The IPL 2021 final was the story of two incredible fightbacks. Written off after a disastrous previous season, CSK hit back like true champions do. KKR, on the other hand, were termed no-hopers after a lethargic first half in the ongoing edition. However, they displayed tremendous vigor to finish as runners-up.
Every year, the IPL gives the cricketing fraternity new stars and heroes. Some are newcomers who grab the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with both hands. There are also a few who have been on the playing circuit for a while but find the limelight belatedly, thanks to the IPL.
5 names who made a massive impact in IPL 2021
For a change, this year’s IPL did not witness any rising overseas player make his mark. However, some remarkable Indian talent came to the fore. Here’s a recap.
#1 Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK - 635 runs)
A member of the IPL 2021-winning squad, Orange Cap winner, Emerging Player of the year - could it get any better for Ruturaj Gaikwad? The 24-year-old CSK opener powered the franchise’s campaign with old warhorse Faf du Plessis (633) runs.
Gaikwad creamed 635 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 136.26. Apart from four half-centuries, he also cracked his maiden IPL ton. Although it was in a losing cause against Rajasthan Royals (RR), Gaikwad’s 101* off 60 was an incredible effort.
The elegant batter scored a crucial 70 in Qualifier 1 against Delhi Capitals (DC) as CSK made it to the final. Even in the summit clash, he got the team off to a brisk start, scoring a crucial 32 off 27.
Towards the end of last season, Gaikwad made an impression with three consecutive fifties. This year, though, he lifted his performance to an altogether different level.
#2 Venkatesh Iyer (KKR - 370 runs)
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that KKR would not have reached where they did had it not been for Venkatesh Iyer’s introduction at the top of the order. Throughout the first half, KKR’s views of wanting to play with intent seemed hollow talk as they failed to practice what they preached.
It all changed in the second half in the UAE with Iyer being given the task of opening alongside Shubman Gill. The tall left-hander smashed an unbeaten 41 off 27 as KKR trounced RCB. Iyer typified coach Brendon McCullum’s aggressive intent and Kolkata’s renaissance had begun.
Iyer followed up his bright debut with a maiden half-century in the very next match against Mumbai Indians (MI). He scored breezy fifties in Qualifier 2 as well as the final. The 26-year-old’s fearless approach went a long way in redefining KKR’s IPL 2021 campaign.