The 2021 edition of the IPL has been one of the best ones so far. Several matches were close and competitive with every team looking to earn a spot in the playoffs. Even the best of teams did not have it easy. Mumbai Indians who won the previous 2 editions of the tournament didn’t even manage to make it to the playoffs this year.
Sunrisers Hyderabad who qualified for the last 5 seasons in a row failed to earn a spot in the playoffs as well. The season was even suspended in early May after the COVID-19 outbreak in India, ultimately resuming in September in Abu Dhabi.
The season itself began with one a very close match between the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. RCB won the match against MI on the very last ball while chasing a target of 160.
Delhi Capitals was the best team in the group stage this year. With a total of 20 points, DC lost just 4 games throughout the entire season.
2 of those 4 losses were to RCB, who narrowly won both times, once by 1 run and the second one being a last ball win. DC also became the first team to ever win both its matches against both the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians.
CSK finished 2nd with 18 points and ultimately beat DC in Qualifier 1 to make it to the IPL finals for a record 9th time. Kolkata Knight Riders qualified for the first time in 4 years after a close net run rate against the Mumbai Indians.
Several young players proved their talent this year. One of the main players is Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Harshal Patel who took 32 wickets this season, tying the record for most wickets by a bowler in a tournament in IPL history.
But since IPL is so unpredictable, Patel too had some infamous moments, one was on the receiving end of the most runs conceded in a single over when Ravindra Jadeja smashed an incredible 37 off Patel’s final over which included a no ball.
Another young talent from Delhi Capitals Avesh Khan is #2 in the purple cap holders list. Khan along with Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada helped DC become one of the most feared bowling sides ever.
Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul holds the orange cap for being the highest run scorer this season. Rahul won the orange cap last year as well.
Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan who was the second highest run scorer in 2020 is #3 this year behind Rahul and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Mumbai Indians finished 5th this year in the points table, after a string of losses in the second half of the tournament. MI bounced back towards the end, but by then it was too-little-too-late. In the end, MI had to win its last match by 171 runs to edge over Kolkata Knight Riders and make it into the playoffs.
MI won the match, but KKR managed to make it into the playoffs.
KKR beat RCB in the Eliminator and will now face DC in Qualifier 2. The winner of that match will face CSK in the finals. Both KKR and DC have looked incredible this season and it will be interesting to see how their match plays out.