The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) had to be postponed indefinitely on Tuesday. The BCCI was forced to take the call after numerous COVID-19 positive cases emerged in the IPL 2021 bio-bubble.
IPL 2021 began on April 9 with a match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. A total of 29 games were held till May 2, and things seemed to be going according to plan.
On May 3, though, the contest between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and RCB at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad had to be postponed after two KKR players tested positive. It was decided to temporarily halt IPL 2021 after more cases came to the fore on Tuesday.
Five players who have struggled in IPL 2021
While the IPL 2021 postponement is definitely an unfortunate development, there are a few players who might not be too displeased with it, as they have struggled for form. On that note, let's take a look at five such names.
#5 David Warner
David Warner began the tournament as the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and was one of the overseas players to look forward to. But after SRH’s first six matches in IPL 2021, he was sacked by the management as captain and did not even feature in the playing XI in the team's next encounter.
Warner was not at his fluent best in the six IPL 2021 games he featured in. He scored 193 runs; though he managed to score two half-centuries, the left-hander had a poor strike rate of 110.28. In the last match he played against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Warner took painfully long 55 balls for his 57, failing to find the boundaries.
It did not help Warner that SRH, as a team, were struggling too. At the time of IPL 2021’s postponement, the Hyderabad-based team were placed last in the points table, with a solitary win from seven games.
Speculation is rife that Warner may have played his last in SRH colours.
#4 Shardul Thakur
CSK pacer Shardul Thakur went into IPL 2021 high on confidence. He had played a key role in India’s limited-overs triumphs against England, picking up crucial wickets at regular intervals. Quite surprisingly, he could not find his rhythm in the first half of IPL 2021.
In seven matches, he only managed five wickets at a strike rate of 31 and a shocking economy rate of 10.33. Almost every time he came on to bowl, he was hammered for runs. Batsmen were able to read his knuckle balls, and Thakur failed in his execution of yorkers as well.
Twice in IPL 2021, he conceded over 50 runs in a game - 2/53 in 3.4 overs against DC and 1/56 in four overs against MI. In a few other games as well, he ended up giving away over 40 runs. The numbers do tell a sorry tale of Thakur’s struggles.
#3 Eoin Morgan
KKR captain Eoin Morgan had a torrid time with the bat for England against India in the limited-overs contests preceding IPL 2021. His poor form spilled over into the T20 league as well.
In seven IPL 2021 matches, Morgan managed only 92 runs at a strike rate of 112.19. Like in the series against India, the left-hander kept getting out, looking to take on the bowlers without getting his eye in.
The slog-sweep has proved to be Morgan’s Achilles' heel as he has been caught at the boundary numerous times in the last two months while attempting the stroke.
While Morgan did walk away with the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 47 not out in KKR's victory over PBKS, he registered ducks on either side of that knock.
#2 Kagiso Rabada
From being the Purple Cap winner last season to becoming somewhat of weak link in the DC bowling line-up in IPL 2021, it has been a strange few months for Kagiso Rabada.
The DC lead pacer was just not in his elements in the first half of IPL 2021. The deadly, toe-crushing yorkers were missing for the most part. When he did try them, he could not get them right. Opposition batsmen were also able to spot Rabada’s variations, and his slower balls, too, did not prove effective.
Somehow, Rabada and new DC captain Rishabh Pant could not gel together as a unit, and the results reflected in the bowler’s indifferent IPL 2021 numbers.
In seven matches, Kagiso Rabada claimed eight wickets at a strike rate of 19.50 and an economy rate of 8.76. He did claim 3 for 36 against PBKS but wasn’t close to his best.
#1 Nicholas Pooran
PBKS batsman Nicholas Pooran would be most relieved that his horror in IPL 2021 is over, at least for the time being. The West Indian just couldn't get his act together and kept finding new ways to get out.
In seven IPL 2021 matches, he only managed 28 runs and was dismissed without scoring on four occasions. Pooran, in fact, began his campaign in the T20 league by registering blobs in the first two matches. After falling to a long hop against RR, he guided a short delivery in the game against CSK straight to long-leg.
Things only got worse for Pooran, as he was run out without facing a ball against SRH, with Warner securing a direct hit from extra cover.
By the time PBKS faced RCB, Nicholas Pooran seemed to have been resigned to his fate. The left-hander fended at a short one in ungainly fashion and was caught at backward point, walking back with a fourth duck against his name in IPL 2021.
Things just did not happen for Pooran. He would be hoping for better returns when IPL 2021 resumes.