Every year, the Orange Cap is awarded to the player who scores the most runs at the end of the IPL season. To grab this prestigious award, a batsman needs to be at the top of his game and extremely consistent throughout the season. In the past 13 years of the IPL, only four Indian players have scored the most runs in an IPL season to win the Orange Cap.
Sachin Tendulkar became the first Indian to win the Orange Cap in the 2010 edition of the IPL followed by Robin Uthappa (2014), Virat Kohli (2016), and KL Rahul (2020). David Warner holds the record for winning the Orange Cap thrice (2015, 2017, and 2019) closely followed by Chris Gayle, who's won the award twice in successive seasons in IPL 2011 and IPL 2012.
Now that the IPL is back in India with the Cluster Caravan format in 2021, it will give the batsman an additional advantage while assessing the pitches. Needless to say, a number of batsmen will be competing for the Orange Cap and we should expect a lot of fireworks in the forthcoming IPL season of 2021.
Let’s have a look at the Top-5 batsman for winning the Orange Cap in IPL 2021:
5. Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw has been in blistering form in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy. Captaining Mumbai, Prithvi Shaw had a dream run as he ended the season as the leading run-scorer becoming the first player to breach the 800-run mark in a single Vijay Hazare season. The Mumbai opener ended the season with a mammoth total of 827 runs in 8 innings with an average of 165.4 along with four centuries and one half-century.
The first three matches Mumbai played (also Prithvi's first three matches as captain) saw him smash three 150+ scores (227*, 185*, 165*). In the forthcoming IPL season, Shaw will be eager to continue his rich vein of form for the Delhi Capitals. He will get a chance to open the batting and if his current form offers signs of things to follow, we can definitely see him vying for the prestigious Orange Cap by scoring the most runs in IPL 2021.
4. David Warner
David Warner was in red hot form in last year’s edition of the IPL held in the UAE in 2020. The left-handed pocket-size dynamo piled on runs during the tournament and was crucial to the success of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) as they ended the league stage at third place in the points table. Warner ended the season with 548 runs at an average of 39.14 and a strike rate of 134.64.
In all the seasons that Warner has played since 2014, the opener has scored in excess of 500 runs, a record which hasn’t been achieved by many players. Add to that, he boasts of a surreal average of 55 in three IPL editions since 2017. Warner can be considered as the chief contender to win the IPL Orange Cap even in 2021. With a total IPL runs tally of 5254 runs at an average of 42.71, the southpaw currently holds the third spot for most runs in IPL history.
3. Devdutt Paddikal
Devdutt Padikkal made his debut in IPL 2020 and was one of the biggest success stories for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The left-hander provided the team with consistently good starts allowing the likes of Virat Kohli and Ab De Villiers to play with less pressure. The 20-year-old youngster ended the 2020 IPL season with 473 runs at an average of 31.53 and was also the highest run-getter for RCB in the season.
In the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, Padikkal was in sublime form as he ended the season as the second-highest run-getter in the tournament. He stroked his way to four centuries and two half-centuries with a total of 737 runs in 7 innings at a stunning average of 147.4. With more firepower added to RCB’s batting arsenal at the IPL auction this year, Padikkal will be given a license to express himself and there is a good chance that he might emerge as the highest run-scorer in IPL 2021.
2. Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav started his IPL career in 2012 with Mumbai Indians but didn't get enough chances to showcase his talent. In 2014, the Mumbai batsman joined the Kolkata Knight Riders where he tasted a fair amount of success as a finisher. Mumbai Indians took notice of him and brought him back in 2018, allowing him to prove his worth as a T20 player for the franchise.
Since joining MI in 2018, the flamboyant right-hander has been extremely consistent, notching up 450+ runs in three consecutive IPL seasons (2018, 2019, 2020). With the ability to bat through the innings, Surya has impressed one and all with his big scores. The right-handed batsman has been in blazing form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as he notched up 332 runs in the 5 innings at an average of 66.4.
His recent performances in the T20I series against England have helped him earn huge praise from all corners. Surya will enter the IPL 2021 high on confidence and will be one of the top contenders for this year's Orange Cap.
1. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli had a slightly mellow season last year, but that is only because of the standards he has set for himself. In the 15 innings he played, the RCB skipper managed to score 466 runs with an average of 42.36. He was instrumental in helping RCB qualify for the playoffs and will be raring to go in 2021 as well. In the T20Is against England, Kohli scored three half-centuries to bag the Man of the Series award and helped India clinch a crucial 3-2 series win against the tourists.
His recent T20I innings have shown the glimpses of the Indian skipper being at his imperious best. His form leading into the IPL 2021 augurs well for his chances to claim the Orange Cap in the upcoming IPL season. After expressing his views of opening the batting for RCB in the IPL, Kohli might have the perfect chance to make the most of his T20 form and end up as the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021.