Having started back on 9th April, the 2021 IPL will go down as one of the longest events in the modern history of Cricket. Having been suspended in May following a surge in Covid cases, the league returned in September with the UAE playing host to the remaining 31 games of the tournament.
MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings won their fourth IPL title with a win over Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai, with Faf du Plessis starring with a stellar 86 from just 59 balls to scoop the Man of the Match award. With another exciting edition of the IPL wrapping up for another year, SinkorSwimSports takes a look at the tournament’s biggest winners, losers, runner-ups, stand-out performances, and the best pre-match bets you could have made in hindsight in the Cricket betting markets.
Gaikwad And du Plessis Bat CSK To The Title
Chennai Super Kings built their IPL win on the back of a strong showing with the bat, with Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis being the undoubted stars of the show.
Only two runs separated the pair throughout the season, with CSK’s opening duo putting on 1,268 runs from the team’s 16 matches in 2021. Faf du Plessis topped the team for strike rate and batting average with 138.20 and 48.69 respectively, showcasing his wealth of experiences in the white-ball formats of the game.
24-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad hit 635 runs across the campaign, striking the ball at 136.26 with a remarkable average of 45.35. His 64 fours were the most by any batsman at the tournament, and his maiden century against the Rajasthan Royals was the third-highest score at the event, helping the Pune native win both the Orange Cap and Emerging Player of the Season awards.
Virat Bows Out Without A Win
Virat Kohli is perhaps the greatest cricketer of his generation, and undoubtedly the player with the highest profile in the sport. He has been plying his trade in the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore since the tournament’s founding in 2008 and has been the captain of the team since 2012.
But whilst Kohli is undoubtedly one of the IPL’s all-time greats, with his 973 runs at an average of 81.08 in 2016 still perhaps the best white-ball franchise record in the world, RCB have become known as the league’s greatest underachievers, finishing as runners-up on three occasions without ever winning a title.
The 2021 IPL season was once again another case of some high highs, but an ultimately disappointing conclusion for Kohli and co, with the team finishing 3rd in the table with a 9-5 record, before being skittled for just 139 and losing in the Eliminator to Kolkata Knight Riders.
For King Kohli, it was an unusually quiet IPL campaign, with the Indian captain failing to bag a single Man of the Match award, and only hitting 405 runs at an average of 28,92. His strike rate of 119.40 was the worst in RCB’s top five, and it was announced ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup that he would be stepping down as the team’s captain.
How Kohli performs under a new captain at RCB should be interesting to see, but not being able to pick up a maiden IPL title as skipper is sure to be a sore pill for one of cricket’s all-time GOATs to swallow.
Morgan’s Final To Forget
Eoin Morgan is one of the great white-ball specialists as both a batsman and captain, leading England to their maiden World Cup triumph and becoming the leading run-scorer and appearance maker in both the ODI and T20 formats. He has also become an IPL veteran for the Kolkata Knight Riders, having played for the side between 2010-13, and then again from 2020-.
He was appointed captain of the team during the 2020 season and managed to lead KKR to an unlikely final spot against the Chennai Super Kings in his first full season as skipper.
However, much like his recent run of performances with England, Morgan’s vein of form did mirror that of his team’s for much of IPL 2021, with the England skipper only managing 133 runs from 16 innings at an average of 11,08 and striking the ball at just 95.68.
Morgan’s dismal personal campaign culminated in a final to forget, winning the toss and deciding to put CSK in to bat, only to see Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad reach 50-0 before the Yellow Army closed their innings on 192/3.
Morgan once again failed with the bat during KKR’s response, managing just 2 runs off 4 balls as his side slumped to a convincing 27 run loss. England might be favourites for the T20 World Cup in most cricket betting odds later this year, but there’s no denying the form of the skipper at the 2021 IPL will be a serious concern.
Stand Out Performers
Patel Produces For RCB
Despite the disappointment of Virat Kohli missing out on his final chance to lift a maiden title as captain, there were a handful of moments to remember for the RCB faithful throughout the 2021 IPL.
Having returned to the club following a four-year stint with the Delhi Capitals, Harshal Patel managed to grab the limelight for the first time in his career and scoop the Purple Cap, Dream 11 Gamechanger of the Season, and UpStox Most Valuable Player of the Season awards for the tournament.
For his 15 innings throughout IPL 2021, Patel bagged 32 wickets (8 more than Delhi’s Avesh Khan in second), at an average of just 14.34. He took a 4-wicket haul which included a maiden IPL hattrick against the Mumbai Indians on matchday 39, and a 5-wicket haul against the same opponents on matchday 1, becoming the only player in the entire tournament to take both a 4 and a 5 wicket haul.
Best Pre-Tournament Bet
Looking back at the IPL betting markets in March and April, Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians were far and away the favourites for the tournament, arriving as the current champions after a strong 2020. The resumption of the league in the UAE, where Mumbai won their latest title saw these odds increase 3/1 (4.00) in most cricket betting odds,
CSK were only priced as 7/1 (8.00) outsiders in most cricket betting markets, meaning that for those savvy bettors that chose to back MS Dhoni’s IPL pedigree, some serious money could have been made beating the bookies.
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