Covid-19 concerns had suspended the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) indefinitely earlier this year, but IPL 2021 is all set to resume from September 19 onwards, this time in the UAE. 29 matches were played during the first half of the season where Delhi Capitals emerged on top followed by Chennai Super Kings while Sunrisers Hyderabad languished to the bottom of the table with just one win. With just four days left before the resumption of the league which will see quite a few changes in personnel, we take a look at some of the top moments from the first half of the 14th season.
Jadeja, Jadeja everywhere...
In his first four games this season, Harshal Patel emerged as a sensation in the death overs picking 10 wickets at an economy rate of 5.88 for RCB until he ran into Ravindra Jadeja. He bowled two overs in the death in the match against Chennai Super Kings where he conceded just five runs and picked the wicket of Ambati Rayudu, which was his third wicket in the match. His figures, until the final over, stood at 3 for 14 in three overs before Jadeja disrupted the figure. He smashed five sixes, including one off a no-ball, and a boundary to score a record-equalling 37 runs as Chennai finished with a total of 191 for 4.
Pollard's 'One Man Show'
IPL's El Clasico lived up to the expectation. Chasing 219 runs at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, Mumbai were reduced to 81 for three in the 10th over when Kieron Pollard stepped in. The asking rate had soared to almost 14 and then to 16at the end of the 12th over before Pollard three consecutive sixes off Jadeja and then took on Lungi Ngidi and Shardul Thakur. He muscled six boundaries and eight sixes and was ably assisted by both the Pandya brothers as Mumbai reduced the question to 16 required off the final over. Pollard 'Nat-megged' the first ball from Ngidi through backward square leg and pulled the next ball, a high full toss, to the fine leg boundary before clearing the backward square leg fence in the penultimate over to help Mumbai pull off a successful chase.
Harpreet Brar's match-turning 3/19
Harpreet Brar is not a known face in the IPL circuit. Until the start of this season, the 25-year-old played only three matches in IPL - two in 2019 and one in 2020. In the 14th season, he did not get a game until Punjab Kings' seventh game, against RCB. And by the end of that night, Harpreet became a sensation.
Introduced after the powerplay, he was welcomed with a six by Virat Kohli and conceded 19 runs in his first two overs. He was brought back into the attack in the 11th over and dismissed Kohli and Maxwell in consecutive deliveries before dismissing AB de Villiers in his final over.
4,4,4,4,4,4: The Prithvi Sh(o)aw
Unlike death-over slogging, a flurry of boundaries in the powerplay isn't something you often come about. Delhi Capitals' chase against Kolkata Knight Riders in Ahmedabad was one such sight, with Prithvi Shaw as cynosure. Chasing 155 after Andre Russell's late flourish, Shaw killed KKR's fighting chance with six consecutive boundaries against Shivam Mavi as he single-handedly dropped the required rate from 7.75 to 6.84 at the end of that over. Shaw's carnage continued as he brought up the quickest half-century in IPL 2021, off 18 balls, en route to his 41-ball knock of 82 runs. The Capitals won the match by seven wickets.
Jos Buttler's maiden T20 hundred
In his first six games, Buttler managed only 130 runs at a strike rate of 127.5. The onus was on the English opener with no Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone and Sanju Samson's inconsistency. And he lived up to the expectation in the match against SRH where he scored his first T20 century en route to his 64-ball knock of 124 runs that helped the Royals set up a total of 220 before scripting a 55-run win. He started off on a quiet note, reaching 35 off 33 and took six more deliveries to complete his half-century but blasted off from there on smashing 21 runs off Mohammad Nabi and 24 off Sandeep Sharma to reach his maiden triple-figure mark in his 260th appearance in the format.