Sakariya & Avesh Among 5 Most Impressive Youngsters in IPL 2021
29 matches were completed in the tournament with Punjab Kings’ defeat to Delhi Capitals being the last of the games.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head in IPL 2021’s bio-secure bubble causing the tournament to come to an abrupt halt – right at the halfway point. Only 29 matches were completed in the tournament with Punjab Kings’ defeat to Delhi Capitals being the last of the games.
However, as always, there were some delightful performances in the previous weeks with a few largely unheralded players stepping up for their sides.
For the Rajasthan Royals, the absence of the very influential Jofra Archer opened the doors for someone like Chetan Sakariya, while the delayed arrival of the South African duo Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada afforded Avesh Khan a chance to make his mark for the Delhi Capitals.
Here’s a look at some of the best performing young players in IPL 2021.
Avesh Khan (Delhi Capitals)
Having spent quite a bit of time warming the bench, Avesh was handed his chance at the beginning of the season as Delhi’s pace duo of Rabada and Nortje was yet to join the squad.
At the time IPL 2021 was halted, Khan was the second-leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets from 8 games at a strike rate of 12.85 and an economy rate of 7.70. Every time the team needed wickets and Rishabh Pant turned to him, he delivered.
Khan was effective both at the start and the death. Apart from varying his pace, he also bowled at good speeds and maintained an impressive line and length throughout. Khan’s numbers reflected his impact on IPL 2021.
His performances won him high praise from head coach Ricky Ponting and resulted in India’s Umesh Yadav being relegated to the bench.
Chetan Sakariya (Rajasthan Royals)
The left arm pacer was one of the bowlers Kumar Sangakkara and Sanju Samson were depending on right from the get-go, especially once they knew that Archer would be away for a while.
The youngster from Bhavnagar did not disappoint, right from his first game when he bowled an immaculate spell and finished with figures of 3/31 in a game which saw both sides score a total of close to 450 runs. Sakariya even finished the innings with a five-run over which also yielded two wickets for the Royals.
Sakariya finished with 7 wickets from 7 games, the Royals’ third best bowler behind Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman.
One of the things that stood out in terms of him troubling batters was his accuracy with the yorkers in the death overs.
Harpreet Brar (Punjab Kings)
Having played only 3 games in two years previously, Harpreet, when called in to play RCB, had his task cut out in IPL 2021. And what made it tougher was that Virat Kohli helped his side pick 17 runs off two overs of the left arm spinner.
Brar, who had planned to go to Canada if cricket did not work out in IPL 2019, however responded with the wickets of Kohli and Glenn Maxwell off consecutive deliveries before finishing his spell with the scalp of AB de Villiers.
The youngster from Moga played only two games this season but more than held his own against some of the best in the business, showing that the decision to not take the flight to the other end of the globe was a good one indeed.
Harshal Patel (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Like Avesh Khan did for Delhi, right arm medium pacer Harshal Patel gave RCB captain Virat Kohli an edge in the bowling department, especially in the death overs. When the IPL was postponed, Harshal was leading the race for the Purple Cap with 17 wickets from 7 games, 3 scalps ahead of Chris Morris.
Harshal’s variations in pace and ability to control proceedings in the death overs was one of the key factors in RCB’s quick start to the campaign. Harshal was also the first bowler to take a five-wicket haul in the history of the tournament against the mighty Mumbai Indians.
While the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kyle Jamieson found it tough at times, Harshal was always on the money. Every time RCB needed a wicket and Kohli turned to Harshal, the bowler delivered – helping RCB restrict oppositions.
Shahbaz Ahmed (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The all-rounder from Haryana had been making waves domestically in recent seasons, leading from the front for Bengal in what was their best campaign in a decade.
Shahbaz, who wants to emulate Ben Stokes and had been earmarked by VVS Laxman to play a Ravindra Jadeja-esque role for Bengal, ensured he would be well-remembered in the IPL as he rattled off an over both the seasoned all-rounders would have been proud off.
In only his second game this season, he sent Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, and Abdul Samad packing and conceded 1 run to help clinch a win for Kohli and RCB.
While that was his most significant contribution in the few chances this season for RCB, Shahbaz received high praise from both Mike Hesson and the captain.
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