Following the abrupt postponement of the 2021 Indian Premier League, the immediate concern for England’s players at the IPL is how they can safely and quickly return home, rather than the details of their on-field performance.
However, enough of the tournament was staged – just over half of the group phase – to learn plenty about England’s T20 stars, especially with the T20 World Cup currently set to be held in India in November.
Let’s take a look at how England players fared in the IPL this season:
7 matches, 52 runs @ 26.00, SR: 208.00, HS: 34; 9 wickets @ 24.11, ER: 8.68, BBI: 3-34
As ever, England’s turbo-charged pocket rocket made things happen in one discipline or another. A 15-ball 34 in his first innings was evidence of his power, while there were several crucial interventions with the ball. Most eye-catchingly, he conceded just two runs, and claimed the wicket of Krunal Pandya, with a series of nailed yorkers in the 17th over against Mumbai Indians, in the midst of an incredible Kieron Pollard assault.
6 matches, 206 runs @ 34.22, SR: 157.25, HS: 58; 5 wickets @ 14.80, ER: 6.16, BBI: 3-7
The only Englishman in Wisden’s IPL 2021 Team of the Tournament so far, and for good reason. Here’s why he was selected for that XI: “Described as a ‘deluxe pinch-hitter’ by CricViz’s Patrick Noone, Moeen Ali has demonstrated the value of sculpting a team around his bountiful talents, rather than the other way around. Only AB de Villiers and Prithvi Shaw have scored more runs at a better strike rate, and only Rashid Khan has bowled more balls with a better economy rate.”
7 matches, 254 runs @ 36.28, SR: 153.01, HS: 124
The England opener was a part of all seven SRH games in 2021. He started the tournament brilliantly, scoring 40-plus runs in three out of four innings, including two half-centuries. He then notched up scores of 38, 0 and 30 in the next three games. Notwithstanding the slight form dip, Bairstow was one of the few consistent performers in a misfiring Hyderabad unit this season.
2 matches, 1 wicket @ 75.00, ER: 9.78, BBI: 1-40; 1 innings, 21 off 16
Playing in a powerful Delhi unit meant that Tom Curran could not make it to the XI as often as he would’ve liked. The all-rounder got two games to prove himself, including one against brother Sam’s Chennai Super Kings. However, he was unable to make an impact in either match, particularly with the ball.
3 matches, 5 wickets @ 21.93, ER: 7.45, BBI: 2-18; 1 innings, 15 off 11
Another Englishman at the Delhi Capitals, Woakes was been producing solid performances with the ball consistently. His IPL economy rate improved from a career 8.97 to 7.45 this season. The improvement is even more impressive considering he leaked 10.36 runs per over in the 2020 edition. Rested from England’s 2021 tour of India, Woakes looked ready to fire in the three IPL games he played.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) April 29, 2021
7 matches, 92 runs @ 15.33, SR: 112.19, HS: 47*
A difficult season for the England and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper. Not only did he fail to cross 50 in seven games, but KKR also suffered five losses with him at the helm this season. Some of the selection and batting order decisions were questioned, and with Sunrisers removing David Warner from captaincy midway through the competition, Morgan seemed to be on thin ice. His batting average and strike rate in 2021 is worse than any other season he’s played in the IPL.
1 innings, 26 off 26
The World No.1 T20 batsman had to wait for his chance in the XI, as Punjab Kings gave an out-of-form Nicholas Pooran a long rope to turns things around. However, with the Trinidadian falling for four ducks in six innings, Malan was finally brought in for Punjab’s latest game against Delhi. He was brought in at No.3, where his strike rate became an issue once again. He scored a run-a-ball 26 as PBKS reached 166 in 20 overs. It was chased down easily by Delhi.
3 matches, 2 wickets @ 38, ER: 8.44, BBI: 1-21; 1 innings, 32 runs @ 16, SR: 152.38, HS: 30
An on and off tournament for the England quick. Jordan was excellent with the bat in his first game of the tournament, ending up as Punjab’s second-highest run-scorer against KKR. He smashed 30 runs in 18 balls, helping take them to a fighting total of 123 after the middle order failed. However, he went wicketless in that game and picked up one scalp each in the next two.
7 matches, 254 runs @ 36.28, SR: 153.01, HS: 124
Almost every time Jos Buttler fails with the bat, Rajasthan Royals struggle to reach an imposing total. It’s no coincidence that in the last two games RR posted 170-plus totals, the Englishman scored a combined 165 runs. While he wasn’t at his best this year, the right-hander crossed 40 thrice, while also recording his maiden T20 century in the final game. His 124 is also the highest total by an RR batsman in IPL history. He had begun looking dangerous right before the tournament was suspended.
At the halfway point of the innings, Jos Buttler was 32* off 30 balls.
Nine overs later, he walks off the field with the eighth highest score in IPL history – 124 off 64.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) May 2, 2021
1 match, 0 runs, 0-12
Another vital player in the Rajasthan setup, Ben Stokes’ injury had a severe impact on their early campaign. He could play just their tournament opener, where he fractured his finger during an attempted catch.
He was on the RR bench for three days before pulling out of the tournament and returning to England citing “muscle fatigue”.
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