It is every cricketer’s dream to play in the IPL and create a legacy for themselves by their performances. For a batsman, winning the orange cap is a monumental achievement and only a select few have enjoyed that privilege over the years. In a tournament filled with the brightest talent in the world, consistency is the key to finish as the highest run-getter in the tournament. Keeping this in mind, we will take a look at five potential orange cap winners in IPL 2021.
#5 Shikhar Dhawan
Dhawan started the 2020 IPL in a lacklustre way but ended the tournament in a phenomenal fashion including consecutive centuries. Totally, he scored 618 runs at a strike rate of 144 in the 2020 edition and helped his team DC reach the final.
His IPL number have steadily increased with age and going by that trend, Dhawan could finish at the top of the run charts in 2021. Also, an explosive player such as Prithvi Shaw will allow Gabbar to take his time to settle at the crease and play a long innings.
#4 Devdutt Padikkal
IPL 2020 was Padikkal’s debut season in the IPL and he impressed everyone with his calmness and composure at the crease. He never looked flustered by the quality of bowling he was facing and scored over 400 runs for his franchise.
This time he will be playing the IPL on the back of consistent performances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. His opening combination with Finch did not work out to plan in 2020 but Kohli will be partnering him in this season. With his captain at the other end, Padikkal can play his shots right from ball one.
#3 Virat Kohli
He has kept moving up and down the order for RCB in the past three seasons but this time he looks set to open in all 14 games. Kohli has not reached his own high standards since 2016 and bowlers have found ways to control him in the shortest format.
Kohli’s best performances in IPL have come while opening the batting and he might have found a perfect foil in Devdutt Padikkal. However, Kohli’s contribution this season will also depend on the amount of stability the RCB middle-order provides to free him up at the top.
#2 KL Rahul
The current holder of the orange cap, Rahul could retain the cap this season, given that his team will still lean heavily on his performance. Rahul scored 690 runs last season at a slightly questionable strike rate of 129. Ever since his move to Punjab, Rahul has become a world-class opener in the shortest format of the game.
Punjab batting coach Wasim Jaffer has assured the media that Rahul will definitely play with a higher strike rate this season. It will be interesting to see whether his opening partner will be Gayle or Agarwal, as it could determine his performances this season.
#1 David Warner
No player in the history of IPL can claim to be more consistent than David Warner, who has passed the 500 run mark in his last six IPL seasons. He formed a deadly pairing with Jonny Bairstow last IPL but a change in tactics meant Garg finished the season as Warner’s opening partner.
Warner holds the record of wearing the cap three times, most by any player. This season, depending upon the playing conditions, Williamson could open with him which would give Warner the license to attack from ball one.