We’re halfway through the 14th edition of the Indian T20 League and there’s plenty that has unravelled over the course of one month. Whether it was Kieron Pollard who made a target of 218 a mere formality or it was the axing of David Warner from the captaincy of Team Hyderabad.
Here are the top five talking points from the halfway stage of the 2021 Indian T20 League.
FOUR TEAMS LOOK CLASS APART
It seems like a tier one and tier two system in this year’s Indian T20 League. It is always ultra-competitive in the league but this season it seems like there are four teams that are class apart and the other four need to pull up their socks if they stand a chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Team Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai are looking well on course of making it to the knockout stage. While Team Rajasthan, Punjab, Kolkata and Hyderabad are somewhat lagging behind in this race. There seems to be a gulf in quality in the top four and the bottom four teams.
BATTING DEPTH IS IMPORTANT
One thing which has stood out in this year’s Indian T20 League is that teams with the best batting depth have gone on to be successful so far in the league. While top-heavy teams like Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Punjab have found it difficult to be competitive throughout the game so far in the league.
Batting second has always been a bit of an advantage in T20 cricket and this year, more than ever, has shown the importance of stacking batters till number 8 or even 9 for some teams. These teams with unreal batting depth are never out of the chase and have the ability to win matches from any given situation.
PLAYERS LIKE DE VILLIERS AND POLLARD ARE WORTH IN GOLD
Building on the above point, teams that have the likes of Kieron Pollard or AB de Villiers in their squad can sometimes seem unbeatable. These players have the ability to pull off outrageous innings in the most difficult situations possible and become the difference between the losing team and the winning one.
In Chennai when almost every batter struggled, AB de Villiers from Team Bangalore played like he was playing in his own backyard. While Kieron Pollard single-handedly managed to pull off the chase of the season against Team Chennai at Delhi.
INDIAN BOWLERS LEADING THE PURPLE CAP RACE
Three of the top five wicket-takers in the league are Indians and Harshal Patel leads the pack with 17 scalps to his name. The Purple Cap race has intensified but now that Harshal Patel is going for plenty it would give hope to the others that they can catch the Bangalore bowler.
Delhi’s Avesh Khan is second on the list with 14 wickets while Rahul Chahar has been the most successful spinner in the league and is fourth on the list with 11.
DAVID WARNER AXED
The biggest news so far in the league has been Hyderabad’s decision to remove David Warner from the captaincy. Warner has been one of the most consistent batters the league has seen over the last few years but has surprisingly struggled so far in the season to get the ball off the square. He has a couple of fifties to his name already in the season but his strike rate of 110.28 is nowhere near the desired output. Hyderabad is a top-heavy team and their domestic players haven’t performed according to expectations so far. So to stabilise the team, the management has opted for a different strategy when it comes to their overseas players and that meant that there was no space in the XI for a struggling Warner. Kane Williamson was announced as Warner’s replacement to lead the team.