IPL 2021: From CSK's Ruturaj to KKR's Iyer, players who made heads turn

IPL 2021 Review: From Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad to Kolkata Knight Riders' surprise find Venkatesh Iyer and Sunrisers Hyderabad's Umran Malik, here are a few takeaways from the recently concluded season.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer and Umran Malik

(Clockwise from left) CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, KKR batter Venkatesh Iyer and SRH pacer Umran Malik   -  Sportzpics for IPL

Great teams like the Chennai Super Kings have a sense of occasion.

The manner in which CSK effortlessly lifted its game in the IPL final against Kolkata Knight Riders underlined its killer instinct. 

These are glory days for CSK, with its talismanic skipper M.S. Dhoni orchestrating a remarkable recovery from last season’s debacle. 

Few cricketers comprehend the dynamics of Twenty20 cricket like Dhoni does. He has his finger on the pulse of the game, comprehends the ebb and flow, and gives cricketers the freedom to express themselves.

‘Captain Cool’ should be available for CSK for at least one more season. The BCCI is likely to allow two Indians and two foreigners or three Indians and an overseas player per franchise as its retention policy.

With the mega auction consisting of two additional teams coming up in January, CSK will also rebuild for the future as Dhoni hinted.

CSK was not short of champions in this edition. The ethereal Ruturaj Gaikwad, so light on his feet, tormented the bowlers at the top of the order with strokes of rare beauty, charm and timing to bag the Orange Cap with 635 runs.

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His opening partner du Plessis, ageless and versatile, disrupted the attack with bold strokeplay, to finish just two runs short of Gaikwad with 633.

Well begun is half done they say and Gaikwad and du Plessis built a solid platform for CSK. A stage from which others could fire.

Robin Uthappa’s blitzkriegs in Qualifier 1 and the final were game-changing efforts. He added muscle to the line-up, batted with refreshed freedom, and hit sixes for fun.  

Same with the smooth-stroking Mooen Ali. The left-hander, a sweet timer, hit long balls. 

The CSK bowling attack comprising Josh Hazlewood's spells of accuracy and movement, the wicket-taking cross-seamer Shardul Thakur, the canny swinger Deepak Chahar and wily Dwayne Bravo of beguiling variety, did sting. Jadeja’s left-arm spin had always been handy.

KKR, meanwhile, has unearthed an exciting prospect in the explosive Venkatesh Iyer. A brave youngster who cuts and pulls the pacemen, drives them through the gaps and demolishes the spinners, Venkatesh is not intimidated by big names.

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He is a handy seamer as well and his bowling is bound to get better as the days progress.

By leaving out the influential Andre Russell in the final, KKR blundered. 

IPL though is not always about the big names and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Harshal Patel, with his exceptional pace variations, is an example. He took home the Purple Cap with 32 scalps. 

Rajasthan Royals’ Kartik Tyagi, a genuine talent, denying Punjab Kings four runs in the dramatic last over was an unforgettable vignette.

So was Srikar Bharat’s last ball six that gave RCB a sensational win over the powerful Delhi Capitals.

The lively Avesh bowled the hard lengths for the Capitals. And Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Umran Malik sent down the quickest delivery of the IPL - 152.95 kmph. 

As they say, in the IPL, talent meets opportunity. And heroes emerge from nowhere.

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