The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is nearing the halfway point of the group stage, and most teams are still firmly in contention for the playoffs.
We've seen a number of classy innings during IPL 2021, such as Sanju Samson's destructive hundred against the Punjab Kings and Devdutt Padikkal's maiden IPL ton against the Rajasthan Royals.
A few players have made an impact batting lower down the order as well. AB de Villiers has been crucial for the Royal Challengers Bangalore at No. 5, while Ravindra Jadeja has become the Chennai Super Kings' primary finisher.
However, some players aren't at their best because of their batting position. Here are 3 players who need to be moved up the order in IPL 2021.
#3 Kane Williamson (SRH)
In his first two games of IPL 2021, Kane Williamson batted at No. 3 in the absence of Manish Pandey. But when Pandey returned to the playing XI against the Chennai Super Kings, the Kiwi skipper dropped down a slot to No. 4.
Williamson may be batting only one position lower, but it's absolutely imperative that he comes in to bat at the fall of the first wicket. With Jonny Bairstow employing a highly aggressive approach at the top of the order, the Sunrisers Hyderabad need someone to bat through the innings and play the role of the anchor.
Williamson can do that and much more. Capable of switching gears at will and proficient against both pace and spin, he must bat at No. 3 for SRH in the remainder of IPL 2021.
#2 Sam Curran (CSK)
Sam Curran was the Chennai Super Kings' find of the season in IPL 2020, and was even promoted to open the batting for a few games. But this year, he finds himself in the lower-middle order, having even batted at No. 8 on occasion.
Curran is one of the brightest young talents in world cricket at the moment, and CSK need to make the most of his obvious talent with the bat. Quite how they will do this remains to be seen.
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis are in red-hot form at the top of the order, while Moeen Ali has been the lynchpin of the batting lineup at No. 3. Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu are top-order batsmen who are already being moved down a spot or two, and Ravindra Jadeja is one of the best finishers in the world at the moment.
But CSK are definitely underutilizing the services of their star all-rounder, who could benefit from a more attacking approach in the powerplay and during the middle overs.
#1 Andre Russell (KKR)
Andre Russell's ideal batting position has been a topic of heated debate for many an IPL season now. The West Indian is as destructive as they come on his day, but he also has glaring weaknesses in technique and application.
So the Kolkata Knight Riders have decided to use him as a dasher - someone who doesn't have to worry about the demands of the situation and can take the attack to the opposition at will. But the strategy hasn't worked for them so far, as they have only two wins in six IPL 2021 games.
KKR might need to back Russell to bat higher up the order, ideally at No. 5. Captain Eoin Morgan is one of the best in the world at No. 4, while Rahul Tripathi has been a match-winner in the top three. So far, Morgan and the team management have sent in Sunil Narine and even Dinesh Karthik ahead of Russell, who has often come in with only a few overs remaining.