The Orange Cap is the most coveted aspiration for every batsman in IPL. A batsman gets it only if he outscores every other batsman in the season. From Sachin to Kohli, some of the prolific run-getters ever to play cricket have donned the Orange Cap at different points in time.
Orange Cap 2020:
The 2020 edition saw KL Rahul rise to the occasion and claim the coveted cap. Leading Punjab Kings from the front, Rahul raked up 670 runs, peppered with a fabulous century and five fifty-plus scores. Add to it an average of 53.90 and strike rate of 129.34, Rahul was easily the most dominant batsman and often the lone warrior for an otherwise struggling Punjab Kings.
Rahul debuted in IPL in the 2013 edition for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) but shifted to the Sunrises Hyderabad the very next season. He aggregated 397 runs in 14 outings to finish the season as the third-highest scorer for SRH. Come 2018, Rahul joined the Kings XI Punjab for a hefty paycheque of 11 Crores, becoming the joint 3rd highest-paid player that year.
In the 2018 season, Rahul came into his own, scoring 659 runs in 14 outings with six fifty-plus scores. IPL’s fastest fifty ever (off 14 balls) came in this edition from Rahul’s blade. Despite three ninety-plus scores, he missed a century. He carried his tremendous form to the next edition, amassing 593 runs. Rahul is the only batsman to score 500+ runs in 3 consecutive editions.
Rahul has always been a special talent with the rare ability to pick the ball early and time and place it to perfection. He has all shots in the book and executes them with sublime elegance, no matter what the format, condition or attack. He has a knack for scoring big runs, quickly at that, whether opening the innings or playing down the order. Plus, he is decent at keeping wickets.
Prediction for 2021 Orange Cap:
Who’ll earn the Orange Cap in the 2021 edition? Only time will tell. But we have some serious contenders who were scoring consistently until the edition was temporarily called off.
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With the remaining leg of IPL being shifted to the UAE, we may see other batsmen make their way to the top of the leaderboard. But if the present status is something to go by, Shikhar is the leading scorer with 380 runs, and perhaps the strongest contender for the Orange Cap.
Before being ruled out of the IPL due to medical reasons, Rahul has hit the purple patch and looked good to retain the coveted cap. A fit Rahul is still in the race, should he retain his form? It’s a fine opportunity for the former SA captain, Faf du Plessis to brush off the “underrated player” tag with an Orange Cap-worthy performance when the IPL 2021 edition resumes.