Skipper Kane Williamson has had a stop-start season in the IPL this year due to injury concerns but in the limited opportunities he has had, the Kiwi batsman hasn't been able to make much of an impact. Keep aside his 43-ball 70 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, his favourite opponent, last match, Williamson hasn't had a single score over 30.
His 27-ball 28 is his second highest score this season and the New Zealand skipper has appeared all at sea after a superb year last time around when he won the Orange Cap for his 735 runs in the season. He made a whopping eight half-centuries last time around but this year in nine matches, he has only crossed the mark once.
After a half-century last game, Williamson seemed to have found his form. He had the advantage of playing his second favourite side in the IPL in the Eliminator. Against Delhi Capitals before the game on Wednesday, Williamson had scored 258 runs in 6 innings at an average of 64.50. His 28 helped him take that tally to 286 runs.
Yet, everything about Williamson's innings on Wednesday reeked of a lack of clear planning. Walking in at 56/2 shortly after a pretty good powerplay, Williamson had to sustain the tempo that was given to Sunrisers by his Kiwi colleague, Martin Guptill.
Yet, the Sunrisers skipper seemed very casual in his approach. He scored just 10 in his first 15 deliveries and with no impetus from one end, the pressure was on Manish Pandey to up the scoring rate. Pandey fell trying to do so and the onus was on Williamson to give Sunrisers a lift in the death.
Instead he ambled along to 28 at leisurely pace and was cleaned up by Ishant Sharma's yorker in the 16th over. A major hurdle for Williamson was handling the spinners on a slow surface. He played 12 balls from Mishra and Axar combined and scored just 9 runs off it.
The trend against spin isn't new. In this season, Williamson has struggled to score against off spinners. While he struck at a rate of 148.4 against pace, making 95 runs in 64 balls, against spin, he struggled big time. Before today, off the 39 balls against spin this year, Williamson had scored just 33 runs. The strike rate of 84.62 and average of 11 suggests that he has failed to master them.
Delhi used this to choke the run flow against Williamson. His numbers do not make for impressive viewing this season. Williamson has just 156 runs in 9 matches at an average of 22.28. After superb seasons in 2017 (256 runs at 42.66) and 2018 (735 runs at 52.50), 2019 has proved to be a tough one for the Kiwi batsman.