The world’s greatest T20 competition is back and it is back with an almighty bang.
There might be a lack of crowds but at least we’ve returned to the tournament’s home after a season in the UAE.
There have been plenty of sixes and no shortage of drama already as the teams look to work out their best XIs to win the competition.
The IPL is a competition like none other. The tactics are meticulous and the players are paid some jaw-dropping sums of money to participate, which brings not just quality cricket but top drawer entertainment.
This season sees a record 14 English players taking part as they look to stake their claims ahead of the World T20 in this part of the globe later in 2021.
This year’s tournament is now a week old but which English players have stood out the most so far? We’ve highlighted three…
Jonny Bairstow – 67 runs at 33.50
The wicketkeeper-batsman was a real star for England during the white-ball tour of India and he’s continued where he left off by starting the IPL with a bang.
Bairstow isn’t opening the batting but has still made an impressive impact coming in at number four.
He hit a crushing 55 from just 40 delivers as Sunrisers Hyderabad suffered defeat to Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders. During that knock, Bairstow hammered a total of seven boundaries, including three maximums.
Moeen Ali – 82 runs at 41.0 & 1/50
Moeen has already bettered his figures from IPL 2020 and all it took was a solitary match. Last year, he only played in three games, hitting 12 runs.
The spinner hasn’t enjoyed the best few months in England colours but he’s put in two excellent showings for Chennai Super Kings; first in their seven-wicket defeat to the Delhi Capitals and then in their win over the Punjab Kings.
He came in at three against DC and smacked 36 from only 24 balls. That innings featured two maximums and four 4s. He then fell four runs short of an excellent half-century next time. Moeen was in excellent nick as he pelted 46 from 31 balls.
This marks a timely return to form for the all-rounder whose role in international cricket isn’t completely certain.
Sam Curran – 39 runs & 1/36
Also playing in CSK colours this year is the younger Curran brother. He played a breathtaking knock of 95* in England’s final ODI and has carried on in a similar fashion at the IPL.
Sam Curran starred at last year’s tournament, taking a number of important wickets including Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Quinton de Kock and England ODI & T20 skipper, Morgan.
Though, in week one of IPL 2021, he starred with the bat. In CSK’s opening encounter, Curran was in the runs as he came in at eight and destroyed the Capitals bowling attack with 34* from only 15 balls. He then finished unbeaten on 5 as he scored the winning runs against the Punjab Kings.
What about the rest?
Ben Stokes played just one game before being ruled out of the entire tournament with a broken finger. It’s a devastating blow for Rajasthan Royals, a team that also includes the big-hitting Jos Buttler.
He didn’t enjoy a very vibrant white-ball tour to India but has looked in decent shape in the IPL. Playing as a specialist batsman, Buttler hit 25 from 13 in RR’s loss to Punjab Kings.
Eoin Morgan is in his first full season as captain of KKR but hasn’t had the best of starts to this campaign, hitting just nine runs in two outings.
Tom Curran took 1/40 for Delhi Capitals against the Super Kings as he was dispatched around the park by his own brother. He was also on the end of a battering from Chris Morris versus the Royals, going for 35 runs in 3.4 overs.
Chris Woakes is also featuring for the Capitals and has had a very solid start to the competition, taking 2 for 18 at an economy rate of 6 in the opening match. He then took 2 for 22 from his four overs in defeat to RR. During that fixture, he took the important wicket of Buttler.
Jason Roy (SRH), Sam Billings (DC), Liam Livingstone (RR), Dawid Malan, and Chris Jordan (PK) are all yet to play. Jofra Archer has also been absent for the Royals due to injury.