T20 cricket as a format is known to evoke plenty of drama but never in anyone’s wildest dreams did anyone expect an IPL 2020 double header day to end up featuring not one, not two, but three Super Overs all in the space of a few hours. And if the Super Over between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) was anti-climatic, the two between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) had viewers on the edge of their seats. The end results - wins for KKR and KXIP, respectively - means the race for that fourth spot remains on tenterhooks even as the tournament enters the business end.
SRH’s Middle Order Fails… Again
SRH and their over-reliance on the top order to deliver the bulk of the runs feels like a tale as old as time and it was exactly that which came back to haunt them against KKR. Priyam Garg (4), Manish Pandey (6) and Vijay Shankar (7) all fell early in the innings and it is an issue that will need sorting soon if they are to make a run for the play-offs.
Ironically, the one middle-order batsman who didn’t fail was skipper David Warner, who dropped down to the Number 4 spot from his usual preferred opening spot, with Kane Williamson opening alongside Jonny Bairstow. Warner’s 47 would have been enough with a little more support from the middle-order. Now how many times have we heard that before?
Ferguson Adds New Dimension to KKR’s Bowling Attack
Lockie Ferguson had to wait a while for his opportunity in this season of the IPL but the New Zealand pacer grabbed his chance with both hands when it finally arrived. His figures of 3-15 in 4 overs were comfortably the best among KKR’s bowlers and it is worth noting that he didn’t concede a single boundary in his spell.
He then followed it up with a Super Over that saw him castle both Warner and Abdul Samad in the space of three balls, giving away only 2 runs and setting up a comfortable win for the side. Momentum is everything in T20 cricket and Ferguson currently has that in spades, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in upcoming matches.
Signs of Old Failings Remain Within KXIP
Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal finished off the chase in the second Super Over with minimal fuss but what was masked by the exhilirating nature of the game was that KXIP came close to choking in a vital moment yet again. That has been an issue throughout the campaign and was the key reason why, before this game, they were rooted to the bottom of the table.
9 runs off 6 balls with two set batsmen at the crease is a relatively easy task, even if the bowler tasked with delivering that over is Trent Boult. That they were unable to finish the match at that time came as little surprise to anyone. Closing out games remains an issue for the KL Rahul-led side, and it is one they will have to rectify soon.
Should Rohit’s Form Concern MI?
6. 35. 5. 35. 9. Rohit Sharma’s run of form in the last few games has been offset by excellent performances from the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock. The latter came up with another half-century but Yadav experienced a rare failure, being dismissed for a duck. However, it is Rohit’s form that remains a mystery.
Given the class the MI skipper possesses, it would be foolish to write off the man Kieron Pollard described as a fighter. However, the side need their skipper to fire with the bat too given that in this tournament, even above par totals can be chased down with relative ease.