IPL 2020: Batting First No Longer Advantage, Toss Turns Lucky, the Three Performers of the Week
As we head into the 'playoff stage', we look back at the trends and patterns and newsmakers of the previous week
- Nikhil Narain
- Updated: November 2, 2020, 4:12 PM IST
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has entered its final week. It has been a fascinating tournament with high drama, unpredictable results, some great performances and close nail-biting encounters. As we head into the 'playoff stage', we look back at the trends and patterns and newsmakers of the previous week.
MUMBAI INDIANS - A CLASS APART : Mumbai Indians (MI) were in a tight three-way race for pole position with RCB and DC till the beginning of the week. But by the end of it, with 9 wins from 13 matches, have raced ahead of the pack and are the only team who have mathematically qualified for the playoffs. And will finish as the group toppers.
MI won both the matches, against their biggest threats - RCB and DC, this week. The manner in which their fast bowlers routed DC and restricted them to 110 for 9 which the MI batsmen then chased down with 9 wickets in hand and more than 5 overs to spare - gave an indication of a team which was firing collectively on all cylinders.
The biggest positive for MI, over the course of this week and the second half of the tournament has been the return to top form of the pace spearhead - Jasprit Bumrah. The Indian speedster has picked 6 wickets conceding just 31 runs in his 8 overs in the last couple of matches and after an indifferent start to the tournament is now the joint-highest wicket taker of IPL 2020.
Even without a fit Rohit Sharma, MI are currently the favourites to win the IPL yet again!
RCB & DC - LOSING STEAM IN THE LAST QUARTER : Two-thirds into the tournament and it looked like RCB and DC would give MI a stiff challenge for the top position in IPL 2020. But a sudden loss of form and change in fortunes has meant that one of the two may, shockingly, not even qualify for the playoffs! RCB has now lost three matches in a row including two this week - to MI and SRH. DC have fared even poorly - they have lost four matches in a row including two this week - to the same two teams - SRH and MI.
Now, both RCB and DC are in a precarious position. The winner of their match will qualify for the playoffs but the loser's fate will depend on the result of the match between SRH and MI on Tuesday.
THE END OF THE ROAD FOR KXIP & RR Kings XI Punjab, after a disastrous start, staged a spirited fightback in the tournament, and won five matches in a row. But faltered when it mattered most in the big games against the Royals and Super Kings in Abu Dhabi. The problem for KXIP throughout the season was a lack of collective effort. Despite some outstanding individual performances - the most noteworthy amongst them of skipper KL Rahul who in all likelihood will finish as the leading run-getter of IPL 2020 with 670 runs from 14 matches and Mohammed Shami who with 20 wickets was one of the bowlers of the tournament - KXIP never put in a cohesive team performance.
Rajasthan Royals were the most erratic team of IPL 2020 - on some days they were sensational and unbeatable and on others collapsed and fell apart like 9 pins. That best describes the performance of some of the star players too - the most apparent of course, the hot and cold rollercoaster ride of Sanju Samson. RR were brilliant against KXIP chasing down a stiff target of 185 with over two overs to spare but just a few days later their batting crumbled against KKR in Dubai leading to their ouster from the tournament.
CHASING ADVANTAGE GETS STRONGER : The team batting second won as many as 7 of the 9 matches this week - exactly the same numbers from last week. This means that the team chasing has won 14 of the 18 matches in the last two weeks. Two things stand out - some of the scores batting first have been below par and even poor which means the bowlers have come into their own as the tournament has progressed. Secondly, the teams batting second have finally framed a strategy on how to plan and pace their chase - something which was missing in the first half of the tournament. The trend of the last two weeks is in complete reversal of the trend of the first three weeks when 19 of the 26 matches with outright results (73.08%) were won by the team batting first.
What this means is that we have a tie - overall, out of the 50 outright results in IPL 2020 (there have been 4 tied matches), 25 have been won by the team chasing and 25 by the team batting first.
TOSS FINALLY TURNS LUCKY : The toss proved to be lucky this week with the team winning the toss going on to win the match on as many as 7 occasions (of a total of 9 matches). This is in symmetrical reversal of the last week pattern when the team winning the toss lost 7 of the 9 matches. Overall, the team winning the toss has now lost 33 and won 21 of the 54 matches in IPL 2020.
PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK : There were three outstanding performers this week - one each from the three teams which won both their matches in the week - MI, SRH and CSK. Bumrah returned with 3-14 in 4 overs against RCB and 3-17 in 4 overs against DC. Rashid Khan got the wickets of Rahane, Hetmyer and Axar Patel while conceding just 7 runs off his 4 overs against DC and returned with 1-24 in 4 overs against RCB. Ruturaj Gaikwad, the young 23 year old from Pune who Faf du Plessis compared with 'Virat Kohli' gave glimpses of his prodigious talent - he scored 72 off 53 balls in a successful 172-run chase against KKR before remaining unbeaten on a match-winning 62 off just 49 deliveries in another successful chase against the Kings XI.
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