IPL 2021 is set to begin again after the tournament was terminated midway due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the bio-bubble early this year. Now, the second half of the tournament is set to begin in the UAE with the first match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and three-time champions Chennai Super Kings scheduled for September 19. 

So, here are the top five performances of the first phase of IPL 2021.

1) AB de Villiers’ 48 in the opener against Mumbai Indians

Some 40s and 30s are more valuable than 50s and 100s. AB de Villiers’ 48 against Mumbai Indians in the IPL opener is of a similar kind. Playing competitive cricket after a year, ABD revived the RCB chase with a brutal hitting in the death overs. Chasing 160 for a win, ABD came to bat at 103/4 in 14.1 overs, needing 57 runs in 35 balls on a slow pitch. 

ABD took the equation out of the context, and hammered 4 fours and 2 sixes to take RCB near to the finish line, but fell just when 2 runs were needed off 2 balls. But by then, ABD has done his job, and Harshal Patel, who took 5/27 earlier, completed the chase. Although Harshal won the player of the match award, it was ABD who played one of the best knocks of IPL 2021.

2) Andre Russell’s 5/15 in 2 overs against MI

Mumbai was looking for a target of 170-180 against KKR when they were 123/4 in 16.1 overs with Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard were the batsmen yet to unleash their big-hitting in the death overs. However, Andre Russell of KKR had other plans. 

Coming in to bowl the 18 over, Russell bowled full and wide, and Pollard and Krunal just could not get hold of the ball and holed out. Russell took 3 more wickets of tailenders to derail Mumbai innings that ended up 152 all out, losing their last 6 wickets for 29 runs. However, KKR was restricted to 142/7 to lose the match by 10 runs.

3) Ravindra Jadeja’s 62 not out, 3/13, and 1 run-out vs RCB

Ravindra Jadeja - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

CSK's Jadeja had such a stamp on this match that whether it was the bat, ball, or fielding, he made an impact throughout. Facing the last over from RCB's best death bowler, Harshal Patel, Jadeja slammed 5 sixes and a four to take 37 off the over. The brutal hitting saw CSK jumped from 154/4 to 191/4 in just 6 balls. 

He then came back to dismiss Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, and also effected a sharp run-out to make a memorable day for himself and CSK, which won the match by 69 runs.

4) Pat Cummins’ 66 not out against CSK

Chasing a big total of 221 against CSK, KKR had the worst start, losing 5 wickets for 31. The last hope was Andre Russell who cracked 22-ball 54 before he was bowled around his legs. Then walked in Pat Cummins 112/6 in 11.2 overs, with KKR needing 109 runs from 8.4 overs. Even the best of KKR fans have given up hope. But Cummins shocked everyone with brilliant counter-attacking innings that raised hopes for a win. He slammed 6 sixes and 4 fours to bring KKR needing 20 runs in 6 balls. 

But on the first ball of the last over, last-wicket Prasidh Krishna was run-out trying to give back the strike to Cummins, leaving the Aussie heartbroken. Cummins remained not out on 66 off 34 balls.

5) Sanju Samson’s 119 against Punjab Kings

Chasing a record target of 221 against Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals’ new captain Sanju Samson led from the front, striking a brilliant ton while wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end. The Royals needed 13 off the last 6 balls and were favorites for the win.

Samson cracked a 6 on the fourth ball to bring it down to 5 runs off 2 balls. However, he refused a single on the next ball, with the hope of completing the job himself on the last ball. But, Samson holed out in the deep on the last ball for the Royals to lose the match by 4 runs. However, Samson easily played one of the finest innings of IPL 2021, hitting 119 off 63 balls with 12 fours and 7 sixes.