Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings will aim to get back to winning ways
How these teams were humbled was the talking point in the IPL in the past few days. In the topsy-turvy world of T20 cricket, upsets and setbacks are not unusual. But even so, the batting collapses of Delhi Capitals (v RR) and Punjab Kings (v CSK) were shocking and sensational.
Both teams had won their opening matches largely on the strength of their batting, which made the collapses unexpected and inexplicable.
Against CSK, DC had overhauled a stiff target of 189 by 7 wickets, with plenty of deliveries to spare. And though RR came very close to victory thanks to Samson’s brilliant century, Punjab had scored a whopping 221
Against Rajasthan, however, DC, boasting a strong and exciting batting line up, were left tottering at 37-4 in the seventh over, left-arm fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat plucking out three of these wickets. DC recovered to 147, thanks to Rishabh Pant’s splendid half century, but there was not much else to commend in the batting. If anything, Punjab’s top order batting against CSK was even more diabolical. Deepak Chahar, getting the ball to swing late with immaculate control, picked up 4-13 in an unbroken spell, and in the seventh over, PBKS were on their knees at 265. Thanks to newcomer Shahrukh Khan, the score was stretched to 106. This was never going to prevent CSK from winning.
Without taking away anything from the bowling of Unadkat and Chahar and the hardships posed by the pitch, there was hint of arrogance in the approach of DC and PBKS batsmen. Instead of trying to play out the powerplay without casualty, they went for strokes — and paid the price.
Such defeats can be deflating, and if the trend is not reversed swiftly, can lead to further problems and setbacks. Both teams will be looking to get back on the rails. If Anrich Nortje is fit, DC will want to unite him with Kagiso Rabada. The two made the most successful fast bowling pair last season. Marcus Stoinis hasn’t delivered with bat or ball and may find himself on the bench, what with the side packed with all-rounders otherwise. Nonetheless, DC’S top order has to click for Rabada, Ravichandran Ashwin and Co to make an impact.
Likewise, PBKS need the top order to fire. If KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal don’t make runs, the team starts to struggle. Chris Gayle and Deepak Hooda have had a good knock each, but Nicholas Pooran, with two successive ducks, has been a straggler.
In bowling, it might be time to introduce leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi. Murugan Ashwin has been the preferred spinner in the two matches, but hasn’t troubled batsmen, leave aside take wickets.