The sixth match of the Indian Premier League 2020 between the Kings XI Punjab and the Royal Challengers Bangalore witnessed the first century of the season, which was scored by none other than the winning captain-KL Rahul. After a well-fought innings by Mayank Agarwal against the Delhi Capitals which almost took them over the line, this time it was rather a stroll for them.
The Kings were always in front of the Challengers, even before the start of the game. They made two crucial changes to the squad, out of which one was to play: the leg-spinner, Murugan Ashwin, to counter the lethal right-handed batsmen possessed by their opponents. In addition to this, Rahul’s clean hitting with the bat throughout his innings, incorporated with some quality bowling in the second half of the game, made it easier for them to handover an embarrassing 97-run defeat to RCB.
In this cricket analysis, we aim to statistically analyse the game to seek the significant moments behind the result.
Having won the toss, RCB elected to bowl first. The decision comes with no surprise considering their previous game, where they fought hard to defend their total, and also when considering the dew factor, which would make it difficult for the bowlers as the game progresses. However, this decision needs rethinking moving forward as teams having failed to chase down targets four out of the five times in which they wanted to do so in this season, including this one.
How did the teams perform during their batting?
KXIP started well, scoring 50 runs off the powerplay with all wickets intact. At the same time, the RCB pacers -Umesh Yadav and Dale Steyn – continued to leak runs as they did in their previous game. Virat Kohli once again handed the ball over to his go-to man, Yuzvendra Chahal, who delivered yet again by surprising Agarwal with a googly. Just when RCB were trying to shift the momentum towards their side, their pacers once again let them down by leaking runs on one side, whereas on the other, the KXIP batsmen were cautiously playing out Chahal.
Even after losing Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell in two consecutive overs of Shivam Dube, KXIP managed 76 runs in the middle overs. Besides the poor bowling display by the pacers, who collectively gave away 162 runs, their fielding was bad as well. Rahul was dropped by Kohli, not once but twice on 84 and 89 in two successive overs. This cost them 48 runs; nevertheless, it helped KXIP post a total of 206 at the end of 20 overs.
On the other hand, RCB’s chase was pretty much summed up when they were 5-3 at the end of three overs. Sheldon Cottrell picked up two crucial wickets of Devdutt Padikkal and the run machine Kohli, both in a similar fashion where the batsmen mistimed trying to play a pull shot. Aaron Finch’s weakness of playing in-swinging balls was well exploited by Mohammed Shami, who later dismissed Josh Philippe. Overall, KXIP’s fast bowling unit bowled well by hitting the right areas – in contrast to RCB’s bowling performance.
AB de Villiers gave some hope for the RCB fans, but yet again got dismissed by the leg spinner-Ashwin. After his dismissal, things only went downhill for RCB. Washington Sundar – who got only two overs to bowl -alongside Shivam Dube tried to avoid a massive defeat, but it was too late, as they got bowled out for 109 runs with three overs to spare.
Spinners ruling the show, yet again…
The spinners once again took the centre stage claiming eight of the 13 wickets that fell in this game. Seven out of the eight were taken by leg spinners and six out of those were taken by KXIP’s young spin duo-Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi. Both of them took crucial wickets of De Villiers and Finch respectively and later helped their team to wrap up things in style. Ashwin had the highest impact in the game giving away just 21 runs in his three overs. RCB’s only impact player was Chahal, who claimed an important wicket of Agarwal and was the most economical among the leggies.
Not to forget the important contribution of Cottrell upfront too, which set up a perfect stage for the spinners to express themselves.
Dube gave RCB two important breakthroughs for just 10 runs in his first three overs but was later smacked by Rahul for 23 runs of the last over.
Apprentice vs The Master
Rahul’s exceptional batting is a perfect example of a captain’s knock. He single-handedly took his team past 200 by scoring 132 runs – 23 more than the entire RCB team – from just 69 deliveries. Apart from helping his team ease past RCB towards victory, he also broke a few records on the way. He became the fastest Indian to score 2000 IPL runs, surpassing the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, completing the feat in just 60 innings’. His 132-run blitz is also the highest score by an Indian in the IPL. Moreover, this was his first century in the IPL after being appointed as the captain.
On a day when the stage was perfectly set up for an exciting chase by the master himself, he fails, not only with the bat but also on the field dropping two game-changing catches. This was a huge setback for the team as well as for him. But we can never keep a man of his quality out of the game for too long. He is a champion batsman who will surely hit back, hopefully before it’s not too late.