Indian Premier League

IPL 2021 Special: Rating and Ranking the Best Playing 11 of all Teams

Mumbai Indians, undoubtedly the best team on paper as we compare the first-choice playing 11 ranking of all the teams for the second phase of IPL 2021. 

At the end of the IPL 2021 first leg, we saw teams settling on their playing 11 combinations. This gives us a hint of what we can expect when it comes to the first-choice playing 11 of all the teams for the second leg. But, with a lot of teams having a change in their team roster, it does change things for a few teams, and especially the playing 11. 

So, as we wait for the IPL to begin, let’s analyze the first-choice playing 11 of all the teams, and look at their ranking and Rating for the second phase of IPL 2021 in UAE as usual, we shall rank the teams based on their playing 11 rating. The rating is derived basis their player ratings. 

Players are relatively rated basis the benchmark players, and the rating for all the players is derived basis their last two year’s IPL performance, and their current International or Domestic form. Before moving ahead, here are the benchmark players for IPL 2021, against whom all players are relatively rated. 

Benchmark Players for IPL 2021:

  • Opener: KL Rahul
  • Middle-order: AB de Villiers
  • All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja
  • Spinner: Rashid Khan
  • Pacer: Jasprit Bumrah

Alright then, let’s look at the ranking of the best first-choice playing 11 of all the teams for IPL 2021 UAE. 

#8: Rajasthan Royals – 8.30

The most unfortunate team in the tournament to have been severely affected by COVID-19. Rajasthan Royals shall be without 3 of their 4 first-choice overseas players in the form of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Jofra Archer. Instead, the team will now have to rely upon Liam Livingstone, David Miller, and Tabraiz Shami. 

If we look at RR’s ideal playing 11, there are many inexperienced players. The likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chetan Sakariya, and Kartik Tyagi will have to step-up. In the absence of their star overseas players and with so much inexperience, if Sanju Samson inspires this team to knockouts at least, it would be an achievement worth remembering.

Rajasthan Royals (RR) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE: 

Liam Livingstone, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (C&WK), Riyan Parag, David Miller, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Chetan Sakariya, Kartik Tyagi & Tabraiz Shamsi.

#7: Punjab Kings – 8.49

Punjab Kings aren’t so badly placed in IPL 2021. They have the best opening duo in the competition in the form of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, and a great pacer in the form of Mohammed Shami. But that’s where the problems begin for Punjab Kings. Barring these 3, there’s either lack of experience or a lack of performance.

Chris Gayle is off his prime and Pooran has been mediocre in the first leg. The inexperience lower-order of Deepak Hooda and Shahrukh Khan has been below-par. The bowling lacks the punch with underperforming big names like Chris Jordan. Whereas Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, and Harpreet Brar are still experienced. Nevertheless, the team can still do well with some motivation to perform. 

Punjab Kings (PBKS) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE: 

KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami & Nathan Ellis. 

#6: Kolkata Knight Riders – 8.53

So much talk about the explosive middle-order of KKR where the likes of Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, and Andre Russell have a presence. But the trio has been below-par in the last couple of years. The top-order is inexperienced with Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, and Nitish Rana. Whereas Sunil Narine isn’t the same lad as he was in 2012.

Moreover, in the absence of Pat Cummins, a lot will be expected from Lockie Ferguson. If not for Cummins’s batting, Lockie should be able to fill the bowling shoes. KKR would expect the inexperienced pace duo of Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna to perform better. Meanwhile, Varun Chakravarthy, who has been impressive should be their go-to spinner. 

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE:

Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy & Prasidh Krishna.

#5: Sunrisers Hyderabad – 8.67

Currently, at number 8 in the points table, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s playing 11 isn’t as bad as the numbers show. However, the absence of their best batsman from phase 1, Jonny Bairstow shall be a gap for the team to address. In absence of Jonny Bairstow, David Warner is now certain to open alongside W Saha. Kane Williamson shall don the captaincy duties as seen from the first leg. 

SRH lose points for their fragile lower-order in form of Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad, and Mohammad Nabi. The bowling is still strong with the world’s best spinner, Rashid Khan, and the star Indian pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan. As a third pacer, it should most-likely be Khaleel Ahmed as seen from the first leg of IPL 2021. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE :

David Warner, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (C), Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed & T Natarajan. 

#4: Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8.7

Although RCB don’t have an all-round squad with appropriate backups, they have a potent playing 11. Virat Kohli will open with the current hottest youngster in India, Devdutt Padikkal. The good form of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers makes for a strong batting line-up for RCB. But, the team lacks quality all-rounders.

Wanindu Hasaranga shall be expected to play alongside Shahbaz Ahmed as the team’s leading all-rounders. Rajat Patidar, who wasn’t successful at number 3 might once again get a go. The bowling looks settled though. Harshal is the purple cap holder, Mohammed Siraj and Kyle Jamieson are brilliant with the new ball. If Yuzi Chahal can get back his form, there’s no stopping RCB again. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE:

Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers (WK), Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj & Yuzvendra Chahal. 

#3: Delhi Capitals – 8.78

Delhi Capitals were without their first-choice captain Shreyas Iyer in the first leg of IPL 2021. Even then the team maintained their good run to remain at number 1 position in the points table. The return of Shreyas Iyer makes this team more strong. This will give freedom to the lower-order of Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer. 

The form of Avesh Khan combined with the fire-power of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje makes this a brilliant pace battery. Meanwhile, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin shall take confidence from their selection to Team India’s T20 squad. Frankly, their selection is a surprise, but it could be a blessing for Delhi Capitals. 

Delhi Capitals (DC) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE:

Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (C&WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje & Avesh Khan. 

#2: Chennai Super Kings – 8.89

Chennai Super Kings have the best squad on paper as seen in our previous article, but when it comes to playing 11, they are marginally second. The playing 11 for CSK is no different from what they had in IPL 2020 at the same venue. But an inspirational leadership and the current form of most of the players make a huge difference. 

Except for veterans, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, and Suresh Raina, who don’t have much match practice, almost all their players are in red hot form. With the team already in a dominant position as seen in the first leg, CSK are one of the favorites to win this year’s IPL. In addition, they are the only team that has a strong batting up to number 11 position. 

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE:

Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur & Deepak Chahar. 

#1: Mumbai Indians – 9.07

Just like CSK, Mumbai Indians are playing an almost identical playing 11 that we saw in IPL 2020 UAE. The only difference this time is the third pacer. Adam Milne, who is also a part of New Zealand’s T20 squad seems most-likely to play as the third pacer. He shall be a good bowler for middle overs with Bumrah and Boult creating havoc in the powerplay and death overs. 

The team’s only concern shall be the form of Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya. All three were mediocre in the first leg, but would need to perform for MI to retain the trophy. However, the big plus for MI is the form of Captain Rohit Sharma, Rahul Chahar, and Kieron Pollard. 

Mumbai Indians (MI) Best First-choice Playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE:

Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Adam Milne, Trent Boult & Jasprit Bumrah. 

So, that’s how all the teams stand when it comes to their best first-choice playing 11 for IPL 2021 UAE. Overall, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings, and Royal Challengers Bangalore seem the most-likely teams to finish in the knockouts of IPL 2021. 

Thanks for reading! Looking at the best playing 11 ranking of all the teams for IPL 2021, which one feels the best? Please email your thoughts to

ALSO READ: IPL 2021: The Current Best Possible Playing 11 for Mumbai Indians (MI)

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