Match-ups, tactics that worked as wonders and blunders

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02 May 2021 | 09:54 AM
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Anirudh Kasargod

Match-ups, tactics that worked as wonders and blunders

As the third week of IPL 2021 is ending, we have decoded a few tactical highlights that went according to plan and a few that didn't

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Every team has an analyst that comes up with match-ups and tactics against specific teams. For example, Virat Kohli has had his struggles against Shreyas Gopal, which is why he was brought in ahead of Jaydev Unadkat just for a match-up. However, it backfired as Kohli was on the attack against the bowler. Similarly, there are plenty of batsmen who have weaknesses against a particular bowler, a particular bowling type or a particular length. The same goes for a bowler as well.

From the last five matches played this week (Match 22, DC vs RCB – 26, PBKS vs RCB), the following are a few tactical moves that worked in favour of the team as well as against.

Match 22: DC vs RCB – Glenn Maxwell vs Amit Mishra

Tactical implementation: Success

Glenn Maxwell's weakness is against leg spinners and left-arm spinners. However, his strike rates are always on the higher side even with a high dismissals rate. Prior to the contest against Maxwell in Match 22, Amit Mishra had the better of Maxwell in four innings (Innings – 5, Runs – 55, Dismissals – 4, Average – 13.7, Strike rate – 189.6). Seizing the opportunity, Rishabh Pant wasn’t hesitant to bring the leg spinner.

In the six balls Maxwell played against the wily old-timer, he could smash only one six before he was dismissed. Hence, Mishra coming onto bowl against Maxwell was a huge tactical success. Mishra has now dismissed Maxwell five times out the six face-offs.

Match 24: RR vs MI – Jos Buttler vs Leg spinners

Tactical implementation: Success

The weakness towards spin for a non-Asian batsman is common, especially against wrist spinners. In IPL since 2019, Buttler had an average of 20 in 12 innings against leg spinners at a strike rate of 123.5, prior to his match against Mumbai. His average and strike rate were the lowest against a bowling type.

Buttler was set in the match after batting through the Powerplay. But, the introduction of Rahul Chahar induced a wicket right away. Though he was hit for six of the previous ball, Chahar got the better of Buttler right after that. It just took three balls for him to dismiss Buttler. Hence, extending his record to 6 dismissals in 21 innings at an average of 17.8 against leggies.

Match 24: RR vs MI – Not bringing the off-spinner

Tactical implementation: Failed

As soon as Suryakumar Yadav was dismissed, Mumbai Indians sent Krunal Pandya to counter leg-spin from Rahul Tewatia who was bowling at that point. With two left-handers batting, Tewatia was held back. But, the tactical blunder by Sanju Samson was not introducing Riyan Parag, their only off-spinner.

Since IPL 2019, both Quinton de Kock and Krunal have been poor against offies. De Kock had struck at a strike rate of 97 in 24 innings and Krunal at 54.5 in six innings. Moreover, Riyan had rolled his arms a couple of times this season before. Irrespective of the result, it was a tactical miss by Samson.

Match 26: PBKS vs RCB – Dropping Washington Sundar

Tactical implementation: Failed

In the match against Punjab Kings, Virat Kohli mentioned he dropped Sundar looking at their combination. Astonishingly, with the likes of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran at number three and number four respectively, it was a blunder going in with a leg-spinner and a left-arm spinner.

Since IPL 2019, Gayle had struck at a strike rate of 113.1 against off-spinners at an average of 31.3 prior to his match against RCB. On the other hand, Pooran had an average of 25.3 and a strike rate of 135.7 against the offies. In the eight balls Gayle faced against the leg-spinner Chahal, he struck 16 runs at a strike of 200. Rather surprisingly, Kohli didn’t look to bowl a few overs from Maxwell. With Shahbaz Nadeem as another spinner, Kohli had to bowl his pacers, which made it easy for Gayle to score runs quickly.

Match 26: PBKS vs RCB – Brar’s inclusion

Tactical implementation: Success

In IPL 2021, RCB batsmen have shown weakness against left-arm orthodox and leg spinners. Rahul at the toss, just like Kohli, said he was looking at their combination and went for Harpreet Brar. That was a fruitful move as he turned out to be a star with the bat as well as the ball.

RCB batsmen had lost 13 wickets to left-arm orthodox and leg-spin bowlers prior to the match against PBKS. As far as their record is concerned, they lost five wickets to these bowling types. Kohli, Maxwell and AB de Villiers fell for Harpreet (LAO) and Shahbaz and Daniel Sams were dismissed by Ravi Bishnoi (RLB). Presently, RCB batsmen have lost 42.9 percent (18 out of 42) of their wickets to LAO and RLB bowlers this season. Certainly, this will be one area that other teams will be eyeing.

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Indian Premier League, 2021Delhi CapitalsRoyal Challengers BangaloreRajasthan RoyalsMumbai IndiansPunjab KingsGlenn MaxwellJos ButtlerAmit MishraHarpreet BrarVirat Kohli

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