IPL 2021 is coming to a close, and it has been a tough season for a few sides, individuals and fans. While Cricket has been good, many star players haven’t done as they would have liked, and there are certain things that we will or could be seeing for the last time.
- David Warner’s Dream Run
As a captain and player, David Warner has done a lot for the Orange Army. He is Hyderabad’s adopted son, and his name is synonymous with the franchise. He has won the Orange cap three times with the Sunrisers, and has helped them get to the playoffs five times in a row. He is the most consistent overseas batter, and has done a lot as a leader as well with the franchise. David Warner was crucial in Sunrisers title win in 2016. He scored over 800 runs in the season. The Sunrisers are normally known for their strong bowling, and have always had issues with the bat.
With such issues, David Warner stood up and took up immense responsibility with the bat. He constantly helps his side get good scores, but this season he couldn’t repeat his past performances. Poor form and a groin injury has hampered Warner’s batting in IPL 2021. His strike-rate is slower than normal, and he was dropped mid-way through IPL 2021. There are a lot of indications that this could be his last season in Hyderabad, with the mega-auction taking place next year. A poor season has changed his fortunes drastically, and is likely to bring an end to a dream period for both David Warner and the Orange Army.
- Suresh Raina’s CSK career
The Chennai Super Kings are in the finals after a strong comeback from the previous season. They’ve put in some good performances, but a player who has been the backbone of the team for many years could be on his way out of the Chennai side. Over the years, Suresh Raina has been as, and maybe more crucial than Dhoni when it comes to Chennai’s success. This season he was seen as a key member to help Chennai fight back after a dismal season. He started IPL 2021 with a wonderful half-century that had Suresh Raina written all over it. The inside-outs and slog-sweeps were back, but they didn’t last long.
After a half-century to start, Suresh Raina struggled to get runs in IPL 2021. He couldn’t go past single digits on a number of fixtures, and dropped down the batting order. He has made 160 runs in 12 matches of IPL 2021. IPL 2021 has been the worst season for Suresh Raina, who has some mindblowing records in the IPL. With the mega-auction coming up, it is unlikely for CSK to retain Raina. He could be brought back in the mega-auction, but there is also a possibility of him retiring from IPL as well.
- KL Rahul’s prolific stint with Punjab Kings
KL Rahul came to the Punjab Kings in 2018, and has gone on to become their leading run scorer. In his four years with the side, he made a mammoth 2548 runs. From 2018, KL Rahul also ensured he went past the five-hundred run mark in each season. With a weak middle-order, KL Rahul took it upon himself to bat through, and accelerate. He took up the role of an opener, accumulator and finisher in the same innings, and also went on to keep wickets for the side. Rahul started his stint as a player for the Punjab Kings, but went on to lead them.
While Rahul is on another plane with the bat, the sides performance has been underwhelming. In each of the four seasons, they came within touching distance of the playoffs, but failed to cross the final hurdle. Punjab consistently finished mid-table, which is why the franchise may look at other options.
There are statements of Rahul being approached by other franchises. In case such rumours are true, we could see Rahul in a new franchise, ending his run with the Punjab Kings. He has been their best batter, but lack of support from the middle-order hasn’t allowed him to carry the side further.
- Virat Kohli’s ten-year career has a captain.
Virat Kohli took over as full-time captain of RCB in 2013, but has captained the side a few times in 2011 and 2012. With Dan Vettori injured, Kohli got the chance to lead early in his career, and that helped him settle into the role with ease. While Virat Kohli failed to win an IPL trophy with the franchise, the duration and his performance as a player are surely points to be applauded. As a captain he lead the franchise to the playoffs four times, and made the finals once. He played a crucial role in the development of stars like Yuzvendra Chahal, and went on to become one of the IPLs most prolific player.
As a batter, Virat Kohli is currently the leading run-scorer in the IPL, and has most records to his name. He took a handful of them from Suresh Raina, to become the face of the IPL, and also enjoyed a friendly competition for the leading run-scorer title a few years ago. His best season so far has been the 2016 one, where he finished with 973 runs.
While Virat Kohli’s captaincy stint comes to an end after IPL 2021, it is safe to say that an era is coming to an end. His contribution in shaping the franchise has been crucial, and the attitude of the side resembles Virat Kohli. He will still continue as a player, but going by IPL 2021, his form may be a concern, which could bring an end to another dominating period as a batter.
Throughout IPL 2021, Virat Kohli looked a bit off touch, and one can hope that extra freedom will help him bat better. Time will tell how his performances as a player go. He is slowly entering the next phase of his career and there are some interesting times coming up for Virat Kohli as a player.