Lightning did not strike thrice on Tuesday as after threatening to replicate the heroics of Rajasthan and Mumbai, Delhi fell marginally short to hand Sunrisers their first win of the season. The undisputed star of the show was Rashid Khan, who ended the game with mind-boggling figures of 3/14.
That Shreyas Iyer will captain India in the future is not a matter of ‘if’ but just ‘when’. He, by some distance, has the brightest and shrewdest young brain in the country, if not in the entire world, and in SRH’s powerplay today, he gave the world another glimpse of his tactical acumen. Knowing both Bairstow and Warner love width, and realizing they get a ton of their runs in the powerplay towards the point region, the Capitals skipper deployed a floating sweeper at deep/deep-backward point. Both the openers found the fielder on multiple occasions - Bairstow as early as the fifth ball of the match - and it helped cut down at least a couple of boundaries, if not more. That coupled with some disciplined bowling meant that the SRH openers, both of whom love to exploit the powerplay and get off the blocks quickly, struck just two fours in the first six overs. After his move to bowl Axar to Watson, last game, more concrete evidence suggests that Iyer is a captain who loves to be one step ahead.
Manish Pandey is not worthy of SRH’s trust
For someone who has played over 130 IPL matches, is 31 years old and is an experienced Indian international, it is quite remarkable how Manish Pandey, time and again, escapes without getting any flak. Barring the odd match-winning knock or two, he has been a serial underperformer in the IPL. Yet, somehow, his reputation has kept him in good stead. The harsh reality is that for all the trust the SRH have shown in him, he has failed to repay the faith. He played half-baked knocks in each of the first two games, failed to cash in and finish the job despite spending ample time in the middle, while today, after being sent ahead of Kane Williamson, he once again left the field without fulfilling his duty. That he can accumulate runs - albeit at a very unimpressive strike rate - is not up for debate, but how useful have his runs been for the team, really? For three seasons SRH have been patient, shown their trust and have even given him a promotion in the hope of him eventually coming good but it just hasn’t worked out. And it looks like it never will. As things stand, Pandey’s presence does nothing to the SRH side but add a false sense of security.
Amit Mishra is the most underrated cricketer in IPL history
Mishra ji, as we all like to call him, like it or not, is superhuman. He really is. I mean, look at him: he is 37 years old (turning 38 in a couple of months) and he’s been playing in the IPL since season one, yet he’s not declined one bit. It’s astonishing how his performances have flown under the radar, really. Today he backed his 0/23 versus CSK up with a 2/35 and boy he out-veteraned all veteran SRH batters. First, after playing cat-and-mouse with Warner for a good two overs, he outwitted the SRH skipper with one that slid past him and then he baited Pandey with a juicy, floater which got the better of the right-hander. That is as seasoned a display as it can get, you know. What’s incredible about Mishra is that he almost never has a bad season. Year after year he comes in, does what he’s good at - which is classic, conventional, no-nonsense leg-spin bowling - and aides the side. Here’s hoping Delhi find a way to accommodate him even after Ravi Ashwin returns.
Shreyas Iyer at No.3 is a bad idea
Delhi need to sort out Shreyas Iyer’s batting position and do it quick. Three is not where he belongs, not in this Delhi side, at least. Here’s the problem with Iyer batting 3: given Delhi have two accumulators in the form of Dhawan and Shaw opening the batting, who will not strike at more than 8 RPO on their best day, it is vitally important to have the No.3 batsman inject some positivity. Iyer, unfortunately, is just not that guy. Since the start of IPL 2019, he’s been averaging below 30 and striking under 120, numbers which are underwhelming for someone who can tonk the ball into oblivion. Even not taking his bad day today into account, this problem was evident from Iyer’s knock against CSK where, after walking in on the back of a good platform set by the openers, he played a pretty appalling knock. In the form of Shimron Hetmyer, DC have a ready-made No.3 who perfectly complements the openers, but the Delhi-based franchise are wasting him by batting him down the order.