IPL 2021: 5 Players Who Missed the First Leg But Are Available in UAE
Shreyas Iyer had been ruled out of the first leg of the IPL due to a shoulder injury suffered before the tournament.
After a break of four months, the glitzy, cash-rich IPL is back for the remainder of the season. The first half which was played in various bio-bubbles in India had been suspended after COVID-19 breached the bio-secure environment. The second phase will be played in UAE, similar to IPL 2020, which was played in full across Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.
The second phase of IPL 2021 begins on 19 September with Mumbai Indians playing Chennai Super Kings in Dubai. Earlier in the year, the tournament had been suspended on 4 May.
While the first phase produced some cracking contests in India, the second phase promises more such moments as well as qualification for the knockouts becomes the top agenda.
For some teams, the second phase has seen players pull out citing fatigue or injury among other reasons, while a few others will be bolstered by the return of crucial members. The Rajasthan Royals have been hit badly as the likes of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer won’t be available, however Delhi Capitals received a boost in Shreyas Iyer.
Here’s a look at the top players who will return for the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE.
A rock in the Delhi Capitals’ middle order, Shreyas was one of the crucial reasons for the team’s progress to the final of the IPL. Back in UAE, Shreyas will hope to rekindle the memories and the form as Delhi look to power along the final stretch of the tournament.
Shreyas will have at least 6 games to play in the IPL this season after missing the first leg due to a shoulder injury and then subsequent rehab at the NCA in Bangalore.
Shreyas, who scored 519 runs from 17 games last season, is expected to slot right back into the playing XI. Shreyas has played in 79 IPL matches, scoring 2200 runs at an average of 31, with 16 half-centuries to his name. Will Ricky Ponting hand him the captaincy back or will Rishabh Pant continue to call the shots?
DC are sitting at the top of the points table and in prime position to progress to the knockouts. The addition of Shreyas to the squad makes the unit stronger on the home stretch. And while the IPL trophy is what DC players have in mind now, Shreyas will be keen to do well, especially as a reserve player for the Men’s T20 World Cup, which begins on 17 October in UAE and Oman.
One of the key factors that drove the Delhi Capitals’ campaign in UAE in IPL 2020 was the fast bowling duo of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada.
Nortje, who wasn’t a feature in the first half of the tournament due to quarantine and a false COVID-19 positive test as well, is likely to play a big role in the second half of the season. The South African pacer picked 22 wickets last season as Delhi cruised through the league stages.
DC, who are top of the pile so far, are likely to go back to the Rabada-Nortje combination that worked wonders for them last year.
The South African’s fast and accurate death bowling is something Ricky Ponting and co missed, somewhat in the first half, and will be delighted to have him back and available for selection.
One of the finds of the IPL last year in the UAE, Natarajan was injured early on, after the first two games, and was ruled out of the tournament. The break however did him good as he is now fit and raring to go for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Natarajan had essentially aggravated a knee injury from the Australia series and needed surgery and then rehab at the NCA.
It will be a massive boost for the David Warner led SRH, who currently find themselves at the bottom of the points table with only two points from seven matches.
Natarajan had picked 16 wickets in as many games last year and was crucially good in the death overs, which partly helped SRH make the knockouts.
With the left armer back in the mix of things, SRH’s bowling will be tougher to attack in the second phase of the IPL.
But will that be enough to push SRH up the table and into the top four?
At the Rajasthan Royals, the likes of Stokes, Buttler and Archer are often the ones stealing the spotlight in terms of overseas players. However, with Stokes and Archer away, the hard-hitting Liam Livingstone is on hand for the Royals.
Livingstone did not play any game earlier in the season and returned early due the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the summer rolled on, Livingstone picked up form and was the highest scorer at the recently concluded The Hundred, smashing 348 runs in 9 games from 195 deliveries.
A handy off break bowler as well, Livingstone recently also smashed 103 off 43 deliveries in a T20I against Pakistan at Trentbridge.
The Royals could well do with some firepower in the batting department and Livingstone is in blistering form. Will the England cricketer finally leave his mark on the IPL?
Not the most seen in the IPL last year after being signed on by CSK, Josh Hazlewood missed the first leg of the IPL citing bubble fatigue. CSK, who resume their campaign on 19 September against MI, though have the in-form Australian available.
Hazlewood, who played only 3 matches for CSK after being bought for Rs 2 crore at the IPL 2020 auction, has been in fine form recently. He finished with 8 wickets from 4 games in Bangladesh in a T20I series, where conditions were largely spinner friendly. He’s also a part of the T20 World Cup squad for Australia.
Having not yet made much of an impact in the IPL arena, Hazlewood will surely be keen on getting himself among the wickets soon as CSK look to keep up their high standards.
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