The first week of the second phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in the UAE is over. Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Delhi Capitals (DC) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were the three standout teams from the first week. KKR’s turnaround has been particularly impressive. Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) have slipped with three consecutive defeats while Rajasthan Royals (RR), Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) continued to disappoint. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have had a mixed bag. Here’s our dream XI after week 1 of the UAE leg.
Openers – Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer
CSK’s Ruturaj scored a scintillating 88 not out to lead the team’s fightback against MI. He continued his good run by scoring 38 against RCB and 40 against KKR.
Venkatesh Iyer’s positive intent at the top of the order is exactly what KKR were seeking. He slammed an unbeaten 41 off 27 on his IPL debut against RCB and followed it up with a blazing half-century against MI.
Middle-order – Shreyas Iyer (c), Sanju Samson (w), Glenn Maxwell, Rahul Tripathi
DC’s Shreyas Iyer has batted with assurance as if he never went away. He returned to competitive cricket with an unbeaten 47 against SRH and was the man of the match for his 43 on a tough batting surface against RR. He is the captain of this week’s IPL XI.
Sanju Samson could have been kept away from the playing XI. But the team needs a wicket-keeper and hence his blazing 70 against DC finds a mention. He has taken some very good catches behind the stumps as well.
Glenn Maxwell has carried on his good run from the Indian leg. While he failed with the bat in the first two games, he picked up a crucial wicket against CSK. Above all, he played a massive role in the win over MI, scoring 56 and claiming two wickets.
Rahul Tripathi has played excellent knocks both times he has batted. His unbeaten 74 against MI deflated the defending champions. His 45 against CSK came in a losing cause but was a promising knock nonetheless.
All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Jason Holder
Ideally, Shardul Thakur should have been in the list, but Ravindra Jadeja’s batting brilliance outshone the Lord. He has bowled exceedingly well in all three matches but it was his knock against KKR which took the cake. Jadeja’s 22 off 8 under extreme pressure proved when he is the ‘Sir’.
Former West Indian captain Jason Holder was the lone bright spot for SRH in the week. It was Holder vs PBKS in the match at Sharjah. His 3 for 19 restricted the opponents to 125 and it was his unbeaten 47 off 29 that took them closer to victory as SRH fell just short.
Bowlers: Harshal Patel, Varun Chakravathy , Anrich Nortje
RCB bowler Harshal Patel was an easy pick after his hat-trick against MI. Two of his scalps were big ones, those of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard with brilliant slower ones. Not surprisingly, Rahul Chahar was clueless as Patel completed a hat-trick. Patel finished with 4 for 17 to go with his 2 for 25 against CSK.
Although Rashid Khan, Sunil Narine and Ravi Bishnoi have done well, Varun Chakravarthy has been the best slow bowler on display so far. He claimed 3 for 13 against RCB and has been economical in the remaining two matches.
While RR’s Kartik Tyagi bowled that dream over against PBKS, DC’s Anrich Nortje pips him with two fantastic bowling efforts – 2 for 12 against SRH and 2 for 18 against RR. His return to the playing XI has only made the franchise that much more stronger.