The cricket extravaganza, IPL 2021, is back after the first phase of the tournament was being suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The second phase of the marquee tournament is all set to kick start from 19th September (Sunday). There was no shortage of entertainment in the first leg of the tournament and it is expected that the second phase of the cash-rich league will be more enthralling and excited. The UAE-leg of the tournament will begin with an EL- Classico of IPL between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings with a summit clash set to be played on 15th October.
The first leg of the IPL 2021 saw many jaw-dropping performances with both bat as well as with the ball. While Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan leads the orange cap charts, RCB’s Harshal Patel is the purple cap holder. With half of the tournament yet to be played, it is almost certain that the numbers will be changed.
Former Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir feels that Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul is yet to show his class in white-ball cricket and IPL. He added that the wicketkeeper-batsman can hit 2-3 hundreds in a season similar to how Virat Kohli did in (2016). Gambhir also said a prolific season will help reduce the pressure on Rahul’s team which is suffering from the poor form of overseas players.
“We haven’t seen the best of KL Rahul. Yes, he has got runs, but we still haven’t seen, what he can achieve in his batting. You could have a season like Virat Kohli had once. He’s that kind of a player in white-ball cricket, where he can get 2-3 hundred in a season and at a very good strike rate as well. And I hope that it happens, because it has been a disappointment for Punjab Kings. After all, last time around, they had put a lot of faith on Glenn Maxwell and he didn’t fire; this time around Nicholas Pooran didn’t fire. When you start putting a lot of faith in International players and they don’t perform, so it puts a lot of pressure on the captain as well.” he said.
Notably, KL Rahul over the last few years has been one of the leading batsmen in the IPL, averaging over 50 in the last three seasons. In the 2021 edition of the tournament, the PBKS skipper is placed second in the list of orange cap holders with 331 runs to his name so far. Not to be surprised the swashbuckling batsman has scored runs at a staggering average of 66 and has notched four half-centuries so far.
Punjab Kings didn’t have the best of the first half of the IPL 2021 as they would’ve wanted. As in 8 matches so far they have won only three matches and are placed sixth on the points table with 6 points in their bag. The KL Rahul-led side would be hoping to start the second half on a positive note and would be eyeing their first IPL title. They will begin their campaign of the UAE-led against Rajasthan Royals on 21st September at Dubai Cricket stadium.