A number of COVID positive results in the first half of the IPL 2021 in India saw the postponement of the Indian marquee league. However, keeping in mind the third wave of the disastrous contagion, BCCI decided to reschedule the remainder of the IPL 2021 in the United Arab Emirates.
The shift in venue has hampered a lot of players in this edition of IPL. Irrespective of them having good outings in the last edition of IPL that was held in UAE, few of them faded away this season. But, the pitch in the Middle East also has changed dramatically from last year. Even the batsmen who had a scintillating first half have suffered in the second half in the UAE. In any case, there are few of them who had the reverse effect. They were moderate in the Indian leg, but have been stupendous in the UAE leg. Here is a list of batsmen who have had two different tales in the IPL 2021. Not only batsmen, there are few bowlers who had contrasting tales after the shift to the middle east:
Struggles of the Delhi openers
At the start of the 2021 edition of IPL, Delhi Capitals rode most of their wins on the back of their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. Their partnership in the first eight matches had hoisted 512 runs at an average of 64.2 and were striking at 154.2. However, since the shift to UAE, in seven innings the pair has averaged 33.1 and the strike rate comes down to 137.3. Apart from the 88-run partnership against Bangalore, nothing went right for the opening pair.
It is not just one person, both Dhawan and Shaw struggled in the second phase. Dhawan in the Indian leg, had scored close to 400 runs at an average of 54.3 and a strike rate of 134.3. However, in the eight innings he played in UAE, he scored runs at an average of 25.9 and strike rate of 110.1. As for his other opening partner, it was worse till his 31-ball 48 against Bangalore and 34-ball 60 against Chennai. Barring these two innings, Shaw couldn’t make an impact in the remaining five.
AB de Villiers disappoints in UAE
Though the pitches this season in UAE were slower compared to the last edition, AB de Villiers struggling to score runs comes in as a big surprise. In the Indian leg of the competition, de Villiers played three innings in Chennai and had scored at strike rate of 189.4 and averaged 62.5. If he has scored at that pace in Chennai, then other pitches should be the easiest one as Chennai has the history of producing slow wickets. Overall, the superman had scored over 200 runs at an average of 51.7 and strike rate of 164.3 in India
Heading into the UAE leg, something similar was expected of de Villiers, but it has gone south for him. In the eight innings he has played in UAE, de Villiers averages 17.7 and strikes at 124.7.
The middle order of Mumbai softened
The defending champions Mumbai Indians, crashed out in the leagues stages and the biggest problem for them was their middle order failed consistently. The big man from West Indies Kieron Pollard, the Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal, all struggled to get going in the Middle East, especially Pollard and Hardik.
Pollard had scored 168 runs in seven innings at an average of 56 and was striking at 171.4. However, the shift in venue saw him scoring runs at an average of 15.4 and strike rate of 114.9 in six innings. He had hit six every 7.5 balls in the Indian leg as compared to 22.3 in the UAE leg. Hardik?
Melee in Moeen’s form
The best of Moeen Ali in IPL has been brought out by Chennai in this season of IPL. Using him as a dasher at number three in the early stages has helped him play freely. In any case, the liberty has been there, but the performance has dropped since the shift in venue. Moeen in the Indian leg of IPL 2021 had scored 206 runs at an average of 34.3 and was striking at a whopping 157.3. However, the shift to UAE has seen a drop in his average as well as strike rate. In eight innings, Moeen has scored just over 150 runs at an average of 18.9 and strike rate of 117.
THE GOOD ENDINGS
Gaikwad’s glory in in the UAE
After proving his worth for Chennai in the last three matches of a dull 2020 season of the IPL, there was a lot of expectation on the young opener. But, he turned out to be a disappointment in the first half. In the seven matches he played in India, Gaikwad scored only 196 runs with two 50+ scores at an average of 28 and strike rate of 128.9. The shift in venue or the break came in as a blessing in disguise for Gaikwad. The opener has amassed almost double the amount of runs in eight innings played in the UAE leg. He has scored 407 runs at an average of 67.8 and strike rate of 141.8. He has scored three 50+ scores that includes a century as well, snatching the Orange Cap from KL Rahul in the process as well
Too late for Mumbai, but good signs for India
Ishan Kishan’s form in the 2020 IPL was rewarded with an India call-up in the England tour of India early in 2021. On debut, Kishan blasted his way through with a 28-ball half century. Despite having a poor IPL 2021 outing in the first-half, Kishan had been added to the Indian squad of World T20 starting from October 23rd. With below par performances in the first half of this year’s IPL and the starting stages of the second half, a cloud of uncertainty loomed over him. But, he backed it up with runs in his last two matches. A 25-ball half century against Rajasthan Royals and 16-ball record breaking 50 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last match of the league stage has probably revived his chances. After scoring runs at an average of 14.6 and strike rate of 83 in the Indian leg, Kishan scored 134 runs in the last two matches in the UAE leg. Overall in five innings he scored runs at an average of 42 and strike rate of 182.6.
Maxwell making an impact
Post the 2014 heroics, the ‘Big show’ in Glenn Maxwell was an everlasting search. After scoring most of his runs in the 2014 IPL season in the UAE conditions, Punjab Kings' expectation of him scoring runs in the 2020 edition was a big let off. However, his move to Bangalore has seen a new Maxwell. In the Indian leg he scored over 200 runs at an average of 37.2 and strike rate of 144.8. Though it wasn't an absolute nightmare of a start, Maxwell's stint in UAE had a different impact for Bangalore. In the UAE leg, there was not much difference in his average or strike rate as he scored 290 runs at an average of 48.3 and strike rate of 143.6. However, his impact was humumngous for Bangalore. On pitches where the likes of de Villiers and Kohli struggled to score quick runs, Maxwell was the only Bangalore batsman to score at 140+. Whereas, the second quickest was de Villiers with 124.7.
Shubman Gill enjoying the company of Venkatesh Iyer
With none of their batsmen scoring runs on a consistent basis, the onus was on Shubman Gill to give them a good start. However, the young opener had his own troubles in the first half as he failed regularly. In the Indian leg, Gill had scored runs at an average of 18.9 and strike rate of 117.9. Though his strike rate didn’t improve in the UAE leg, Gill was consistently among runs. In 10 matches, Gill scored 346 runs at an average of 34.6 with three 50+ scores. Gill and Iyer at the top had posted 508 partnership runs in the UAE leg alone with four 50+ partnerships in 10 innings.