This year’s Indian Premier League has seen a fair bit of games already and some teams look much stronger and balanced than the others. With four teams playing in Chennai so far and the other four in Mumbai, some have adjusted to the conditions well while others have struggled to get themselves running.
While Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad have begun their campaigns in Chennai, the likes of Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals have played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Each team has played three games in the initial venues, to begin with. Some of the franchises have now switched to opposite cities for the next leg of games before moving to the remaining venues.
Following the matches, only one team remained unbeaten after the first phase
Not many would have believed that to be the case when the tournament started on April 9. Virat Kohli‘s RCB has emerged winners in the first three games they’ve played and have been the only unbeaten team in the competition. They are followed by CSK, DC and MI, who have all won two out of three games while KKR, RR and PKS have won one each. David Warner‘s SRH is yet to register a single win so far and have lost all the games they’ve played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
RCB has been a dominant force with their big-money buy from Australia Glenn Maxwell turning up and finally justifying the price tag. Maxwell has shined with the bat and will be in the race for the ‘Orange Cap’ if he continues to score runs the way he has been so far. Mumbai have also looked a good outfit as always and MS Dhoni‘s Chennai seems to have rectified last year’s mistakes and gelled well following the arrivals of Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham.
MI have stolen victories from the jaws of defeat against KKR and SRH following their loss to RCB on the opening day of the tournament. Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Chahar have shined on different occasions for the franchise as they continue to be one of the toughest sides to beat despite the close loss to RCB on April 9.
CSK, on the other hand, has been elevated by the returning Suresh Raina and Moeen. Raina has shown once again why he is so important to the team and scored runs coming in the middle-order while Moeen has scored runs at No.3 and taken wickets with the ball too. England all-rounder Sam Curran continues to do the job asked of him while Deepak Chahar has been impressive with the ball as well. However, CSK would like to have Dhoni back in form as he has failed to fire so far.
Last year’s runners up DC also look a good unit despite losing regular captain Shreyas Iyer due to a shoulder injury before the tournament and getting the services of South African duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje late because of quarantine rules and COVID to the latter. Delhi’s batting has been driven by Shikhar Dhawan who leads the charts so far in terms of runs scored and continues to be in good form with the bat.
As for the other teams, despite a win for KKR, RR and PKS, they have looked lacklustre overall and haven’t given out the vibes of posing any threat to the ones above. There is a lot of time left in the tournament and they can always stage a comeback but RCB look like a dangerous side and beating them will be a challenge despite captain Kohli not being in form yet. The arrival of Maxwell has given them options across the batting line-up and they have convincingly defeated every one so far and look like the real deal this season.
But, IPL 2021 will be played across six different venues and that could also dictate who does well with some teams suiting some tracks more than others. The 56 league games will be played in six venues — Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Ahmedabad with the final being played at the Narendra Modi Stadium on May 30.