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IPL 2021 | SC’s Sedentary Review: MI vs RR - Chennai-free Mumbai rediscover their old self to down RR

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QDK and Kurnal steered MI to victory

@ IPL T20

IPL 2021 | SC’s Sedentary Review: MI vs RR - Chennai-free Mumbai rediscover their old self to down RR

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Anirudh Suresh

04/29/2021

After glancing at the Delhi pitch, Rohit Sharma had a huge grin on his face at the toss and the MI skipper’s intuition proved right as Mumbai, for the first time this season, played like champions to stay in the top four. They outclassed an impassive RR side that simply lacked quality.

Where Rajasthan lost the game

In the second half of the Dube-Samson partnership. At 109/2 after 13 overs, RR looked on course to posting a total of 190, but, from this point on, they ended up scoring just 36 off the next four overs. Dube, in this period, scored just 13 off 12 balls and the loss in momentum prevented RR from getting close to the 200-run mark, which was par on a flat Delhi wicket. 

Observations

Yashasvi Jaiswal the T20 batsman is evolving

He is getting there. Yashasvi Jaiswal, with every passing game, is showing signs that he is evolving and improving as a T20 batsman. One could not pass judgements from the three games Jaiswal played last season but it was evident that he was not the greatest of power-hitters and was also a bit passive when it came to showing intent. However, already in two games this season, the youngster has shown that he is a T20 batsman on the rise. Versus KKR, he brought out the most intent-filled version of him seen in T20 cricket and today, versus MI, he bettered it. After scoring 22 off his first 16 balls inside the powerplay in the last game, Jaiswal, today, raced to 20 off the first 11 balls he faced. Six-hitting is not Jaiswal’s forte yet - although he hit a couple of them today -  but the 19-year-old has been finding other ways to score quick runs. He is using his feet smartly, rotating strike efficiently and most importantly is always looking to put the bowler under pressure in one way or the other. The Jaiswal of 2020 was a largely reactive batsman; what we saw today was a proactive opener who is on the rise. 

No wickets up-front? No problem

Would you have believed if someone had told you prior to the season that 85% of Boult’s wickets in the first six games would be taken at the death? Probably not. Not only has the Kiwi speedster, this season, crushed the stereotype of him being a ‘pure new-ball bowler’, he has become an absolute gun at the death. In the years gone by, Boult would arguably have been dropped because of his ineffectiveness had he averaged 92.00 (!!!) in the powerplay, but this time around, Mumbai are loving the idea of using him at the death. Barring the Punjab game where he was brought on to bowl after the game was virtually over, Boult, in overs 16-20 in IPL 2021, has maintained an ER of 8.64 and has averaged a ridiculous 10.66. He played significant hands in MI choking SRH and KKR and today, again, he delivered a pin-point yorker to dismiss Samson, a wicket that saved Mumbai some 20-25 runs. In the first point we talked about Jaiswal evolving, but here’s a veteran bowler, into the 10th year of his international career, reinventing himself to keep up with the rigours of T20 cricket, in a very different role. 

Rajasthan have been economical in the powerplay, but they need to start taking more wickets

What Rajasthan have managed to do this season in the powerplay minus Jofra Archer has been truly astounding. They’ve maintained an ER of 7.25, which is the best in the competition, and have choked their opponents through the three left-arm seamers. However, going forward, they would need their seamers to strike more up-front. As things stand, RR have taken 8 wickets in the first six overs, which is joint fourth amongst all teams. Yet why the Royals need to improve these figures is because, unlike most of the other sides, they lack a wicket-taking leg-spinner in the middle-overs. Prior to this game, they averaged 45.20 and took just 10 wickets in overs 7-15, figures convincingly the worst amongst all eight teams. With Tewatia largely being a container and with Gopal’s form having fallen off a cliff, it will be of paramount importance for the RR pacers to strike more with the new ball to compensate for the bowling attack’s impotency in the middle-overs. They might get away with it every now and then, but if they are to challenge for Top 4, this is an area RR would need to work on. 

Hot take zone

Sanju Samson should be ahead of Rishabh Pant in India’s T20 pecking order

Yes, Sanju Samson failed to provide the flourish at the death today. But make no mistake, across the past two seasons, Samson has out-batted Pant in every single aspect. Both Pant and Samson have batted 20 times each since the start of IPL 2020, and their record is as follows:

Pant: 525 runs @ average 35 and SR 118.2 (11 sixes)

Samson: 604 runs @ average 33.6 and SR 153.7 (35 sixes)

Consistency has been the one factor that’s been constantly used against Samson, but it’s evident that he’s surpassed the Pant in the same. Not to mention, Samson has also had to bat in a team where there is always pressure on him to deliver, for he’s the backbone of RR’s batting.

Most importantly, however, the two are day and night in terms of where they, on current form, stand with respect to their hitting ability. Not only does Samson have a SR that is 35 more than Pant, he also has hit more than thrice the amount of sixes as the southpaw. With both vying for a middle-order spot where accelerating will be key, it goes without saying that the team should be prioritizing the batsman superior at ball-striking. And right now, it is Samson - by some distance.

The prejudice of being a ‘hit and miss’ batsman has worked against Samson for years, but it’s time that he’s rewarded for what he’s actually achieving. 

Player Ratings

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The MVP

Without a shadow of doubt, Rahul Chahar. Buttler, after getting his eye in, looked like he’d take Mumbai to the cleaners for the gazillionth time but the leggie, yet another time this season, provided a breakthrough that proved to be match-defining. 2/33 for a leggie on this Delhi wicket is absolute goldust. 

Match Frenzy O Meter - Good

This game could have been great had one of Samson or Buttler kicked on, but RR faltering towards the end meant that the contest became a tad one-sided in the chase. Nevertheless, it had way more entertainment than what the first two matches in Ahmedabad provided. 

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