Indian Premier League 2021 resumes: Delhi Capitals lead the way, Mumbai Indians hunting hat-trick

By Sports Desk September 18, 2021

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will be looking to make a statement against the Chennai Super Kings when the Indian Premier League resumes this weekend. 

Four months after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament restarts at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. 

Mumbai, eyeing a third successive title, had won back-to-back games to move up to fourth place when the decision was made to halt the IPL and will be out to pick up where they left off against second-placed CSK. 

With India unable to stage the competition, the remainder of the action over the next month will be staged in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. 

Delhi Capitals are the franchise to catch at the top of the table, although the Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are only two points behind them with a game in hand. 

Stats Perform take a look at the state of play ahead of the resumption. 

 

What is the schedule and where will the games take place?

There will be 31 matches contested in the space of 27 days and fans will be allowed in to watch, starting with the showdown between two of the top four. 

Dubai will stage 13 games, including the final on October 15, with 10 contests taking place in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi. 

The first qualifier of the post-season will be played in Dubai on October 10, with the eliminator and second qualifier taking place in Sharjah on October 11 and 13 respectively. 

 

Pant continues to captain leaders Delhi

Delhi lost to Mumbai in the final last year but responded impressively, winning six of eight matches to top the table this season. 

They return to action against bottom side Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Wednesday with Rishabh Pant retaining captaincy duties. 

The Capitals revealed Pant will continue to lead the side despite Shreyas Iyer's return from a shoulder injury. 

Pant had extra time to rest his legs after he was among the India Test players who flew to the UAE earlier than expected, with the final match at Old Trafford dramatically called off due to concerns over a COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp. 

Star men absent

While there will be an array of star quality on show, there will also be a number of notable absentees. 

England World Cup winners Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes will not feature, and the same goes for Dawid Malan. 

Australia paceman Pat Cummins will also be absent, while India all-rounder Washington Sundar was ruled out due to injury. 

 

Ground to make up

Sunrisers will be desperate to salvage some pride, having won only one of seven matches. 

Second-bottom Kolkata Knight Riders, who have signed Tim Southee with Cummins unavailable, also have a lot of work to do. 

Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are two points behind fourth-placed Mumbai. 

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    Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

    India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

    Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

    However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

    Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

    Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

    "We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

    "When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

    "Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

    "But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

    Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

    "We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

    "Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

    "This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

    "The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

    "When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

  • T20 World Cup: Azam and Rizwan shine as Pakistan cruise to first win over India T20 World Cup: Azam and Rizwan shine as Pakistan cruise to first win over India

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    India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

    But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

    However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

    Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

    The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

    India's openers struggle

    Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

    His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

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    In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

    The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

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    Pandya continues to be troubled by a long-standing back injury but will be in the India side for their first match of the World Cup against fierce rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

    India captain Kohli is backing Pandya to deliver with the bat for the tournament favourites despite his lack of runs in the Indian Premier League.

    Kohli said: "Honestly, I feel that Hardik presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament.

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    Pakistan have lost all five of their T20 World Cup matches against India - including the final in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007.

    Yet Babar Azam's side are on an 11-match T20 winning streak in the United Arab Emirates and the skipper says they can get the better of their biggest rivals in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

    Babar said: "We have forgotten what happened in the past and we are trying to focus on the future. We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result.

    "Records are meant to be broken. The matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game.

    "The boys are excited to play the World Cup and we have a crucial match on Sunday. A winning impact is necessary and then we will go match by match."

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