The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has seen the usual suspects in and among the top of the Orange Cap chart.
Shikhar Dhawan is in possession of the accolade with 311 runs in 7 games, and he is closely followed by Faf du Plessis, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul and Sanju Samson. Almost every team finds representation in the top 10 of the IPL 2021 Orange Cap list, and the battle for the award is set to go down to the wire.
However, a few players who started the tournament among the runs now find themselves in a bit of strife. Here are 3 batsmen who started IPL 2021 with a blazing knock but have failed to capitalize on the same.
#3 Suresh Raina (CSK)
After missing IPL 2020 with personal reasons, Suresh Raina made a welcome return to the Chennai Super Kings side in their opening fixture against the Delhi Capitals. And although Rishabh Pant marked his captaincy debut with a 7-wicket win, CSK fans had a lot to cheer about.
Raina, batting below Moeen Ali at No. 4, hit three fours and four sixes en route to 54 off just 36 balls. The southpaw feasted on DC's spinners - Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin - and essayed a number of trademark lofted drives.
Since then, although Raina has gotten very few opportunities in the middle, he's been distinctly sub-par. The familiar short-ball woes have resurfaced, and opponents have targeted him with chin music as soon as he arrives at the crease.
With scores of 8, 18, 24 and 17*, Raina has looked like a cat on a hot tin roof in IPL 2021. He needs to figure out a way to successfully counter the tactic that has brought about his downfall so many times in the IPL.
#2 Deepak Hooda (PBKS)
Coming into IPL 2021 in the eye of an ugly domestic controversy involving state captain Krunal Pandya, Baroda all-rounder Deepak Hooda had a point to prove. In the Punjab Kings' first game of the season against the Rajasthan Royals, he smashed his way to 64 after coming in at No. 4 ahead of Nicholas Pooran.
But Hooda has been disappointing with the bat since then, although he's made himself useful with the ball and in the field. The youngster has scores of 10, 22*, 13 and 1, and he hasn't been able to make the most of the rich vein of form he's in.
Hooda's fortunes have mirrored those of PBKS, who have only one win in the five IPL 2021 games they've played since their triumph over Sanju Samson's side. He needs to step up to the plate today against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
#1 Nitish Rana (KKR)
Nitish Rana scrapes into the top 10 of the IPL 2021 Orange Cap list, but his consistency - or lack thereof - has left many disappointed. Opening the batting alongside Shubman Gill, the left-hander has 201 runs in 7 games at an average of 28.71 and a strike rate of 122.56.
Rana's stats have fallen off dramatically since the start of the season, where he scored a match-winning 80 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and followed it up with a pleasing 57 against the Mumbai Indians. Scores of 18, 9, 22, 0 and 15 are all the Delhi-born player has managed since then.
Rana has played a number of careless shots to be dismissed. Even in the team's previous IPL 2021 game against the Delhi Capitals, he hit a six before needlessly dancing down the wicket to be stumped off the very next ball. KKR need their opener to get back amongst the runs and set the foundation for a shaky middle order to feel a bit more at home.