The penultimate week of the Indian Premier League 2021 decided which teams will play the playoffs. While Chennai are already confirmed as one of the finalists, the Qualifier 2 and Eliminator is yet to be played and the second finalists yet to be decided. Let’s check out everything that made headlines in the world of cricket in the week gone by, and how Twitter reacted to it.
MS Dhoni takes fans down the memory lane
Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni was trending on Twitter on Sunday after his finishing cameo helped his side enter the finals of IPL 2021. After Ruturaj Gaikwad departed, Dhoni walked in to bat at number 6 ahead of Ravindra Jadeja, who has been in a good form this season. The former India captain scored six runs off 3 balls in the penultimate over, after which CSK needed 13 off the last over to win. In the final over, Dhoni smashed three fours in three balls to take his side over the line and took fans down the memory lane. The three-time champions will be playing their ninth IPL final later this week. They have previously played the final in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
KS Bharat’s last-ball six
Not many knew who KS Bharat was before IPL 2021, except that he has been with the Indian Team as a reserve player in a few matches. But with his sensational knock in the final game of the league stage, the wicketkeeper batsman from Andhra Pradesh has created waves. KS Bharat was the hero of the game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals after he hit a last-ball six to take his team over the line while also remaining unbeaten on 78. Chasing 165, Bangalore needed 15 runs off the final over bowled by Avesh Khan. Glenn Maxwell managed seven runs off the first three balls before a misfield from Axar Patel got them two more runs off the fifth ball. RCB now needed six off the last ball and Bharat, playing his first IPL season, finished it off in style.
Umran Malik to serve as Team India’s net bowler for the World Cup
Kashmir fast bowler Umran Malik has been making headlines for his bowling speed. On Wednesday against RCB, the Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer clocked 153 kph to bowl the fastest delivery of IPL 2021. The 21-year-old recorded the speed in the fourth delivery of the ninth over against Devdutt Padikkal. In the last two weeks, life has changed in several ways for the young boy. Malik would not have got to play this year’s IPL if T Natarajan didn’t contract COVID. And only three matches later, he has now been selected as a net bowler for Team India in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Robin Uthappa’s match winning knock on comeback
Winner of the orange cap in IPL 2014, Robin Uthappa seemed to have lost his way since his exit from Kolkata Knight Riders in 2019. After playing 12 matches for Rajasthan Royals in 2020, Uthappa was traded to CSK ahead of IPL 2021 Player Auction but failed to make an impression in the first couple of games and was subsequently benched. It was not until Qualifier 1 when Uthappa was brought back to the playing XI and he made an instant impression, hitting a four off his very first ball. He ended up scoring 63 runs off just 44 balls and with that knock, he has hopefully ended his stay on the bench too.
Rohit Sharma becomes the first Indian to hit 400 T20 sixes
On Tuesday in the game against Rajasthan Royals, The Mumbai Indians skipper added yet another feat to his name, becoming the first Indian batsman to hit 400 sixes in T20 cricket. Out of the 400 sixes, Rohit has hit 133 sixes for Team India and 227 sixes in the IPL. He has 16 sixes in the Champions League T20 and 24 sixes in other T20s. Rohit is followed on the list by Suresh Raina (325), Virat Kohli (320) and MS Dhoni (304). Rohit’s team, however, failed to make it to the playoffs in IPL 2021.
Ishan Kishan scores the fastest 50 of IPL 2021
In a match that Mumbai needed to win by 171 runs to qualify for the playoffs, Ishan Kishan came out all guns blazing and smashed the fastest fifty of IPL 2021 off just 16 balls. This is now also the fastest fifty scored by a Mumbai Indians batsman. Ishan, who managed only 24 runs in three innings of the UAE leg was eventually dropped before being brought back into the attack in the game against Rajasthan. After scoring the fastest fifty, Ishan eventually departed on 84 off just 32 balls with a strike rate of 262, hitting 11 fours and four sixes.
Mumbai fail to make it to the playoffs
One of the biggest talking points from IPL 2021 has been the disqualification of the defending champions and five-time winners Mumbai Indians. Although they have the same number of points as the fourth placed KKR, it was their lower net run rate which didn’t allow them to make it to the playoffs. In their last league game against Hyderabad, Mumbai needed to win by 171 runs to go past KKR’s net run rate. On the back of good knocks from Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, Mumbai posted 235 runs on the board but could manage a win by only 42 runs.
KKR’s remarkable turnaround to qualify for the playoffs
Kolkata Knight Riders made a remarkable comeback in the UAE leg to qualify for the playoffs. After winning only two in seven games in the first leg, not many would have expected to see the Eoin Morgan side make it to the knockouts. But they won five out their seven games in the UAE leg, two of them by a big margin, to eventually make it to the top four.