The powerplay is perhaps the most crucial phase of a game of T20 cricket, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) is no different.
Openers and new-ball bowlers have engaged in some intense battles in the IPL. Last season, we saw the Chennai Super Kings lose a number of games because they failed to score runs in the powerplay and lost wickets to boot. In this campaign as well, the first six overs of each innings will hold utmost importance and teams will have to identify their best possible new-ball pairing.
In this article, we attempt to predict the new-ball bowling pairs of all 8 teams and rank them in order from worst to best.
#8 RR - Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman
A question mark hangs over Jofra Archer's replacement in the RR playing XI for IPL 2021. Jaydev Unadkat has been woefully expensive over the last few IPL seasons, and this might prompt RR to field an overseas pacer in place of Archer.
Mustafizur Rahman's availability for the first two games isn't confirmed, but he should make his way into the team eventually. The Bangladesh left-armer will add some variety to the RR pace attack, and he could share the new ball with expensive signing Chris Morris.
But this pairing isn't anywhere near the best in IPL 2021. While Mustafizur is a shadow of the bowler who won the Emerging Player Award, Morris isn't active in international cricket at the moment.
Get the prediction for today's IPL match here.
#7 CSK - Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran
CSK's new-ball bowling pair for IPL 2021 is a bit more straightforward.
Deepak Chahar had a rather disappointing campaign in IPL 2020, and he'll want to set the record straight this year. Sam Curran, on the other hand, was one of the team's best performers last year and will look to contribute more in the bowling department.
While both Chahar and Curran can swing the ball both ways, they may not have enough pace on offer to trouble opposition batsmen consistently. With CSK playing a number of games in Bangalore and Mumbai, this new-ball pair might be taken for runs often.
#6 RCB - Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar
RCB might be the only team in IPL 2021 to open the bowling regularly with a spinner in Washington Sundar. The young off-spinner was underutilised by captain Virat Kohli in the previous campaign, but he's in a rich vein of form and should be used in the powerplay.
Mohammed Siraj wasn't part of RCB's first-choice playing XI in IPL 2020, but he made an immediate impact once he was handed an opportunity. Buoyed by an excellent Test stint with the Indian team, Siraj will trust himself to provide regular breakthroughs early on.
But Siraj hasn't proven himself in the T20 format as much as the other new-ball bowlers on this list, resulting in RCB being ranked at #6 on this IPL 2021 list.
#5 PBKS - Mohammed Shami and Jhye Richardson
Mohammed Shami has recovered from the broken arm he sustained during India's Test series against Australia, and he'll want to replicate the form he showed in the first half of IPL 2020 for PBKS. Jhye Richardson, the most expensive purchase by the franchise in the history of the IPL auction, should share the new ball with Shami.
While this pairing looks reasonably solid on paper, it remains to be seen if Richardson can translate his BBL form to the IPL. Shami too is a bit short on match practice, and thus PBKS don't break the top half of this list.