The venues for the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) have thrown up a few surprises so far.
Chennai and Mumbai, which have hosted the first 17 matches of IPL 2021, have been rather unpredictable. Both grounds have seen high-scoring encounters and sluggish pitches in almost equal measure, with Chepauk in particular proving to be hard to contend with for most teams.
Despite the variable conditions, many batsmen have stamped their authority on the tournament. Here, we rank the 3 best batting performances from Week 2 of IPL 2021. Note: Matches from MI vs SRH (Match 9) to RR vs RCB (Match 16) have been considered for the purposes of this article.
#3 Shikhar Dhawan (92 off 49, IPL 2021 Match 11 - DC vs PBKS)
One of the standout performers of IPL 2021 so far, Shikhar Dhawan made it to our Week 1 roundup and finds an entry on this list as well.
The DC southpaw has stepped up in the absence of regular captain Shreyas Iyer, and registered his highest score of this year's tournament so far in Match 11 against PBKS. Chasing a tall 195-run total, Dhawan wasted no time in the run-chase en route to the Man of the Match award.
He and opening partner Prithvi Shaw raced away to 59/0 in just 5.2 overs, before the latter fell to Arshdeep Singh. Dhawan ensured that DC didn't lose momentum although Steve Smith and then Rishabh Pant struck at less than a run-a-ball.
Dhawan stroked 13 fours and cleared the boundary 2 times in his 92-run knock. He was bowled in the 15th over by Jhye Richardson and missed out on a well-deserved ton, but he had laid the platform for DC to get over the line with 6 wickets andn 10 balls to spare.
#2 Faf du Plessis (95* off 60, IPL 2021 Match 15 - CSK vs KKR)
Having played very little international cricket over the last year, Faf du Plessis struggled to find his bearings in CSK's first few games of IPL 2021. But the faith shown by the team management and a batting-friendly wicket at the Wankhede Stadium brought the best out of him in Match 15 against KKR.
After CSK were put in to bat by Eoin Morgan, Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad took the attack to KKR in the powerplay. The pacers leaked runs, with the South African dancing down the track with abandon and playing a number of innovative scoops.
Du Plessis suffered a brief lull in the middle overs, but recovered brilliantly to score 95 unbeaten runs. KKR lost the match by 18 runs, and he was rightfully adjudged the Man of the Match for his knock which consisted of 9 fours and 4 sixes.
#1 Devdutt Padikkal (101* off 52, IPL 2021 Match 16 - RR vs RCB)
After being ruled out of the first encounter by the medical team, Devdutt Padikkal was largely unimpressive in RCB's next two games. But he exploded into form in Match 16 against RR.
RR recovered well after a top-order collapse to post 177, but Padikkal made a mockery of the target with his effortless hitting. Carting Chris Morris and Shreyas Gopal to all corners of the ground, the southpaw ensured RCB were always well ahead of the required run rate.
Padikkal struck 11 fours and 6 maximums during his maiden IPL hundred, with captain Virat Kohli happy to play second fiddle to the youngster. Kohli too accelerated towards the end of the innings as RCB crossed the finish line in the 17th over without losing a wicket.