The BCCI and IPL governing council were on Tuesday (May 5) forced to indefinitely postpone the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after bio-bubble breaches in Delhi and Ahmedabad and multiple COVID-19 positive tests.
Two players in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) camp and three non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) contingent tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (May 3). It led to the postponement of KKR’s encounter versus Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) that night in Ahmedabad.
Further, CSK informed the BCCI that they won’t be able to play Wednesday’s (May 5) scheduled fixture against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Delhi because of health safety reasons.
Wriddhiman Saha of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Amit Mishra of Delhi Capitals (DC) also joined the list of positive tested individuals on Tuesday afternoon.
Taking serious note of the piling coronavirus positive cases inside teams’ respective bubbles, BCCI had to arrive at their ultimate call, prioritising everyone’s safety from the contagious virus that has wreaked havoc globally.
For IPL fans, the tournament’s suspension must’ve been a cause of disappointment and also a level of uncertainty, as they don’t know when the remaining 31 matches of their favourite T20 league will be played exactly.
However, at the same time, they can also feel a sense of satisfaction as they saw the biggest stars from the globe perform for 29 matches, less than six months after the previous edition of the IPL got over last winter in UAE.
Among those performances were some fantastic displays of batsmanship, with individuals playing outstanding knocks against competent bowling attacks in difficult circumstances. And so today, we’ll focus on five such individual acts with the bat that stood out in terms of pure quality of skills on show.
Five Best Knocks Played in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021
1. AB de Villiers 48 versus MI in Chennai
In the opening game of the IPL 2021 versus defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), AB de Villiers proved to be the difference for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as they came out triumphant in a low-scoring encounter.
Chasing 160 on a slow, abrasive track in Chennai where no other batsman from either side had found hitting through the line easy, De Villiers smashed 48 off 27 balls in his role as a late-order aggressor.
The South African batting great exhibited his strong technique and unwavering balance at the crease against the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult through his knock. It was an outstanding effort in bowler-friendly conditions under extreme pressure.
2. Glenn Maxwell 59 off 41 versus SRH in Chennai
Another skillful and impactful knock produced by an RCB batsman during the Chennai leg of the IPL 2021 was 59 off 41 balls scored by Glenn Maxwell in a low-scoring fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
On an evening that saw hardly anyone get going with the bat, Maxwell looked the most fluent batter and reinforced why he is considered an x-factor for whoever he plays.
Maxwell’s innings, including 5 fours and 3 sixes, took RCB to a fighting total of 149/8, which they later defended by just 6 runs. Given the nature of the conditions, Maxwell’s was a memorable batting effort, highlighting all of the qualities that keep him popular among IPL franchises year after year.
3. Mayank Agarwal 99* off 58 versus DC in Ahmedabad
Very seldom a batsman from the losing team wins the ‘Player of the Match’ award, but Punjab Kings’ (PBKS) Mayank Agarwal did get the honour for his spectacular innings last Sunday (May 2) despite his team suffering a bitter defeat.
Agarwal, who walked into the fixture with the pressure of standing up as captain for an injured KL Rahul, almost singlehandedly took his team’s vulnerable batting unit to a fighting total.
Agarwal showed a tremendous amount of skill and flexibility as he fought through the initial hiccups sedately and then pressed on the accelerator when his team required on a two-paced track where only he got going among PBKS batsmen.
Given the quality of the opposition bowling attack, the conditions and the strength of batting around him in absence of an in-form Rahul, Agarwal’s innings of 99 not out from 58 balls was one of the better batting efforts from the 29 matches played on time in IPL 2021.
4. Ambati Rayudu 72* off 27 balls versus MI in Delhi
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Ambati Rayudu walked into the fixture against Mumbai Indians (MI) last Saturday (May 1) in Delhi under huge pressure to justify his place in the team.
Rayudu hadn’t done anything of note in the IPL 2021 before and needed an innings to keep himself afloat in a rejuvenated CSK batting unit.
Rayudu finally produced that innings in Delhi where he took part inarguably the best IPL pace attack featuring Bumrah and Boult, smashing 72 runs off just 27 deliveries with 4 fours and 7 sixes.
A player seldom acknowledged for his ability to counter fast-bowling, Rayudu’s knock dispelled much of the doubts over his class and pedigree. It was an admirable performance that certainly deserves to be mentioned in the top 5 IPL 2021 knocks after 29 matches.
5. Deepak Hooda 64 off 28 versus RCB in Mumbai
He may not be the most consistent performer, but Punjab Kings’ (PBKS) Deepak Hooda’s ability to tackle both spin and pace has never been in doubt.
Albeit occasionally, Hooda plays knocks that stay with you. And in an IPL 2021 fixture against RCB, he did produce one such batting performance by blasting 64 runs off just 28 balls, including 4 fours and 6 sixes.
Enjoying the true pace and bounce at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Deepak took the RCB bowlers to the cleaners while he was there.
Hooda’s was another stand-out effort that made the cut in our top 5 knocks for the interrupted IPL 2021 season.