Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - IPL 2021: What has worked for the teams and what has not (Part 2). AB de Villiers won games on his own at Chepauk in the first half of the IPL.
AB de Villiers won games on his own at Chepauk in the first half of the IPL.
The 14th edition of the IPL is all set to resume in UAE in three days' time. Here we take a look back at how each team fared in the first half of the season played in India in April-May. In the second part, we take a look at the teams occupying the middle slots in the points table. For the other teams, refer here.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
What has worked: Acing the death overs game at Chepauk. Maxwell & De Villiers batting axis.
Given the team they constructed was suited for home conditions at Chinnaswamy, they were at a distinct disadvantage when they were scheduled to play their first three games at Chepauk which offered polar opposite conditions. They got off to a great start winning all three games of the Chennai leg. AB de Villiers won them games on his own on the slow Chennai track scoring at a rate of 14.85 in the death overs compared to the tournament average of 8.49 at the venue for this phase.
If it was De Villers who closed off games at the death, it was their new signing Glenn Maxwell who set the platform in the middle stages, a phase where RCB struggled big time in the previous edition. Maxwell scored at 145 between overs seven and 15 which saw RCB's middle overs scoring rate increasing to 7.51 from 6.93 the previous season. The two games he got out cheaply against CSK and PBKS – RCB's only defeats – the rest of the middle and lower order collapsed to spin.
What has not worked: Kohli's move up the order. Spinners.
Having struggled against spinners in the middle overs last season, Virat Kohli moved up the order to open to start off against pacers, a position where he had immense success in the past in IPL. Apart from the half-century in the ten wicket win against the Royals, Kohli has found the going tough averaging 33 and striking at 121. His scoring rate was under 120 in the Powerplay and only rose to 124 after the field spread out. With Maxwell taking lead against spinners in the middle overs and De Villiers giving the finishing touches to the innings at the death, RCB would be well served if Kohli can raise them off to solid starts.
Despite playing three games at spin friendly Chepauk, RCB spinners have poorer numbers than all sides barring RR. Both Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar couldn't replicate their form from last season and that meant RCB couldn't exploit the conditions at Chepauk to full effect. Though Sundar has been ruled out, their spin roster has been boosted with the addition of Wanindu Hasaranga who has been on a roll in the last couple of years in the T20 circuit.
What has worked: Death overs batting and bowling. Consistent Samson.
Royals won three of their seven matches in the first half, and it was in the final phase of the innings that they grabbed each of these three games. Their scoring rate of 10.96 between overs 16 and 20 is the second best in the competition only behind CSK. RR pulled off the 58 runs they required off the final five in the chase against DC while in the face off against SRH, they hit 74 off the final five to post a total way above par. Their seam bowlers have done pretty well considering they played all their matches at Wankhede and Kotla, going at 10 per over and picking 16 wickets which is the joint-most number of wickets for a side in this phase. Chris Morris – joint-second highest wicket taker of the tournament – pulled the game back with the ball against KKR picking four wickets in the death overs.
Sanju Samson has had his best start to a season hitting 277 runs at an average of 46 and striking at 146 and is sitting at fifth in the Orange Cap list. Unlike the previous seasons where he has tapered off after the first three matches, he has continued racking up decent scores. In a low-scoring affair against KKR, Samson batted through the innings to take them home, something he has failed to do often in the past.
What has not worked: Indian batters. Spin in the middle overs.
Royals' spinners struggled to exert any sort of control at Wankhede and Kotla tracks which are flat coupled with short boundaries. They have bowled the fewest overs of spin (31) and have picked only three wickets in seven games and are going at well over ten per over (10.42). RR have roped in the services of #1 ranked T20I spinner Tabriaz Shamsi and he would be expected to do the heavy lifting in the spin department in the remaining half of the season.
While their spinners have struggled, the opposition spinners have weaved the web over RR batsman, all of whom have better career record against pace than against spin. Samson (SR 116), Shivam Dube (126), Riyan Parag (133), Rahul Tewatia (84) and David Miller (61) all have struggled to force the pace against spinners. Samson aside, the rest of Royals' Indian batting contingent have managed only 417 runs at 18.95 in 24 innings among them at a strike rate of 125 despite playing all their games in largely batting friendly wickets.
Rohit has made his best start to an IPL season.
What has worked: Rohit and (the other) Rahul.
One of the positives for MI in their tough gig at Chennai was the return to form of their skipper Rohit Sharma. Having endured four poor seasons on the bounce he has had his best start to an IPL season and was the only MI batsman who got adjusted to the pace of the wickets at Chepauk. He hit 201 runs in five innings in Chennai at an average of 40.20 and a healthy strike rate of 130.52.
Last season, Mumbai's attack was led by pacers and spinners largely played a supporting cast. In fact, they were the only side to have the ratio of wickets taken by pace to spin higher than three (3.3 pace wickets for every wicket by a spinner). With pacers struggling upfront, it was Rahul Chahar's strikes in the middle phase that often kept the game in check for MI. He was the leading wicket taker in middle overs (7-15) in the India leg across all teams with 11 scalps at a strike rate of 14.2.
What has not worked: Powerplay bowling and middle order.
Two aspects that were at the forefront of their success last season was wickets upfront in the Powerplay which often took the wind out of the sail for the opponents and the late innings acceleration by their middle order. The conditions at Chepauk, where they played their first five matches, imperiled both those as a result of which they had a win-loss record in arrears there before moving to Delhi and winning both their games. MI seamers have picked only two wickets in Powerplay across 33 overs (SR 99.0) in seven matches in comparison to 28 in 16 games last year (SR 16.9).
MI have fared disastrously in death overs losing 26 wickets and scoring at just 8.81 per over – both the worst for a team in the season. Kieron Pollard redeemed his numbers somewhat with the knock of the tournament so far in their last game before the break against CSK, but outside of that game the trio of Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan have only managed 190 runs in 16 innings among them at just over run a ball.
What has worked: Top order.
Punjab's top three of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle have aggregated two-thirds of their total runs. Given the lack of good options down the order combined with Nicholas Pooran's wretched run of form (28 runs in six innings), they have tried to make sure one of their openers play through the innings. In all their three wins so far in the tournament, Rahul has batted through almost the entire innings – 91 vs RR, 60* vs MI and 91* vs RCB. Whenever both the openers were dismissed early, the rest of the lineup have been blown away – 106/8 vs CSK, 120 vs SRH and 123/9 vs KKR.
What has not worked: The overseas recruits.
PBKS had the worst returns from their overseas signings in the first half of the season. Going by the stats from the current IPL cycle since 2018, PBKS have been the most top-heavy side in the tournament. They did not address the issue in the latest auction either and it has bitten them back big time in this season. In 18 innings between their five overseas batting recruits, they have managed only 254 runs at 14.94 with a strike rate of 114 and no score of over 50. This has put additional burden on the opening pair of Rahul and Mayank and made them to bat more conservatively. Punjab is the only team to score under seven in the Powerplay and their scoring rate is below the tournament average for each of the three phases.
Similar story goes about their overseas seam trio of Chris Jordan, Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson – the last two burnt a hole of 22 crores in Punjab's purses. Between them, they have struggled to give breakthroughs as well keep a lid on the scoring rate as the average of 40.22 and economy rate of 9.78 underline.