The 2nd phase of the 14th Indian Premier League is well underway in the United Arab Emirates. As with the start of every IPL season, there are plenty of players to watch out for across different franchises.
On that note, here's a look at 5 players to watch out for during the 2nd phase of IPL 2021.
Yuzvendra Chahal [RCB]
Chahal would be hurting after his omission from the 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup and the Haryana leggie would be hoping to make a statement with his performance in the upcoming 2nd leg.
The 29-year-old had a rare poor outing in the first phase of the IPL. In seven games, he managed just 4 wickets at an average of 47.50 and an economy rate of 8.26.
Chahal was brilliant during his last outing in the UAE. In 15 games last year, he gobbled 21 wickets at an average of 19.28 and an economy rate of 7.08.
Can the right-arm wrist spinner weave his magic once again and propel RCB to its maiden IPL title?
Avesh Khan [DC]
Avesh Khan was the flavour of the month for the Delhi Capitals during the first leg of the 14th IPL.
In the absence of veteran pacer Ishant Sharma and overseas superstars like Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje for a major part of the first phase, the Madhya Pradesh cricketer stepped up to the occasion brilliantly.
The most impressive aspect of Avesh was that every time DC needed a wicket, he almost always rose to the occasion irrespective of the phase of the game.
With 14 wickets in 8 matches, Khan is currently the 2nd highest wicket-taker in the 14th season and it will be interesting to see if he can continue his performance in the 2nd leg.
Suresh Raina [CSK]
The 2nd leg of IPL 2021 could prove to be extremely crucial for Suresh Raina with regards to his future with the Chennai Super Kings.
Raina has been one of the bedrocks of CSK's batting-unit for over a decade but his returns in recent seasons have been underwhelming.
The southpaw managed just 123 runs in 6 innings at an average of 24.6 and a strike rate of 126.8 during the first phase of the current season.
Can Raina wind back the clock to his glory days in the 2nd leg?
Glenn Maxwell [RCB]
Maxwell has been one of the enigma's of the IPL. Having always gone for a massive sum in the auction, the Australian has flattered to deceive more often than not.
So, when RCB broke the bank to avail his services during the mini-auction, one thought that the Kohli-led unit had made another blunder.
However, Maxwell ensured it proved to be a masterstroke during the first phase as the Australian swashbuckler finally rose to his billing after years of underwhelming performances.
In 6 innings, Maxi smashed 223 runs at an average of 37.16 and a strike rate of 144.80 with two 50+ scores.
Can he back up a brilliant first leg with another stellar set of performances in the UAE, a place where he struggled massively last year?
Ravichandran Ashwin [DC]
Ashwin didn't get to play a single Test during the recent tour of England but he managed to get a huge surprise at the fag end of the tour after earned a recall to the T20 set-up after a gap of four years.
Ashwin earned his recall on the basis of some brilliant performances in the IPL over the years and also because of his ability to bowl in the powerplay as well as at the death.
The veteran off-spinner had a decent outing last year in the UAE where he claimed- 13 wickets in 15 games at 30.06.
His IPL 2021 campaign earlier this year was marred with his family members getting infected with Covid. In 4 games, the off-spinner claimed just 1 wicket before pulling out of the tournament.
The 35-year-old will be gunning to get back into the groove ahead of the all-important T20 World Cup next month.