Two weeks have passed in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and it promises to be another tightly-contested, entertaining tournament.
Heavily fancied Mumbai Indians have been among the teams to have disappointed so far. Rohit Sharma's men have struggled to adapt to Chepauk, which is in stark contrast to the Wankhede Stadium, and are placed fifth with two wins from five games.
On a positive note, a few teams have exceeded expectations to be placed in the upper echelons of the IPL 2021 points table. Here are the 3 teams which have made a name for themselves as the early favorites for the title.
#3 Delhi Capitals - 3 wins in 4 IPL 2021 games
While the Delhi Capitals (DC) still had a squad brimming with experience and variety, many wondered whether they'd be able to cope with the loss of regular captain Shreyas Iyer.
Under the leadership of 23-year-old Rishabh Pant, DC have raced away to three wins in four games to be placed third on the IPL 2021 points table. The bowling attack has shone even as Kagiso Rabada missed the first two games, while Anrich Nortje - who scalped 20 wickets last year - is yet to feature for the team.
The DC top order has been one of the biggest reasons behind their success. Shikhar Dhawan is the owner of the Orange Cap with 231 runs, while Prithvi Shaw and Steve Smith have come up with meaningful contributions.
DC will face a number of challenging matches in the coming week or two, where their character and leadership will be tested. But as of now, they are one of the favorites to lift the IPL 2021 title.
#2 Chennai Super Kings - 3 wins in 4 IPL 2021 games
Perhaps the biggest surprise package of IPL 2021, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have overcome an opening defeat to the Delhi Capitals in admirable fashion.
Many experts and analysts predicted that MS Dhoni's men would have another disappointing season. After all, they hadn't managed to freshen up the side much, and still had a number of players short on both match practice and fitness.
But in typical Dhoni fashion, he has been able to bring the best out of his team, even if he himself is not in world-beating batting form. New signing Moeen Ali has been a breath of fresh air at No. 3, while the old guard of Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja have been as reliable as ever.
Playing with a long batting lineup, CSK have been boosted by the opening spells of Deepak Chahar. A number of different players have already stepped up for the 3-time champions at an unfamiliar venue, making them one of the favorites to finish in the top two and go all the way in IPL 2021.
#1 Royal Challengers Bangalore - 4 wins in 4 IPL 2021 games
Could this be the year? Four games into their IPL 2021 campaign, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have made the league sit up and take notice.
Virat Kohli's men haven't missed a trick despite playing their first three games at Chepauk. The batting lineup has been led by the metronomic consistency of Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell, while AB de Villiers and Devdutt Padikkal have chipped in with match-winning contributions as well.
The biggest surprise for RCB has been the bowling attack, which has regulary picked up wickets even though talisman Yuzvendra Chahal isn't anywhere near his best form. Mohammed Siraj has been lethal with the new ball, while new signings Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel have fit in perfectly with the team.
RCB seem like the real deal this year. If they can maintain this consistency and finish in the top two, they'll give themselves a real chance of breaking their IPL hoodoo.