IPL 2021: Hits and Misses, Week 3: CSK On The Upswing, SRH Sink Further, Shaw’s Redemption & Rahul Again At The Top

Another interesting week came to an end in IPL 2021. Almost half-way into the tournament and some trends and patterns have firmly got established in the season. Chennai Super Kings have reversed their fortunes from last year and look like the team to beat in this edition. On the other hand, Sunrisers Hyderabad had another poor week losing both their matches. The Punjab Kings continue to blow hot and cold with their fortunes firmly dependent on KL Rahul who has yet again moved to the top of the run charts for the season.

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Five In A Row For CSK

After losing their season opener against the Capitals, CSK have hit all the right notes and completely reversed their fortunes from the last edition. The poor performance of their top and middle order was their nemesis in the UAE – that has dramatically transformed this season. The batting is clicking big-time for CSK. They have registered four 180-plus totals batting first and chased down a target in the 170s with relative ease.

Faf du Plessis has continued from where he left in 2020. He continues to be CSK’s highest-scorer this season too and is striking at a high rate. He has an aggregate of 270 runs in 6 matches which includes three fifties. After an indifferent start, Ruturaj Gaikwad is showcasing his real prowess and has scored 192 runs with two fifties in the tournament.

Moeen Ali has chipped in with the cameos at number 3 while Ravindra Jadeja has grown in stature as the new finisher for the franchise.

CSK were the only team to remain unbeaten this week winning both their matches.

SRH On The Downhill

SRH went down in a heart-breaking loss to the Capitals in the Super Over in Chennai in a match they should have won. Chasing 159, Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson had given the team a flying start but the middle order collapsed reducing SRH from 84 for 2 in the 11th over to 136 for 7 in the 19th. The David Warner-led franchise then could not defend 171 against the Super Kings in Delhi.

SRH have now lost five of their first six matches and languish at the bottom of the table.

Mumbai Indians Get Breathing Space

The five-time defending champions are far from their best this season but courtesy a welcome return to form of their star opener – Quinton de Kock and a change in tactics by reshuffling the batting unit, put one across the Royals in Delhi on the 29th of April. The South African scored an unbeaten 70 off 50 deliveries while Krunal Pandya, promoted to number four, smashed a quickfire 39 off just 26 deliveries.

MI had lost their previous two matches in the tournament. The form of their X-factor in the middle order – Hardik Pandya remains a huge concern – he has managed to score just 36 runs in 5 innings in IPL 2021.

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Shaw’s Redemption & Rahul Piled On The Runs

Prithvi Shaw has redeemed himself with some stunning performances with the bat after ending the last season on a disastrous note. The devastating opener has continued from where he left in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and played two match-winning knocks for the Capitals this week. He recorded 53 off 39 deliveries against the Sunrisers in Chennai before another Player of the Match performance – 82 off 41 deliveries against the Knight Riders in Ahmedabad. The Capitals won two of their three matches this week and are sitting pretty at the number two position.

Punjab Kings were the other franchise which registered two victories this week. While an all-round bowling effort help them upset the Mumbai Indians by nine wickets in Chennai, all-rounder Harpreet Brar stole the show against the RCB backing his cameo with a match-winning spell of 3-19 in 4 overs which included the wickets of the Big 3 – Kohli, Maxwell and AB – in a space of seven deliveries.

However, the constant for PBKS in both their victories this week was their skipper – KL Rahul. He anchored the chase with a patient 60 against the Mumbai Indians before smashing 91 off 57 deliveries against the Challengers.

Rahul moved to the top of the run charts for the season and has an aggregate of 331 in 7 matches with as many as four fifties. He was the highest scorer in IPL 2020 as well with 670 runs. He has been in scintillating form in the last three editions of the IPL and had an aggregate of 1922 runs between 2018 and 2020 in the competition – the maximum for any player in the IPL.

Toss & Chasing A Factor For First Time In Tournament

The toss was not a factor for the first two weeks (16 matches) in the tournament with the teams winning the toss winning and losing the same number of matches. It was the same story for Chasing vs Setting a target too with the honours being shared 4-4.

The outcome is slightly different this week. In the 10 matches played this week (from match number 17 to match number 26), the side winning the toss has gone on to win 7 encounters while the team chasing a target has also gained a 6-3 advantage (one tie).

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