As we enter the final and decisive phase of IPL 2021, Indian cricket fans are excited about what the future has in its hand for the upcoming T20 World Cup that is slated to begin on October 17.
The blockbuster clash of the cricket extravaganza is going to be India vs Pakistan Super 12 match on October 24 in Dubai. With the stakes being as high as the bragging rights of age-old neighbouring rivalry, it is important to see how good the 15-man Indian squad has fared in the ongoing UAE leg of IPL 2021; especially when the venues are the same for the T20 WC.
Virat Kohli (C)
Virat Kohli days as T20 captain is numbered as this is going to be his last assignment with Indian T20 World Cup; likewise with RCB in the IPL. Kohli has made a good case for himself captaincy wise as the team finished among play-off spots for the second season running and are gunning for the title after a last-ball win against table-toppers Delhi Capitals.
Batting-wise, the skipper has blown hot and cold in the IPL. The 32-year-old right-handed batsman, likely to open in WC, started off well with two fifties at the beginning of the UAE leg but has struggled to keep up with his form on deteriorating UAE pitches.
IPL UAE leg stats:
Innings so far: 7
Highest score: 53
Rohit Sharma (VC)
The likely successor of Kohli after the World Cup, Rohit Sharma had an unforgettable outing as captain and batsmen both with Mumbai Indians, who failed to reach the play-offs for the first time in four years.
While the defending champions struggled to notch up wins at the early stages of the second leg of the tournament, Sharma started off well with two 30-plus innings but his form only diminished from there on as the 34-year-old opener went past the 20-run mark just once in his last four innings.
Innings so far: 6
Highest score: 43
Punjab Kings might have missed the play-off spot by the virtue of net run rate but as far as the form of their captain KL Rahul is concerned, there is little to complain. The 29-year-old right-handed batter shot two fifties and a 49 (against Royals) while capping off the season with a 98 not out against CSK.
Highest score: 98*
Suryakumar Yadav ended his IPL campaign with a bang as his splitfire 82 against SRH was a treat to watch. However, his consistency remains in question as this was the only time in the last seven innings the top-order batter scored over 50. Alarmingly, in five of the innings, he didn't go beyond 13.
Highest score: 82
Much like his MI teammate above, Ishan Kishan als had a hit or miss season with runs not flowing fluently off his bat in the UAE. However, to the southpaw's credit, he returned to form with two consecutive fifties in the last league matches including a 84-run hammering of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Highest score: 84
Rishabh Pant had an amazing outing as the Delhi Capitals captain as his team topped the league stages with 10 wins (including four wins in the UAE leg). However, batting-wise the 23-year-old southpaw is yet to fire big. That could be largely to do with him batting at no.4 but his form in last two innings (10 & 15 runs) raises a concern over his form and will have a stiff battle with Kishan for wicket-keeping spot.
Innings so far: 6
Highest score: 39
Question mark is raised over Hardik Pandya's inclusion as the all-rounder hasn't fired in the UAE leg at all while he is yet to begin bowling for MI since his return form injury earlier this year. Rohit Sharma hinted that Pandya might begin bowling as early as next week but that doesn't guarantee he will be effective with the ball form the word go.
Highest score: 40*
Ravindra Jadeja has been a crucial member of the CSK contingent as his cameos down the order has often helped the side in deciding matches. He has struggled to pick wickets effectively but has often been economical with the conditions in his favour.
Highest score: 32*
Wickets: 4 (in 7 matches)
Best figure: 2/28
Axar Patel has been a consistent performer with the bowl as the left-arm orthodox has been an effective strike bowlers for the side while containing runs with tight line and length at the same time; making him a quality addition to the side. His batting, however, has been ignorable and could be the reason behind him not finding a spot in the XI.
Best bowling figure: 3/21
Batting Innings: 4
Highest score: 12
R Ashwin was expected to be a valuable asset in the UAE conditions and the years of experience he possesses as a senior spinner of Indian team. However, the recent performances suggest that he is not as effective as he was expected to be and struggled to pick wickets in bunch. Ashwin doesn't have much to show with the bat but did play a crucial knock down the order in a win against Mumbai Indians.
Best bowling figure: 1/20
Batting Innings: 4
Highest score: 20*
Rahul Chahar is seen as a talent for the future but his recent performance in the IPL suggests that BCCI was too quick to draft him in the World Cup squad. Playing just four games in the second leg, the wrist spinner picked just two wickets while failing to contain runs.
Best bowling figure: 1/27
KKR's mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy made the most of the conditions during the UAE phase and played a big hand in KKR's comeback into the play-offs. The 30-year-old tweaker wasn't just pivotal with wickets but proved economical as well whether asked to bowl in the powerplays or middle overs.
Best bowling figure: 3/13
Mumbai Indians had problem in numbers during the course of the season but Jasprit Bumrah wasn't one of them. The frontline pacer always provided wicket when his team needed but often lacked consistent support from the other end.
Best bowling figure: 3/36
Mohammed Shami has been same for Punjab Kings what Bumrah has been for MI. Often lacking support from the other end, Shami led a lone battle against rivals'batting and has been immensely succesfull in the format over the last one year. The pacer has been ideal with swinging the new ball or finding the yorker lengths at will during the death overs.
Best bowling figure: 3/21
Bhuvneshwar Kumar appears to be the weakest link among the pacers as he wildly struggled with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the bottom of the table. His peformances suggested he is a pale shadow of himself before injury kept him out for a large part of the ongoing season.
Best bowling figure: 1/28