The fourteenth season of the world's most spectacular franchise cricket tournament (IPL) is just days away now. The excitement is building and so are the expectations. The higher the expectations, the higher the pressure. In this feature, we look at three in-form players who failed to deliver in IPL 2020.
There is no question about the potential and capabilities of these players but last season proved to be a forgettable one for each of them. All three have found the form at the right time. Will the tide shift in their favor during IPL 2021? Without further ado, let’s start the analysis.
#1 Prithvi Shaw is yet to fire in the IPL
It will be Prithvi Shaw's fourth season with Delhi Capitals. While the 21-year-old has shown a lot of promise, he has never really come into his own in his first three seasons with Delhi. In 2018, his debut IPL season, Shaw amassed 245 runs in 9 matches at an average of 27.22 and a good strike rate of 153.12. The opening batsman had a decent outing in 2019 as well, finishing the season with 353 runs in 16 matches, including a spectacular 99 against KKR. However, 2020 was a rather forgettable season for Prithvi. He could only manage to score 228 runs in 13 at a dismal average of 17.53 and a strike rate of 136.52.
The IPL 2020 is behind him now and Shaw has been in phenomenal form lately. The right-handed batsman captained Mumbai to win the 2020–21 Vijay Hazare Trophy. Shaw led by example and emerged as the highest run-scorer of the tournament, with 827 runs in 8 matches at a mind-boggling average of 165.40 and a fantastic strike rate of 138.29.
He scored 4 centuries and a crucial quickfire 73 off 39 in the final match against Uttar Pradesh on March 2014. Shaw looked in stunning form throughout the tournament, smashing the ball into all corners of the park. His 227 off 152 against Puducherry was also a class apart and quite easily one of his most memorable knocks of the tournament.
The young batting prodigy will now be rearing to make his mark on the big stage now. Will it finally be his season? Only time will tell.
#2 Glenn Maxwell failed to get going last season
After Maxwell was unable to do any justice to his hefty paycheque for the Punjab Kings (erstwhile Kings XI Punjab) last season, he was released ahead of the IPL 2021 edition. In IPL 2020, the Australian scored a meager 108 runs in 13 matches at a disappointing average of 15.42 and a strike rate of 101.88. He just could not get going with the bat and cricketing fans missed out on witnessing his extravagant shots and sweeps. The all-rounder failed to make much of an impact with the ball as well, clinching just 3 wickets in the tournament.
Maxwell always garners a lot of interest at IPL auctions. This time it was no different.
RCB won a major bidding war and picked up Maxwell at the auction for a massive sum of Rs 14.25 crore. He became the third-highest buy at the auction, after Chris Morris and Kyle Jamieson, respectively. If The Big Show can complement the fiery duo of Kohli-ABD well this season, it could certainly be a game-changer for the franchise. It could be class and extravagance at its absolute best.
The explosive right-handed batsman displayed glimpses of his brilliance in the recently concluded Big Bash League 2020–21. Captaining the Melbourne Stars, Maxwell scored 379 runs in 14 matches at an average of 31.58 and a blazing strike rate of 143.56. He also scored three fifties and also chipped in with the ball by picking up 7 wickets. RCB fans will be hoping that the master stroke maker can build upon his form in the IPL as well. They will also be looking forward to seeing AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell together at the crease.
Barring the 2014 edition of the IPL, success has eluded Maxwell in the blockbuster tournament. It will be interesting to see if he will be able to finally break the jinx and make his mark in RCB colors.
#3 Krunal Pandya will want to contribute more to MI
Krunal Pandya will be playing his sixth IPL in 2021. Although Mumbai Indians went on to lift the 2020 IPL trophy, the senior Pandya brother did not make any significant contribution to the triumph. The all-rounder scored just 109 runs in 16 matches and ended up with just 6 wickets in his kitty.
However, Krunal has garnered a lot of limelight recently and deservedly so. He captained Baroda in the 2020–21 Vijay Hazare Trophy. The 30-year-old looked in sublime form, smashing 388 runs in 5 matches at an average of 129.33 and a strike rate of 117.93. He also scored two centuries, an unbeaten 127* against Tripura and then an unbeaten 133* against Chhattisgarh. Krunal also picked up 5 wickets in the tournament. Under Pandya's leadership, Baroda won 4 of their 5 matches in the league stage. However, they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the knockout stage.
Regardless, Krunal had left his mark and an Indian ODI call-up looked inevitable. Pandya finally got his ODI cap and made his debut against England in Pune on 23 March 2021. It was a dream debut for the all-rounder as he hit a 26-ball 50, the fastest by a debutant in ODIs. He finished with an unbeaten 58 off 31 balls and smashed 2 sixes and 7 fours in the memorable knock, helping India reach a great total of 317/5 in their 50 overs. He also took the wicket of Sam Curran, getting him out for 12, and finishing with figures of 1/59 in his 10 overs. With newfound confidence and zeal to perform, the IPL 2021 looks set to be 'the' season for Krunal.
Which of these three in-form players do you think will be able to create the maximum impact for his side?