anymore, travelling was only going to increase for teams with Kolkata and Bangalore set to be added as the latest venues, all amid the mayhem that the pandemic has been causing to the Indian public. The IPL authorities still battled right till the end; reports suggested that the Indian cricket board was looking to organise the remainder of the tournament in Mumbai. 

And all this while the IPL Governing Council remained confident of continuing with the tournament despite the exit of overseas players, but the decision was inevitably taken away from their hands by the virus which has pained the human race like no other. 

IPL 2021 POINTS TABLE

Teams

Matches

Won

Lost

Tied

No Result

Points

NRR

Delhi Capitals

8

6

2

0

0

12

0.547

Chennai Super Kings

7

5

2

0

0

10

1.263

Royal Challengers Bangalore 

7

5

2

0

0

10

-0.171

Mumbai Indians 

7

4

3

0

0

8

0.062

Rajasthan Royals 

7

3

4

0

0

6

-0.190

Punjab Kings

8

3

5

0

0

6

-0.368

Kolkata Knight Riders 

7

2

5

0

0

4

-0.494

Sunrisers Hyderabad

7

1

6

0

0

2

-0.623

As things stand, with several players in IPL teams such as Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and support staff for Chennai Super Kings testing positive, the 14th edition of the world’s most popular T20 cricket league has been postponed and it remains to be seen if at all it finds a window to be held again. 

It is very difficult to host any event, let alone an IPL T20 cricket tournament whose magnitude and appeal matches none other. This year, the quality of cricket was not only superb but also the fact that it kept the audiences hooked on to every single match, and even the worst performing teams such as Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals punched above their weight and expectations at times.

IPL 2021: MOST SUCCESSFUL BATSMEN (ORANGE CAP)

Player Team Mat Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Shikhar Dhawan Delhi Capitals 8 8 380 92 54.28 134.27 0 3
KL Rahul Punjab Kings 7 7 331 91* 66.2 136.21 0 4
Faf du Plessis Chennai Super Kings 7 7 320 95* 64 145.45 0 4
Prithvi Shaw Delhi Capitals 8 8 308 82 38.5 166.48 0 3
Sanju Samson Rajasthan Royals 7 7 277 119 46.16 145.78 1 0
Mayank Agarwal Punjab Kings 7 7 260 99* 43.33 141.3 0 2
Jos Buttler Rajasthan Royals 7 7 254 124 36.28 153.01 1 0
Rohit Sharma Mumbai Indians 7 7 250 63 35.71 128.2 0 1
Jonny Bairstow Sunrisers Hyderabad 7 7 248 63* 41.33 141.71 0 2
Glenn Maxwell Royal Challengers Bangalore 7 6 223 78 37.16 144.8 0 2

BIGGEST SUCCESS STORY

If there has to be the biggest story from IPL 2021, it was the revival of three-time winners Chennai Super Kings. The MS Dhoni-led team looked outdated, out-planned, out-manoeuvred and even out-manned in the previous edition of IPL just about six months ago. But knowing the fact that Chennai Super Kings are not the side team that goes down without fighting, they came back swinging and remained among the top teams in the tournament.

While CSK would be pleased with their performance and success in IPL 2021, teams such as Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals are particularly going to feel a little bad about how things came to an end. Royal Challengers Bangalore made a superb start: they won four matches on the trot at the start and had plenty of firepower to go all the way.

Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting announced that it did not matter to him if they played in the final last year—the Australian legend wanted his team to go one step further than they finished last time around, which meant that they were serious contenders for the title win. But the suspension of the tournament means that Delhi Capitals will have to wait for a little longer than they would have wanted. 

IPL 2021: MOST SUCCESSFUL BOWLERS (PURPLE CAP)

Player M Overs Runs W BBI Ave Econ SR
Harshal Patel 7 28 257 17 5/27 15.11 9.17 9.8
Chris Morris 7 26 224 14 4/23 16 8.61 11.1
Avesh Khan 8 30 231 14 3/32 16.5 7.7 12.8
Rahul Chahar 7 28 202 11 4/27 18.36 7.21 15.2
Rashid Khan 7 28 172 10 3/36 17.2 6.14 16.8
Sam Curran 7 25 217 9 3/34 24.11 8.68 16.6
Kyle Jamieson 7 24 221 9 3/41 24.55 9.2 16
Pat Cummins 7 26.5 237 9 3/24 26.33 8.83 17.8
Deepak Chahar 7 24 193 8 4/13 24.12 8.04 18
Trent Boult 7 26.2 223 8 3/28 27.87 8.46 19.7

The tournament also witnessed Mumbai Indians, the five-time winners and defending champions, playing the way they do. Mumbai Indians made a shaky start to the tournament and it was only in a few matches that they sparkled either with the bat or the ball but never produced a combined effort. 

THE PERENNIAL STRUGGLERS

Rajasthan Royals would indeed be a little relieved given that the plight is over. Without the services of their fast bowler Jofra Archer in IPL 2021 to losing the likes of Ben Stokes, Andrew Tye and Liam Livingstone along the way, proved to be nothing less than body blows to the Royals who kept on hurtling from one ordinary performance to another.  Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler carried the hopes with the bat for the Royals whereas Chetan Sakariya was certainly the discovery of the season for them. 

For Kolkata Knight Riders, it will be a relief as well that the tournament has ended without them being tested to the hilt. Under the uninspiring leadership of Eoin Morgan, Kolkata Knight Riders once again turned up a confused lot, not having enough firepower or experience in their bowling or batting. They kept on promoting out-of-sorts Morgan and Sunil Narine ahead of West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell, who played an innings of a lifetime against Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai in a tall chase in excess of 200. KKR batsman Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi and even Dinesh Karthik struggled for runs all along even though they did chip in with some crucial performances in between.

The IPL 2021 tournament ended with KKR star bowler Varun Chakravarthy testing positive along with Sandeep Warrier for coronavirus. The tournament was once again turning out to be a success story of the mystery spinner who had proven his mettle despite falling short on fitness standards a couple of times for selection in the national team.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, the 2016 winners started off with three defeats on the trot, remained confused in the middle as far as their style of play was concerned, looked uninspired in the leadership of David Warner who was finally removed as captain in favour of Kane Williamson and was even dropped from the playing team. With the IPL teams set to undergo a mega auction next year, it is expected that Warner will find a new team and his time at Sunrisers Hyderabad, for whom he averaged a mind-boggling 50+, it’s over.

Punjab Kings once again had a tournament replete with mixed performances. If they looked impregnable on one day, they would turn up absolutely ordinary and toothless on another. Punjab Kings should better know that their batting hopes depend entirely on KL Rahul, who also carries the responsibility of wicketkeeping and captaining the team, they will be better off if they can take some pressure of Rahul and distribute it among the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Nicolas Pooran and a few others who have been their regular players.

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