The 14th season of IPL will kick off from April 9. Considering that the T20 World Cup is on Indian soil this time, preceded by the IPL, the batters will be looking to adapt to the Indian pitches as a practice for the upcoming event.
The concept of awarding the highest run-getter with the Orange Cap adds meritocracy to the league. Keeping that in mind, let’s have a look at the contenders for the Orange Cap in IPL 2021:
PUNJAB KINGS- KL Rahul
In the recently concluded India vs England series, KL Rahul failed to make his mark as an opener in the T-20 leg. Since the Indian team has surplus T-20 talent and Rahul is one of them, he will actively look to convert his beautiful starts into big scores and retain the Orange Cap.
Last year in the IPL, he was the highest scorer with 670 runs in 14 matches at an astonishing average of 55.83, something one doesn’t usually get to witness in the T-20 format.
Even in 2018, he crossed the 600-run mark making 659 from 14 matches at a strike rate of 158.41. Given his IPL stats, he will be looking to make the most of the opportunity and retain his Orange Cap.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE- Devdutt Padikkal
Devdutt Padikkal is one of the youngest players competing for the Orange Cap. Having already shown his consistency in the Vijay Hazare trophy by piling up 737 runs in 7 matches at an average of 147.40 supported by four consecutive hundreds and three fifties, he will be more than eager to give the much-needed wings to his career.
The southpaw has scored 473 runs in his maiden IPL last season at an average of 31.53 and a strike rate of 124.80, surpassing Virat Kohli and ending up as the highest run-getter for his franchise, which makes him a top contender for this year’s Orange Cap.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS- Shubman Gill
With Scott Styris recently placing Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) as the second last in his ranking position of IPL 2021 due to their batting woes, the stage is set for Shubman Gill to rescue KKR and make his mark in the T-20 world.
The young lad recently featured in the Test series against Australia and had cricketing pundits heaping praise for his technique and elegance.
The 2020 IPL was a boon where he amassed 440 runs in 14 matches at an average of 33.84 and three fifties, making him the highest scorer for KKR and on 12th position overall.
Remembered for his brilliant pressure handling tactics in Australia, it’s yet another opportunity for Gill to make the world reminisce about his brilliance.
DELHI CAPITALS- Rishabh Pant
After MS Dhoni’s retirement, the world has seen another hefty wicketkeeper-batsman that goes by the name of Rishabh Pant.
Having already proved his mettle, Pant is known for his out and out aggressive batting tactics that can make even good bowlers lose their line and length.
Pant has managed to score 2079 runs in 68 matches at a domineering strike rate of 151.97 and an average of 35.23.
After being given the charge of Delhi Capitals (DC) ahead of the likes of R. Ashwin and Shikhar Dhawan, Pant can be their go-to batsman when the team needs to accelerate.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD- David Warner
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner is the new Mr. Consistent after Suresh Raina in the IPL. Having won the Orange Cap in 2019 by scoring 692 runs in 12 matches at an average of 69.20 and finishing third in the list of contenders for the Orange Cap in the previous season, only behind KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, Warner is the run machine for his franchise.
The fact that he has the highest number of fifties (48) in the IPL history only serves to embellish his mark as the most consistent league performer in the past few years.
Warner is only behind Suresh Raina and that too by a few inches in the list of highest run-getters in the IPL.
MUMBAI INDIANS- Suryakumar Yadav
Considering the form that Suryakumar Yadav (SKY) has displayed in the recent India vs England T20 series, there is no denying that he is one of the top contenders for the orange cap and a force to reckon with
Having both the abilities to build a steady inning and going all guns blazing from the first ball itself, Surya can be at the turning point of his career where he makes a place for himself in the leagues of the current greats of the game.
Last year, he was the second-highest scorer for Mumbai Indians (MI), only behind Ishan Kishan and the 7th overall, amassing 480 runs at a swashbuckling strike rate of 145.01 and an average of 40. He supported his knocks with four half-centuries that came at crucial moments.
Overall, he has featured in 101 matches and scored 2024 runs with eleven fifties and an average of 30.20.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS- Ben Stokes
Though he only played eight matches for Rajasthan Royals(RR) in the previous IPL season, Ben Stokes made a mark for himself by scoring a century and amassing 285 runs at an average of 40.71 and a strike rate of 142.50.
With the recently concluded England tour of India, Stokes must have read the Indian pitches and will be in a form at par with the other contenders of the Orange Cap.
With the T-20 world cup ahead this year on Indian soil, Stokes will be looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS- Suresh Raina
It’s good news for the Chennai Super Kings(CSK) fans as Mr. IPL Suresh Raina is back after a year. He has the second-highest runs in the IPL history, with 5368 runs at a fairly destructive strike rate of 137.14 and an average of 33.34.
These numbers speak volumes about him, and he is one of the chief weapons in the CSK arson.
Fans would be hoping that Raina will continue his form and dazzle the world with his willow once again.