Pollard & Jadeja Among Top 8 Batting Performances in IPL 2021
We take you back in time to revisit the eight most mesmerisingly impactful knocks of the curtailed edition.
The axe has finally fallen on IPL 2021 as it stands suspended with the coronavirus pricking the bio-secure bubbles. However, it was a rollercoaster ride while it lasted, having its fair share of run-bashing thrillers and low-scoring nail-biters. As the dust settles on the unforeseen fallout of the T20 extravaganza, we take you back in time to revisit the eight most mesmerisingly impactful knocks of the curtailed edition.
Kieron Pollard 87*(34) vs CSK
The Caribbean behemoth Kieron Pollard hadn’t quite delivered the goods in the first 6 innings of this season with his top score being a 22-ball 35. But as they say, cometh the hour, cometh the man. With Mumbai Indians finding themselves in a spot of bother at 81/3 after 10 overs in an almighty chase of 219, Pollard rose to the occasion and pumped 8 sixes and 6 fours in his breathtaking 37-ball 84 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Thanks to Pollard’s sublime range-hitting, the equation had dwarfed down to 16 off the ultimate over. He farmed the strike and brought his brute muscular force to the party, hammering Lungi Ngidi for consecutive fours and a six to seal the deal in MI’s favour. Pollard’s pyrotechnics were his way of saying it, loud and clear, that ‘Everybody is a gangster until the real gangster arrives.’
Ravindra Jadeja 62*(28) vs RCB
Ravindra Jadeja’s batting prowess has grown by leaps and bounds in the recent past and his dazzling 62* off 28 balls versus Royal Challengers Bangalore set the stamp of approval on the upgrade. Jadeja’s juggernaut razed over the Purple Cap holder Harshal Patel, who leaked a mind-boggling 37 runs in an over, the joint-most expensive over in IPL history. It panned out as follows: 6,6,6+nb,6,2,6,4. Yes, you read it right. All hell broke loose.
The method to Jadeja’s madness was a rock-solid base and a bat flow as clean as a whistle. He was always a step ahead of the death over merchants, almost as if holding a telepathic understanding of what line and lengths they were going to target. His heroics shot CSK to a gargantuan 191, a total which proved too steep a mountain to climb for the ragged RCB. It was a blinder of a cameo, a statement through which Jadeja well and truly reaffirmed his moniker of a bona fide game-changer.
Devdutt Padikkal 101*(52) vs RR
Devdutt Padikkal is a supremely talented wunderkind and it was about time he trumpeted his arrival on the big stage. The free-flowing youngster did complete justice to his potential on the featherbed at Wankhede with an unbeaten century to guide RCB home against Rajasthan Royals in some style.
The left-handed prodigy went all guns blazing right from the word go, cutting and lofting and driving and pulling his way to the magical three figures in what was an eye-pleasing onslaught for the ages. Everything seemed to be ringing off the sweet spot of Padikkal’s willow as he dispatched 11 balls to the fence and 6 over it. His strike rate was just a tick below 200, no wonder it was the fastest hundred by an uncapped player in IPL history.
Jos Buttler 124(64) vs SRH
Jos Buttler is a vital cog in Rajasthan Royals’ wheel and it was a matter of grave concern for the franchise that he wasn’t living up to the billing. He hadn’t even breached the 50-run mark in the initial six games of IPL 2021, but filed a rather heavy compensation in the next match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He rode his luck to notch up a magnificent ton – his first in the T20 format – laced with 11 fours and an eye-popping 8 sixes, propelling RR to a daunting 220.
With the organisers pulling the plug on IPL midway, it can be said, in hindsight, that Buttler saved his best for the last.
Ambati Rayudu 72*(27) vs MI
Ambati Rayudu bulldozed Mumbai India’s revered bowling attack to dust in his no-holds-barred counterpunch worth an undefeated 72 off 27 balls. Seven of the 16 maximums in the CSK innings came off Rayudu's bat as he eviscerated MI at the death to wallop the joint-second fastest IPL fifty by a CSK batsman (off 20 balls). The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Bount were put through the wringer as Rayudu supplied the perfect final flourish to boost CSK to an ominous 218.
Heading into the break, it seemed like the yellow army had already won half the battle. However, there was a nerve-wracking twist in the tale. MI flexed their middle-order might via a jaw-dropping effort from Kieron Pollard, whose aforementioned sizzler of 87* grabbed glory from under CSK’s nose.
Andre Russell 54(22) vs CSK
Andre Russell is a batting beast who when on song can dump the greatest of the bowlers to the knacker’s yard. It was the case as KKR crossed swords against CSK, with Russellmania unfolding in all its pomp and show. Chasing 221, KKR lost half their side when Russell went bonkers, smoking an unscathed 54 from 22 to change the complexion of the game in a jiffy.
That Russell’s carnage was studded with six sixes puts the degree of devastation into perspective. While fans were kept in constant thrall as he toyed around with the CSK bowling unit, his brain freeze moment that saw him shoulder arms to a Sam Curran delivery zeroing in on the stumps and gift-wrap his dismissal to the opposition left the viewers at their wits’ end.
Sanju Samson 119(63) vs PBKS
Over the years, Sanju Samson has pretty much been a lone ranger for RR. Despite the stardust of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and David Miller, he more often than not ends up doing the heavy lifting for the pink franchise. With leadership duties thrust on his shoulder this year, the stakes were higher than ever before. But Samson had geared up for the challenge.
He walked the talk on captaincy debut, cracking an audacious century in pursuit of a beefy 222 posted by PBKS. Albeit his magnum opus was to no avail as RR tragically went down by a soul-crushing 4 runs, with Samson perishing off the final delivery of the run-fest. Samson finished with the highest score by a Royals' batsman, claiming the honours of becoming the first in the IPL to score a century on captaincy debut, and his third in the tournament.
Mayank Agarwal 99*(58) vs DC
Swashbuckling opener Mayank Agarwal stepped up in the absence of the ailing KL Rahul with a belligerent display of range-hitting. He sent Delhi Capitals on a leather hunt, pulverising 99 off 58 balls with scoring shots running the gamut from straight-as-an-arrow tonks into the sightscreen to cold-blooded pulls that bisect cow corner and long-on with surgical precision.
Bitten by the twenties bug in the nascent stages of the tournament, Agarwal eventually came into his own with this rollicking exhibition of textbook cricket.
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