Indian Youngsters Who Left Their Mark on Week 1 of IPL 2021
With all teams having played 2 matches each, here are the young players who have impressed so far this IPL 2021.
The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League has had plenty of drama, low-scoring matches and heartbreaks thus far. Just one week into the tournament, and players have raised their game as they look to leave a mark on the grandest stage.
With each team having played two games apiece, we look at the Indian youngsters who have impressed and can be standout performers of this season.
Rahul Chahar (4/27 vs KKR)
The spinner has been a vital cog in Mumbai Indians’ success in the last two years, picking up a combined 28 scalps in 2019 and 2020. The franchise does not boast of the best spin bowling unit in the competition, but the rise of Chahar along with Krunal Pandya’s contribution in crucial moments has made them a team to beat.
Though the Rajasthan bowler did not have the best start to the league, as he ended with figures of 0 for 43 in the opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he came back strongly in the next encounter with a Man of the Match-winning performance against Kolkata Knight Riders. Having set the Knights a target of 153, Mumbai were on the backfoot with the rivals getting a fifty-plus opening stand.
Chahar, introduced into the attack in the ninth over, was hit for a four and a six by Shubman Gill, but the bowler had the last laugh as he got his batsman with a classic leg break delivery that Gill was unable to get under. He got the ball to bounce consistently, which put the batters in two minds, and dismissed Rahul Tripathi by pinning him on the crease by bowling a tight leg-stump line. Despite considerable dew, Chahar got plenty of turn, with his googlies and flighted deliveries shifting the momentum towards Mumbai.
His wicket of Nitish Rana, where Chahar dragged him out of the crease with a flipper outside off, started the downslide as Mumbai raced away to an improbable win.
Prithvi Shaw (72 off 38 vs CSK)
Termed as a wonder boy of Indian cricket, Prithvi Shaw was caught with a faulty technique that saw him score only 228 runs in the last edition of the IPL at an average of only 17.53. A high back-lift made him susceptible against the short ball as the bat often closed by the time the delivery reached him. His bat also came down at an angle from gully, which made him a top candidate for bowled and LBW against the incoming balls. However, the youngster polished these chinks after returning to India and the fact that he was out bowled or LWB only once in the domestic 50-over tournament is testimony to the hard yards that Shaw had put in.
However, his biggest test would be against the best in the IPL, and the Delhi Capitals opener impressed in his maiden outing this year with a quick 72 that helped his team chase down 189 at Wankhede. He got under the length of the short balls and controlled the high back-lift when Shardul Thakur sent a length ball on the off-stump. He played with a straighter bat that allowed him to clear mid-off with ease and opened the bat face against the slower balls. Shaw’s foot movement and timing were perfect, as the cricketer showed just why he is so highly praised.
Avesh Khan (2/23 vs CSK and 3/32 vs RR)
The 24-year old has found a place in the Delhi Capitals XI despite the franchise having Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in the ranks, which is evidence of the trust the management has on Avesh Khan. The Madhya Pradesh pacer was impressive in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he ended with 14 wickets in five games, and has carried forward his form in the IPL as well, where he has stifled the opponents with dot balls and extra bounce. The fact that he has bowled 22 dot balls shows just how tight he has been.
With the new ball, Khan has managed to get the ball to come in sharply and has got the ball to angle into the batters while he has troubled them with his bouncers, slower balls and leg-cutters in the second half of the innings. He got his dream wicket of MS Dhoni against CSK, and will be raring to make it a season to remember.
Chetan Sakariya (3/31 vs PBKS and 0/33 vs DC)
Just two games into the IPL, and Chetan Sakariya has been termed as an exciting prospect by Ian Bishop. With an impressive bowling action, the left-armer from Saurashtra has wowed the Indian audience with his charming smile and his swinging deliveries. Having made his domestic debut in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy, Sakariya made waves this year when he picked up 12 wickets in five SMAT games at an economy rate of just 4.90. Moreover, he sent down as many as 65 dot balls an ended with a strike rate of 10, which helped him get attention of the IPL scouts.
Sakariya, who was with RCB as a net bowler in 2020, got his maiden IPL wicket of Mayank Agarwal with a fuller length ball that was bowled just outside off. He has mixed up his pace well in the two games thus far and was entrusted by his skipper to bowl the 20th over against Delhi Capitals on Thursday despite Chris Morris - a specialist death overs bowler - having one over in the bank.
Arshdeep Singh (3/35 vs RR and 1/7 vs CSK)
The young Punjab bowler had made headlines with his calm and composed bowling in the death overs of the IPL last year. Overall, Arshdeep had picked up 6 wickets in 7.5 overs at the death in 202 to emerge as the perfect partner alongside Mohammad Shami after Sheldon Cottrell failed to live up to his promise.
This season, the cricketer, who is not known for his express speed, has relied on taking the pace off and getting the ball to angle away from the batters. He was the third most economical bowler at the death against Rajasthan in a game where more than 400 runs were scored, conceding only 35 runs, and brought his ‘A’ game against CSK, bowling seven dots in 2 overs.
Shahbaz Ahmed (14 off 10 and 3 for 7 against SRH): The Bengal all-rounder had scored an excellent hundred in an intra-squad practice game, which forced Virat Kohli to play him at three against SRH. The youngster batted with the right intention and scored 14 with the help of a six, but it is his bowling and his fielding the need mention. Introduced into the attack in the 15th over, Ahmed started the downfall for SRH, who were chasing only 150 for a win. A lovely full length ball by the cricketer tempted Jonny Bairstow into a big slow-sweep and he got two in two as he fired one wide of off stump to Manish Pandey who had run down the pitch. The scalp of Abdul Samad sealed the deal as Ahmed helped RCB to a close win.
A good running catch from short third man to send back Shahbaz Nadeem further made it a night to remember for him, and it remains to be seen if he can maintain his form.
Shahrukh Khan (47 off 36 against CSK): The Tamil Nadu big-hitter had vastly impressed in the SMAT this year, which made him one of the most sought after finishers in the IPL auctions. Shahrukh Khan was eventually bought by Punjab for a mammoth INR 5.25 crore, and he lived up to his hype as he played a mature knock under pressure after his team had been reduced to 19 for 4 in just 4.4 overs against Chennai.
Known for his stroke play, Shahrukh took time to get his eye in but got going with a short ball from Ravindra Jadeja. He waited for the fuller deliveries, swung the bat cleanly against loose balls and even managed to send a surprise bouncer by Shardul Thakur over the keeper’s head for a four. Often, youngsters are unable to live up to their billing, but by top scoring for Punjab in what was overall a terrible batting display by the side, he has shown that he can be counted upon.
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