Here are the major talking points from the IPL 2020 game between Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah.
What did the Rajasthan Royals bowlers do right?
They brought in Varun Aaron for this game. Extra pace. Jofra Archer jogs in and hits 150kph. And the plan in the powerplay was to bowl short, fast and at the body.
This was essentially to prevent the Capitals’ big hitters from simply plonking their front foot out and hitting through the line. Bit hard to put power on a ball that is coming up to your chest. At pace.
In all, the Royals bowled 24 short or short-of-a-good-length balls, giving away 32 runs. There were only five full deliveries in the entire powerplay.
Considering the Capitals lost three wickets in the first six overs, you have to say, the plan worked.
Are the Capitals cramping Rishabh Pant’s style?
In the tenth over, Pant just absent-mindedly jogged down the pitch thinking there’s a simple single on offer only to see his partner staring bemusedly at him. Marcus Stoinis had taken a couple of steps on instinct more than anything else. He had no intentions of taking a single after hitting the ball too close to midwicket. Pant, though, had just dozed off.
He’s been like that all IPL. The left-hander was playing his sixth match of the season on Friday. But he has hit only five sixes so far. That simply doesn’t add up.
It’s probably a sign of his evolving role. Pant is now seen as a senior batsman at the Capitals. He’s their No. 4. The team wants him to take more responsibility. And he has shown glimpses of rising to it. But is it worth the cost of losing his explosiveness?
How did Ashwin vs Buttler turn out?
The two men at the centre of one of the biggest controversies in IPL 2019 came head to head. R Ashwin seems to have mellowed down since then, he’s giving batsmen a warning to begin with this year. Last year, at the first opportunity, he ran out a non-striker who was leaving his crease too early. Jos Buttler had stared in disbelief at what had happened, even though it was very much within the laws of the game. Their first meeting in 2020 was always going to be a talking point, and it didn’t disappoint.
The offspinner needed only two balls to get his man. And by the way he ran and leapt and punched the air and wagged his pointer finger, it seemed he was targeting this wicket.
Buttler knew the best thing to do in Sharjah is to hit straight. That’s what he tried. Worst case, since Ashwin was bowling very straight, he probably thought midwicket.
But the offbreak dipped on him, making him skew the shot to square leg, where Shikhar Dhawan was waiting. There are moments that feel as big as a victory. This is one of them. A fingerspinner outsmarting a 360-degree hitter on a ground where the boundary is only a hop, skip and jump away.
What are the Royals doing with Yashasvi Jaiswal?
Jaiswal kept getting beaten by the extra pace of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. It wasn’t like he was playing poor shots. Or blindly slogging. He was just late getting in position. That’s a sign of a player still making the step up from Under-19 cricket to senior level.
The problem was, once he got through that phase, he still showed no intent. He was 19 off 27 in the 11th over of a chase of 185.
This is Jaiswal’s first IPL and he seemingly hasn’t had stability or clarity about his role, with the Royals experimenting with Steven Smith at the top. There is a decent player in here but, it appears, he’s all muddled.