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IPL 2020

Talking Points – Did Delhi Capitals underestimate Wriddhiman Saha?

Talking points from IPL 2020 game between Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Delhi Capitals

Why did Sunrisers Hyderabad drop Jonny Bairstow?

Jonny Bairstow has been a revelation for Sunrisers in the IPL: he scored 445 runs in 10 innings while striking at 157.24 in his debut season in 2019, and while this year had been slightly less productive (345 runs in 11 matches, 126.83 strike rate) he was still their second-highest run-scorer coming into this game. But with Rashid Khan an automatic pick, and the management keen to pick a fifth frontline bowler in Jason Holder, “one of the top three batters had to miss out,” explained head coach Trevor Bayliss. “Jonny was the odd one out on this occasion.”

The logic was that leaving Bairstow out allowed Wriddhiman Saha to bat at the top of the order. The move worked on this occasion, with Saha’s blistering start setting the platform for a convincing win. Kane Williamson, included at Bairstow’s expense to bolster the middle order, made only 11 not out off 10 balls, on his return from injury, but it hardly mattered with 170 on the board when he walked in during the 15th over.

 

Should Ajinkya Rahane have opened for Delhi Capitals?

In a chase of 220, it seemed an odd choice for the Capitals to send Ajinkya Rahane – a man with an IPL career strike rate below 120 – out to open the batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan. Perhaps their logic was that he would be most useful in the powerplay, with the opportunity to loft the ball over the infield, but their batting order looked particularly strange: Shreyas Iyer, a significantly faster-scoring player than Rahane, and no doubt a more complete T20 batsman, ended up walking out at 55 for 4 with the required run rate comfortably above 12.

Either way, there could be little doubt that Sunrisers were significantly happier to see Rahane walk out to the middle than they would have been if Prithvi Shaw had been selected in his place. Despite his poor run of form in the second half of the season, Shaw’s ceiling as a T20 opener is much higher, and he could well be picked for their next fixture against Mumbai Indians.

Does Marcus Stoinis have a problem against spin?

The short answer to this question appears to be yes: he has scored at a strike rate of 129.16 against spinners this season, compared to 173.49 against seamers, and struggles against spin have dogged him throughout his IPL career. Stoinis has been watchful this year, generally opting to rotate the strike against spin early in his innings and doing so relatively successfully, but when he came in at No. 3, he had no choice but to attack in the powerplay.

David Warner saw an opportunity to bowl left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem to two right-handers, and the move paid off: Stoinis looked to give himself room, Nadeem followed him, and he slapped a length ball straight to Warner at mid-off. In all T20s since the start of 2018, Stoinis has scored at a strike rate of just 92.94 against left-arm orthodox spin.

Did the Capitals underestimate Saha?

While few would have expected Saha to be quite so explosive on his return to the side, he has regularly been a fast-scoring opener; coming into this season, he had the fifth-best powerplay strike rate in the history of the IPL.

Out of the 45 balls he faced, 24 arrived either in line with the stumps or down the leg side, allowing him to score heavily on the leg side. In all, 52 of his 87 runs came between fine leg and midwicket, and it seemed that Capitals didn’t have a specific plan against him.

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