The IPL 2021 auction in Chennai two weeks before witnessed a lot of surprising picks and teams breaking the bank for overseas players to build stronger squads. Chris Morris turned out to be the most expensive player in the history of IPL auction as he bagged a whopping 16.25 crore from Rajasthan Royals after an immense battle from the Punjab Kings.
The IPL fans In India are really excited about having the tournament in India after two years as the IPL 2020 was held in UAE due to the Covid Pandemic. The players will be undergoing constant Covid tests and will be under secured bio bubble restrictions throughout the tournament. The venues and the dates for the IPL 2021 are yet to be announced by the BCCI. Mumbai will most likely not host any game of IPL 2021.
The IPL 2021 schedule will be released by the BCCI in a couple of weeks. IPL 2021 will entirely be played in India as per reports. In this article, we rate the opening pairs of all 8 teams ahead of IPL 2021.
Shubman Gill recently showed glimpses of his talent in the Australia tour and will be a vital cog in the Indian team for the future. He had a decent season with the bat for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020 scoring 440 runs in 14 games. He opened with Sunil Narine at times and with Rahul Tripathy in IPL 2020, but KKR did not have the best of starts from their openers.
Nitish Rana is expected to partner Gill at the top which can be a good left and right combination. Rana is a seasoned campaigner and fared out 352 runs in the 14 games he played. Rana could be lethal at the top of the order with a lot of experience in the middle order for the IPL 2021 with the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, and Andre Russell.
Ben Stokes scored a brilliant hundred towards the end of the last IPL opening the batting which was a promising sign for the Royals. The expensive all-rounder has been under scrutiny for the most part of IPL due to his inconsistent performances. With Chris Morris and Rahul Tewatia at the middle order, Stokes will be happy to unleash his full potential at the top alongside his new captain Sanju Samson.
Samson had an electrifying start to the IPL 2020 but faded towards the middle and finished with 375 runs in 14 games. He recently was dropped from the Indian T20 side and will be looking to prove his form again by moving to the top of the order in the IPL 2021. The two players have looked to their best while opening and the Royals should open with them.
Robin Uthappa is coming off an excellent Vijay Hazare Trophy where he smashed the bowling to all parts of the ground. He was traded from the Royals ahead of the auction and with the CSK setup liking a lot of experience, Uthappa could play a key part this year for them. Gaikwad’s excellent run in the back end of the tournament was a promising sign and he could be used as a backup if Uthappa fails to get going in the IPL 2021.
Faf Du Plessis was the top scorer for CSK in their campaign last year and with Raina back in the squad, Faf could be the best option to provide a good start at the top. He scored 449 runs in the 13 games he played and is more focused on the limited-overs games after retiring from Test Cricket a few days ago.
Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw did exceedingly well in the 2019 season where Delhi qualified for their first playoffs under the young captain Shreyas Iyer after a long gap. Delhi despite making the finals of IPL 2020, did not have the best of starts at the top of the order as they lost one of the openers within the powerplay.
Prithvi Shaw started the season well but faded out after that and Rahane replaced him at the top of the order. Dhawan had an excellent run towards the latter half of the season where he scored two centuries in two games and carried the team throughout. Dhawan finished as the second-highest run-getter in IPL 2020 with 618 runs in 17 games and will look to continue his rich form into the IPL 2021.
Quinto De Kock and Rohit Sharma have been great at the top of the order with right and left combinations. With the amount of experience and big hitters to come, these openers have got the license to go after the bowlers from the start of the innings. De Kock has been a consistent performer in the IPL for years and scored 503 runs from 16 games finishing as the 6th highest run-getter in IPL 2020.
Rohit Sharma scored 332 runs in his 12 games missing a few games due to injury but led the team beautifully to the fifth IPL title for the Mumbai Indians and their second title consecutively. The duo of Rohit and De Kock’s numbers in international cricket is so good that both the players will be handy to the team to retain the title in IPL 2021.
The overseas combination of Jonny Bairstow and David Warner is an extremely dangerous pair as they can dismantle any bowling lineup. Warner has captained the Sunrisers in 2016 to an IPL title and has been a standout player for them over the years. He finished with 548 runs in 16 games in the IPL 2020 and was the third-highest run-getter in the overall season.
Jonny Bairstow has been very effective ever since he came into the team but had to miss out few games for the team combination requiring an experienced middle-order player like Kane Williamson. It will be down to the Sunrisers team if they could fit in their new buy Kedar Jadhav as the finisher which could work in the favour of Bairstow at the top of the order in the IPL 2021.
The new sensation who was one of the finds of the tournament, Devdutt Padikkal could be partnering Virat Kohli at the top of the order in the IPL 2021. Padikkal was among the leading run-scorers in the race for the orange cup scoring 473 runs in 15 games for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2020.
Devdutt Padikkal partnered with Finch in the IPL 2020 but the Australian couldn’t fulfil the expectations at the top of the order and looked totally out of socks. RCB have bought in Maxwell in the IPL auction 2021 which could push Kohli up the order to the top. Kohli had a decent season scoring 466 runs in 15 games and RCB could get the much-needed boost with their captain at the top in IPL 2021.
Kl Rahul bagged the orange cap IPL 2020 and amassed 670 runs in 14 matches for Punjab Kings while his partner Mayank Agarwal played a very good hand scoring 424 runs in 11 matches. The Karnataka pair had always had a great understanding and it was evident through their 183 run opening partnership in the IPL 2020 against Rajasthan Royals which was the highest partnership of the season.
With Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran at 3 and 4, Punjab has their top order almost sorted and can be very destructive if they got all their guns blazing at the right time. Punjab needs to make sure that the inexperienced middle order does not exert a lot of pressure on the top order which had reduced the strike rate of these openers in the last IPL.
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