Rabada, Nortje Set Alight Their Happy Hunting Ground

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Rabada, Nortje set alight their happy hunting ground. The pace duo shared five wickets between them to dismantle SunRisers Hyderabad in Dubai

Rabada, Nortje Set Alight Their Happy Hunting GroundThe pace duo shared five wickets between them to dismantle SunRisers Hyderabad in Dubai

Whether it's the grass left for the long cricketing season ahead or just the pitch playing to their strengths, the conditions at the Dubai International Cricket stadium placed Delhi's pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje at the center of the action once again when they dismantled SunRisers Hyderabad with five wickets between them. It's no secret that the duo enjoy the conditions in UAE, something which was key to Delhi Capital's run to the final of IPL 2020.

The numbers alone paint a story of high impact. Together, in the UAE, the duo has picked up 55 wickets in 17 matches at a strike-rate of 14.3. No wonder then that the DC think-tank jumped at the first opportunity to get the pair back together. Nortje had not played a single match in the first half of the tournament with Shreyas Iyer's injury forcing them to strengthen their batting through their foreign quota. However, his return allowed DC to get their prime pair back in their favourite hunting ground.

In Dubai across IPL 2020 and 2021, the pace bias as a strike-force is amply evident in the comparison between spin and pace across both seasons.

IPL 2020 + 2021

And the difference is starker this season, albeit in the early stages with just three games completed on the ground.

IPL 2021

Rabada (16) and Nortje (13) sandwich Mohammed Shami (14) in the top three wicket-takers across these seasons in Dubai.

A slice of what makes them so effective here was evident in how they found success against Sunrisers Hyderabad. On a pitch that encouraged their strengths, the duo showed how they could be a handful by adjusting their lengths. The back-of-the length, cross-seam deliveries would either skid on or grip and foil the batsmen for pace off the pitch repeatedly.

Warner got a three-ball duck

Nortje set the tone early with a stunning over against David Warner. He first unleashed a near yorker outside off that beat Warner for pace (148.5 kph), before switching to back of the length, the second of which hurried Warner for pace again and had him fending to point. His other wicket of the day was an inversion of this set-up. Kedar Jadhav was pushed back with three short of the length balls before a full and straight one had him plumb in front. It encapsulated Nortje's successful methods in a nutshell.

With more variations, Rabada's methods were not too dissimilar to Nortje's. After being hit for a six by Saha off a full ball, Rabada mixed his pace up and lengths before producing a bouncer that forced a mistimed pull by Saha. A similarly short of length ball decking in had Manish Pandey present a leading edge back to the bowler, and a dug in cutter later got the better of Abdul Samad.

Trevor Bayliss, Sunrisers Hyderabad's coach, acknowledged that they were outplayed here. “The wicket was pretty good, their [Delhi Capitals] bowlers upfront bowled really well. Lots of pace, they used the wicket well with a lot of cutters with the ball just holding on a little bit, and jumping a little bit. And those tall fast bowlers took full advantage of it,” he said.

Delhi Capitals have two more league games at Dubai coming in at the back end of the tournament. And potentially more, including the final, if they get past the group stage. How the pitches shape up by then is anybody's guess but this performance would go some way in helping Delhi be on track to that final, their confidence high in the personnel tasked with leading them on the bowling front.

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