Ever since the IPL began, the ‘ Two Colored Caps’ drew a lot of attention. It did take a while for the cricketing world to understand what they were meant for. The ‘ Orange Cap ‘ was for the best batsman and The ‘ Purple Cap’ for the best bowler.
T20 is all about hits across the boundary ropes or to it. It also involves the running between wickets as bowlers are more accurate and fielding standards have risen.
Here is the list with a brief analysis of all ten batsmen: –
1. Rohit Sharma:
The mighty Mumbai Indians IPL team captain has also been the most successful captain winning the IPL Tournament five times. His contribution with the bat has been one of the dominant reasons. Here are the reasons why we consider him as the top forerunner.
He is the opening batsman and has twenty overs to play in every match. The power play proves a significant advantage to his class of batting as he is a superb timer of the ball. He is bound to get extra matches beyond the play-offs as his side can play the Finals. His recent form in pitches that were bowler friendly has been good, with the strike rate also!
2. KL Rahul:
IPL 2020, held during the Pandemic in UAE, brought out a new hero in KL Rahul. Even though the pitches were slow and the heat was on the rise with the bio- bubble making it more difficult, Rahul, the captain of Kings XI Punjab, opened the batting too.
He scored freely, and even though his team lost, he was always the leading contender for the Orange Cap, despite lesser matches. And he won it too by scoring 670 runs in 14 innings. The Indian team has rested him for the past four months due to injury. He is all set to come back and play a more prominent role in the IPL team called ‘ Punjab Lions’ (earlier KXIP).
Rahul is a heavy six-hitter with strike rates that do reach up to the high 160’s. He is fresh from resting, unlike his Indian teammates, and can deliver a bigger punch. The disadvantage is his lack of match practice over the past few months now.
3. David Warner:
One can call him the King of Orange Caps as his performance in the IPL has been top-notch through the years. Captain of the Sunrisers has always been the contender for the orange Cap and has won it three times in the past, and a few times were missing the opportunity. Warner can but big, but is also the fastest runner between wickets. This fact alone separates him from the others, for his hare-like speed unsettles the field.
The reason why he ranks third in our list of probable winners is his recent form. He has only one big score in the recently concluded India – Australia series. His IPl form before that in UAE was excellent in which he arrived third best, but his continuing lack of form has forced the Australian team to drop him from the ongoing series in New Zealand in T20’s.
The 2021 IPL may see him return to form because ‘form is temporary and class is permanent.’
4. Surya Kumar Yadav:
Chosen by Mumbai Indians in the 2012 IPL edition, Surya Kumar quit them and joined KKR. He did best for them by batting in the death overs, and MI bid him back in 2015. And this time, he was given a chance to bat in the top order. Surya Kumar notched up several high scores with strike rates as high as 145 plus. His recent form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy would justify the form he is in, which he carried away from the IPL in UAE. He has been included in the T20 Indian Squad against the English touring team.
Surya Kumar is capable of facing the new ball or even bat one drop. His stylish batting and the powerful sweep shot would be witnessed this season. His main weakness is the sudden lapse of concentration which causes his debacle. Surya Kumar Yadav is right up there to grab the orange Cap, provided he concentrates even if things are going his way.
5. Shubman Gill:
A few eyebrows may be raised at the mention of his name in this list of elites. Gill has become a permanent feature in the Indian team now, and a few low scores have not deterred the cricket pundits who continue to praise him. Gill opens for KKR, which is enough for him to post big hundreds. He is a fearless bat and probably the most stylish batsman in the world today.
His drawback is, however, the hunger for big scores. He would play the toughest bowlers with ease but would gift his wicket to a lesser-known bowler. This is the first IPL he takes to the batting crease with an excellent reputation preceding him. If he strikes form early, KKR themselves might be playing the final.
6. Shreyas Iyer:
When brute strength and pure class combine, the result can only be Shreyas Iyer. Captain of a rejuvenated Delhi Capitals, Iyer propelled the team in the initial stages of the recent UAE IPL Tournament play-offs. He is a calm accumulator of runs, and even his Six’s are stylish. His strike rate is bound to be in the 130 range, and he opens the batting for his team.
This would give him the edge to make big scores, and his captaincy could earn more matches after the play-offs. Shreyas form underwent a bad patch in Australia, but he has made amends by plundering the bowlers in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He is in contention for the Indian Squad against England now. Iyer, like a few others, needs to be hungry for runs to grab the Orange Cap.
7. Quinton De Kock:
The other opener, alongside Rohit Sharma, De Kock can knock the ball out of the stadium. He has been in reasonable form in the recent past and one of the top scorers of the 2020 IPL. His weakness is ‘ going for too much in one over. If he adds some temperament to his batting, Quentin would be one of those hands trying to wrest the orange Cap.
8. Virat Kohli:
It would surprise many what Virat is doing in the bottom rung of the probables for the Orange Cap. Acknowledged as the best batsman globally, Captain of RCB, and all those accolades do little good to his lack of form in the recent past. Apart from the 2016 IPL, in which he donned the Orange cap, he has not been the champion batsman in the IPL.
Captaincy does weigh down upon him, but he has never been in poor form. To win the Orange Cap, Virat has to apply himself just a little bit more, which would put him back in contention not only for the Orange Cap but the championship itself. We would get to know his game in the upcoming T20 series against England. If he strikes form and carries it into the IPL, none would stand a chance.
9. Rishabh Pant:
Pant has been a name on everyone’s lips over the past four months. Rehab’s exploits in the Australian tour and now against the English are legendary now. He plays his Test innings like a T20 match pounding Sixes and Fours despite difficult pitches. Rishab, who plays for the Rajasthan Royals, has to be promoted up the order. In fact, as an Opener.
On the other hand, playing him down the order would not help the Royals, except win a couple of matches. Rishab can take advantage of the fielding restrictions also. But when one sees his bat, they can only say, ‘Fielders are a waste as the shots sail well above them. ‘ Rishab, of course, requires some luck with the odd catch dropped. He would make the opposition pay for it like no other batsman on Earth could!
10. Ishan Kishan:
The tornado from Jharkhand has arrived at last! Ishan, who plays for Mumbai Indians, has been a consistent performer for them. A very stylish but hard-hitting batsman bats down the order, unfortunately. Despite that, he scored 500 plus runs at a high strike rate of 145 plus. He continued his form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy recently, and before that was his IPl in UAE. It would be difficult for a batsman to find a better slot in the MI team, but Ishan becomes ‘MR should they fail. Dependable ‘and he seldom fails. To grab that coveted Orange Cap, Ishan does require luck to arrive at the crease early enough.
The Final Word:
From the analysis above, a batsman has to bat well ahead in the batting order for his team to make those kinds of runs that would earn him the Orange Cap. Players like Devdutt Padikkal, ABD, Sanju Samson are also capable of winning the Cap, but this ranking by kheltalk.com has shortlisted the ten based on their recent performances, their past but consistent achievements, and the slot in which they play. May the best batsman win!