The 2021 season of Indian Premier League recently concluded with Chennai Super Kings being crowned as the winners for 4th time. However, the edition will forever be remembered for some sensational batting by few classy players. With the tournament being played in both India and UAE, the pitches threw different challenges in front of the batsmen at all venues. But it did not stop them for producing some truly superb knocks which certainly left everyone in awe of their talent.
While there were many phenomenal knocks which fans witnessed this season, there were few which stood out. So, here are the top 5 innings of IPL 2021:
1. Jos Buttler (124 vs SRH)
After a rather slow start to his IPL 2021 campaign, Rajasthan Royals star player Jos Buttler was back to his very best in Match 28 of the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Batting at top of the order, the right-handed batsman wreaked havoc at Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. He got off to a cautious start but started to get in his groove as he completed a magnificent half-century in 39 deliveries. And he was just unstoppable after that!
The Englishman took advantage of the short boundaries as he smoked some big hits and eventually reached the magic three-digit figure in 56 deliveries as ‘Jos – The Boss’ returned to form in some style. Buttler smashed 11 boundaries and 8 sixes during his extravagant 124-run knock off 64 deliveries as he guided his side to a much-needed victory.
2. Devdutt Padikkal (101* vs RR)
The RCB youngster announced his arrival to the Indian Premier League last season but it was always going to be intriguing to see how he fares in his second campaign. As it happened, Devdutt Padikkal proved to everyone that he was not a one-season wonder and he is here to stay for a long time. He gave another demonstration of his phenomenal talent during Match 16 against Rajasthan Royals.
After being asked to chase a target of 178 runs, the Padikkal storm arrived in Mumbai. The elegant left-handed batsman went absolutely berserk as he smashed the RR bowlers all over the park. He went on to complete his maiden IPL century and took his side over the line in only 16.3 overs, finishing at 101* off only 52 balls featuring 11 fours and 6 sixes.
3. Ruturaj Gaikwad (101* vs RR)
While all the batsmen struggled in UAE, there was one youngster who sparkled in the challenging batting conditions. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who went on to win the orange cap and ’emerging player of the season’ award played some phenomenal knocks throughout the CSK’s title-winning campaign but the one against Rajasthan Royals in Match 47 stood out among all.
Batting first in Abu Dhabi, CSK kept on losing wickets at regular intervals at one end but runs kept on flowing at the other. Gaikwad was seeing the ball like a ‘football’ that evening as he played some mesmerizing shots against both the spinners and pacers of RR. The classy batsman went on to complete an outstanding ton with a last-ball six, scoring 101* off 60 balls to set up a big win for his side.
4. KL Rahul (98* vs CSK)
While Punjab Kings might have had another difficult campaign as a team, one cannot put any fingers on their captain as he gave everything he had in his tank. KL Rahul did complete justice to the famous saying ‘leading from the front throughout the campaign as he had another fantastic season with the bat, breaching the 600-run mark once again. While he played the role of an anchor in most of his innings, fans got to see a different side of him during Match 53 against Chennai Super Kings.
After being asked to chase a target of 135 runs, PBKS needed to finish the task as early as possible in order to improve their net run rate. This is when KL Rahul unleashed his explosive side and the ball was taken for a flight every other delivery in Dubai that afternoon. The 29-year-old went on to score 98* off only 42 balls at an unbelievable strike rate of 233.33 as his side hunted down the target in only 13 overs.
5. Kieron Pollard (87* vs CSK)
The El Clasico in IPL has a history of producing some of the most thrilling matches in the tournament. The big names usually step up in this face-off and it was Kieron Pollard who stole the show when the two sides locked horns in Match 27. MI were chasing a monstrous 219-run target in Delhi and had lost their way during the chase.
The score read 81/3 in 9.4 overs when Kieron Pollard came in to bat and what happened next was truly sensational. The MI all-rounder opened his arms by hitting a huge six off Ravindra Jadeja and before CSK could blink an eye, he had completed his fifty in only 17 deliveries. He eventually went on to guide his side to a phenomenal last-ball victory, staying unbeaten at 87* off 34 balls which was being hailed as one of the greatest knocks ever seen in IPL.