There are just two days left for the second phase of the IPL 2021 to resume and fans just can't wait for the first match in UAE this season is between Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings, the 'El Clasico' of the IPL.
The first half of the tournament witnessed some top performances and there were many instances of franchises stepping up in this season. KL Rahul's Punjab Kings commenced the tournament and stayed at the apex for a while before the barely inconsistent Chennai Super Kings reclaimed their dominance after a poor IPL 2020.
So today, we at Cricwizz bring to you the top IPL 2021 contenders to win the title this season.
The finalists of last season have made a mark in this season as well as they ended the first phase as the league leaders. However, they have played a game more than Chennai Super Kings who have a chance to take the top spot again.
Delhi Capitals have been bolstered by Shikhar Dhawan's top batting displays as the left-handed batsman will be keen to be incessant with his form. Dhawan is the current orange cap holder with 380 runs in 8 matches, with KL Rahul and Faf du Plessis at least 50 runs shy of him. However, both of them have played a game less than the Delhi opener.
Even in the bowling department, Avesh Khan has been phenomenal with his bowling, his partnership-breaking ability has helped him in his wicket-taking as he is second in the Purple Cap holder's list, three wickets behind Harshal Patel who has 17 wickets with a game less.
However, Delhi reached the finals last year but their performances against Mumbai Indians not just in the final but every time they played them was shambolic.
This time, the venue is the same as it was last season and they will have to beat the best to feature in the finals again. With Chennai back in form, the rise of Virat Kohli's Bangalore, and the resurgent Mumbai Indians, how far will Delhi go into the tournament? We say the top four is confirmed but nothing after that can be predicted considering Delhi's inconsistent displays over the years.
Chennai Super Kings
The IPL giants, the team with the most wins in the IPL, the team with the second-best IPL record in terms of trophies, the team that has featured in the semi-final of the IPL in every season except the last, Chennai Super Kings had a tough 2020 season.
Their key players were missing, their signings were new and things took time until Chennai found their rhythm. However, this season, right from the start, Chennai looked fresh, back to their best, and performed as good as the champions they've always been.
With the addition of Moeen Ali, Sam Curran's consistency, Suresh Raina's return, Ruturaj Gaikwad's approach, Ravindra Jadeja's enhanced maturity, everything seems to have fallen in place for Chennai this season until now.
Faf du Plessis and Sam Curran were Chennai's best performers last season but the first phase showed how the team has stayed at the top with collective performances.
They did lose their game against Mumbai Indians but they know they lost it because of a few moments that went against them. The IPL returns to UAE, a venue that caused anguish to them last season but the team looks in great shape this time, and with the likes of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur showing their batting capabilities on multiple occasions this year, Chennai won't have a problem batting on any UAE pitches this term.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli and co. had the best possible start they could've had to their IPL season. Harshal Patel kept picking wickets, 17 in just seven games, while Glenn Maxwell's addition also turned handy for RCB as the Australian settled quite well.
RCB are also one of the IPL 2021 contenders for the fact that they have overcome their difficulties in their bowling department. They look balanced, they have already shown the ability to handle and emerge out of pressure situations calmly. The inclusion of players like Wanindu Hasaranga and Tim David to the squad is only expected to make the side stronger in both divisions respectively.
The likes of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, AB De Villiers have stepped up on most of the occasions. Maxwell is Bangalore's top scorer this season with 223 runs, while AB De Villiers is second with 207 runs. Kohli is just two short of 200.
Devdutt Padikkal is another batsman who has shown his composure and has continued performing since his debut. He is just three runs behind Virat Kohli this season with 195 runs.
Yuzvendra Chahal will have a lot to fight for as well, especially after the spinner was dropped from India's T20 World Cup 2021 squad. Can Bangalore win the IPL this season?
There's a reason why the defending champions are given the last mention. The fact that the team didn't look at their best until they beat Chennai was quite evident.
Even against Chennai, it was Kieron Pollard who stepped up and made the difference, while Hardik Pandya played a crucial cameo. However, apart from that, Mumbai Indians have been underwhelming this season. However, Mumbai Indians have always been a team of the second half, but can they do it on a venue, after more than two months since the first phase ended.
It'll either be the level we've always seen Mumbai at or they might just pull off something like their arch-rivals suffered last season, an inevitable collapse. What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts via your social media accounts. Follow Cricwizz on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates. Stay tuned with Cricwizz for the best cricket content.