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IPL 2021: Best XI from the second week

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Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The Indian Premier League has once again stood up to its reputation. After two thrilling weeks, the competition is heating up. The teams are trying to finalize their best playing eleven as they enter into the middle phase of the tournament. Well, this is what the IPL pressure brings to the table. 

Even after finalizing their playing XI for the first match, most of the teams have been forced to make some changes. Some star players have left, mainly because of COVID. But, most of the big names are still there in the competition. Without any doubt, no one would like to miss the IPL extravaganza.  

In the recently concluded week of the IPL, we witnessed some stellar matches. A perfect example is a match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders. After a disastrous start, the KKR batsmen managed to fight back. In a competition like the IPL, nothing is impossible.

Let us have a look at the best possible playing eleven:

1. Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Shikhar Dhawan is the premier opener for the Delhi Capitals. The stylish left-handed batsman has been in supreme form this season. Since last year, the fans have been witnessing a different Dhawan, who picks up the pace from word go. And his form might be vital for the Capitals this year. 

Dhawan has played 180 IPL matches with a strike rate of 127.63. But, since the last two years, his strike rate has gone way above 140. In 2020, it was 144.73. And, this year, it is 148.07, which is a pretty good strike rate. He gives a perfect platform for others to take their time. 

This week, he played a solid knock of 92 against the Punjab Kings. With a current average of 57.75, he is one of the most consistent batsmen so far. If we do make a team of the best IPL XI for the last two years, Dhawan should make it to the squad with ease. This is a good sign for Team India as they aim to win the T20 World Cup later this year. 

2. Jonny Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Jonny Bairstow is another batsman who has been the savior of his team. Apart from his franchise captain David Warner, he was the only one who stood like a wall. Even when the middle order failed, he continued scoring from one end. Good for him, Kane Williamson is back in the business. 

Bairstow has been in good form recently. With a decent strike rate of 132.06, he has contributed significantly to Sunrisers. If you consider the fact that SRH had an inexperienced batting lineup, he has done a commendable job for his team. With 173 runs, he is second on the list of the highest run scorers. 

The Sunrisers should continue giving him chances. Since his IPL debut in 2019, he has never disappointed them. Apart from that, he is a world-class wicketkeeper. So, Warner can rely on him guarding the wickets too. 

3. Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis Celebrating
Faf du Plessis Celebrating. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Faf du Plessis has been with CSK since 2012. Sometimes, the critics do argue with the fact that he might be underperforming for them. In 2018, he scored 162 runs for the team. But, during the game against KKR, he showed why he is one of the finest batsmen in the circuit. 

With a sparkling 95 not-out, he ensured that CSK put on a lot of runs on the board. He plays those classic cover drives to mesmerize everyone, including the members in the commentary box. Apart from that, he will hit those cheeky scoops to showcase his all-around batting abilities. Certainly, Faf has been one of the backbones of the Chennai squad. 

In this edition, he has scored 164 runs so far. With an average of 82, he has been the Mr. Consistent this year. Adding on, a strike rate of 145.13 makes his efforts more attractive. The more he stays at the crease, the better for CSK. 

4. Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Moeen Ali was bought for a whopping amount of INR 7 crores by the Chennai Super Kings. There was no doubt regarding his abilities. But, it looks like the RCB management could not use him properly as a player. However, Ali has found a home at the Chennai camp. 

Ali had a strike rate of 165.41 in the 2019 season. In 2018, he had a humongous strike rate of 167.39. The free-flowing all-rounder never got enough chances to prove his worth at the RCB. But, since the last four matches, he has been in the best form in his IPL career.

Talking about his batting, he comes in at number three. With 133 runs at a strike rate of 152.87, he has been smashing every bowling attack. In a match against Rajasthan, he took 3/7 and was the most effective performer. Certainly, Ali is enjoying his time under Dhoni’s captaincy. 

5. Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

“This is the year of Glenn Maxwell”, is one of the most common phrases one would hear during the first week of every IPL season. Well, the way Maxwell had performed during the 2014 season, everyone has tons of expectations from him. A run tally of 552 runs with a strike rate of 187.75 is god-like. But, his performance dropped since 2014. 

He was in and out of the Punjab team. For a short period, he was a part of the Delhi squad. But, there, he failed and returned to the Punjab-based franchise. Last year was a horrible season for Maxwell, this is because he scored 108 runs in 106 balls with no six to his name. 

This year, the RCB management has done a commendable job. By backing Maxwell, they have given him the confidence to play with complete freedom. With a healthy strike rate of nearly 150, he is one of the key players for them. Apart from that, he has been guarding the boundaries during the death overs. This makes him one of the most valuable players. 

6. Rishabh Pant (Captain and Wicketkeeper)

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Rishabh Pant has been the best captain of this edition so far. If we have a look at his performances for the last six years, we can conclude that he has made the best comeback. The Capitals lost their captain Shreyas Iyer early on but Ponting has made a bold move by giving the captaincy to Pant. Till now, he has not disappointed his fans. 

Pant has a mixture of youth and experience. He controls the field effectively and makes smart bowling changes. Till now, he has scored 88 runs in this edition of the IPL. But, his captaincy has been so attractive that he makes it to the team as the captain. 

He backed Shaw to fire on all cylinders and it has paid off. Shikar is having a quality time and because of this, DC is one of the top contenders this season. Because of their top order, Pant has not played much to make it to the list of Orange cap contenders. But, his wicket-keeping skills have improved significantly. 

7. Andre Russell

Andre Russell
Andre Russell. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Everybody witnessed the fury of Andre Russell during the match against CSK. After a disastrous start by the top order, he smashed 54 runs from 22 balls. For an all-rounder who was criticized because of his recent performance with the bat, that was some innings. Every ball was smashed with brute, raw force. 

During the match against MI, Russel scored 9 runs from 15 balls. This made him the subject to internet trolling and many questions were asked about his position in the team. But Russell came into bat during a crucial situation. He took on the quicker bowlers. And what happened, later on, was an absolute carnival. 

Every bowler was taken into the stands. He was in such a destructive mood that he played some tennis-like shots as well. But, unfortunately, he was bowled by Sam Curran. Had Russell been there for another over, the outcome would have been different. Apart from that, the big man is a fine fielder, and he makes it to this list.

8. Harshal Patel

Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Harshal Patel might be the next pacer who will have a successful campaign for the national team under Virat Kohli. It looks like the Indian captain has done a stellar job by strengthening the bowling lineup of the Indian squad. Apart from that, IPL has been a perfect platform for players like Patel. For him, his talent has met the opportunities he is required to attain.

He has taken 15 wickets so far in this season. With an impressive economy rate of 7.25, he has been able to choke the batsmen from one end. Harshal has been bowling at an average of 9.66 in this edition of the IPL. And, it can improve further under suitable conditions. 

RCB has always struggled because of its bowling. They leak runs at the death overs. But, this time, Patel has taken the responsibility to bowl during the toughest phase. And it will be interesting to see how he performs in the future. 

9. Avesh Khan

Avesh Khan
Avesh Khan. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

It looks like Ricky Ponting loves to work with the youngsters. It is true mainly because under his coaching, Delhi has been successful. After Pant took the role of captaincy, he has trusted his U19 teammate Avesh Khan to deliver the goods for the team. And he has not disappointed him. He has been a strike bowler for the Capitals.

This year, he has picked up 8 wickets so far. As they have played most of their games at Mumbai, this feat becomes more special. This is because the Mumbai track favors the batsmen. Because of his brilliance, the pressure on the likes of Rabada has reduced significantly. 

With the tournament shifting towards the middle phase, his role becomes more important. In this tournament, Khan has bowled with an economy rate of 7.35. He has the best bowling figures of 3/32. As he continues to impress, he might perform up to the expectations. 

10. Rahul Chahar

Rahul Chahar
Rahul Chahar. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Rahul Chahar is the primary spinner in this squad. Since his debut, he has been an asset to the Mumbai Indians. He is never afraid to bowl flighted deliveries. And usually, the batsmen fall into his trap. Rahul is the perfect leg spinner for any team.

He has picked up 38 IPL wickets so far for Mumbai. And this year, he is on the list of contenders for the Purple Cap. He has been bowling excellently this season. With an economy rate of 7.37, Rahul has been choking batsmen successfully. 

For the upcoming matches, Rahul is a vital member of the MI squad. He is picked him in this team because leg spinners have more chances to pick wickets. The batsmen go after them and as they try to clear the ropes, they fall into the trap. Rahul’s smart bowling has enabled him to make it to the squad.

11. Deepak Chahar

Deepak Chahar of CSK
Deepak Chahar. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

As we move to the number eleven, there is no better player at this position than Deepak Chahar. The opening bowler for CSK has been in some form recently. Like every year, he has been economical. And M.S. Dhoni has been confident when he hands him the new ball.

Chahar was outstanding against Punjab Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders. Till now, he has picked up eight wickets in four games. Most of these wickets were taken during the powerplay overs. This is a time when the batsmen tend to attack the bowlers. This makes him a special bowler. 

He can swing the ball both ways. And this makes him a lethal bowler. With a healthy economy rate of 7.33, he has been putting batsmen under immense pressure. Till now, his best bowling figure is 4/13. For CSK, he is their go-to man with the ball. Well, for this team, he is the perfect tail-ender. 


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