IPL 2022: Is Hooda the new crisis man? Can this be the year of Indian domestic talent? Burning questions from GT vs LSG clash

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IPL 2022: Is Hooda the new crisis man? Can this be the year of Indian domestic talent? Burning questions from GT vs LSG clash
© Provided by Firstpost IPL 2022: Is Hooda the new crisis man? Can this be the year of Indian domestic talent? Burning questions from GT vs LSG clash

Another day, another exciting run chase in the Indian Premier League 2022. Blame the dew or the tactical calls, but we have had some exciting run chases already in the tournament. On Monday, we witnessed another as Gujarat Titans roared to a win against Lucknow Super Giants in the battle of the newbies.

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Here are five burning questions that flared up from the clash:

Is Deepak Hooda the new crisis man in town?

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He did it in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season for Rajasthan recently, walking in at scores of 10/2, 18/2 and 4/2 and making 75* (39), 70* (36) and 75 (47). On Monday, the crisis was deeper. At 29/4, Lucknow Super Giants looked down and out until Hooda came in and built a strong stand with youngster Ayush Badoni.

While the feature of the partnership was how Hooda consistently used the sweep shot to counter Rashid Khan, he was careful in targeting the right bowlers. Against Rashid Khan and Lockie Ferguson, Hooda made 16 off 19 balls at a strike-rate of 84.21, while he scored at a rate of 177 against the other bowlers. Given LSG’s less-than-ideal batting depth, Hooda’s resurrection acts will be most welcome this season.

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Why Mohammed Shami could swing matches with his new ball spells?

It took Mohammed Shami all of one ball to hit the perfect line and length against KL Rahul and dismiss the opener for a golden duck. The feather on the cap in a sizzling new ball spell of 3-0-10-3 was the perfect in-decker to take the one bail off Manish Pandey’s off-stump. Such was Shami’s precision on the day, but it might not just be a one-off with Shami’s powerplay proficiency well documented.

Since 2019, Shami has 17 wickets in the powerplay overs, contributing to more than 40 percent of his overall wickets in IPL in this time frame. It has also come at an economy rate of 6.89. With the wickets across the four venues this IPL likely to encourage seam movement early, Shami’s new ball spells could be a regular feature to watch out for.

The other advantage of Shami taking early wickets is that the opposition middle-order would be exposed to Rashid Khan and Lockie Ferguson, two elite-class T20 bowlers in the middle overs of the innings.

Can this be the year of the Indian domestic talent?

In each of the first four matches of IPL 2022, we saw at least one team not fulfilling the quota of overseas players, by design or by force. That didn’t dent the quality of cricket on the field, though, with the Indian domestic players stepping up to the fore. If it was Ayush Badoni’s calculated innings and Abhinav Manohar’s fearlessness in this game, it was Lalit Yadav showing composure and Tilak Varma exhibiting flair in the game between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals and Sheldon Jackson’s excellent glovework in the opening game of the season.

With two new teams, there are more opportunities for the Indian domestic players and we see young players slotting into key roles in different franchises this year. Anuj Rawat is pencilled in as RCB’s opening partner alongside Faf du Plessis. Raj Angad Bawa was handed a debut by Punjab Kings and will likely be the only left-hander in the middle-order in a full-strength side.

Umran Malik and Abdul Samad were retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad and are certain to start with Abhishek Sharma set to open the innings. Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have domestic talents in key phases —Tilak Varma and Anmolpreet Singh for the middle overs for Mumbai and Tushar Deshpande with the new ball for CSK — while Rajasthan Royals will be banking on Riyan Parag’s death overs skills for the third successive season.

Why using Hardik Pandya early could backfire for Gujarat Titans

“I will mostly be batting at 4…need to bring that experience in the batting order,” Hardik Pandya quipped at the post-match presentation ceremony, something that’s also in line with what Gujarat Titans head coach Ashish Nehra told ESPNCricinfo.

“Based on the situation or some condition, you might also see him bat at No.3,” Nehra said of Hardik’s likely role in the batting line-up.

Hardik’s reputation in the IPL is built on his excellence in the middle and death overs where his strike-rates before this season stood at 126.04 and 176.24. A terrific player of spin bowling, Hardik has struggled against quicks bowling short to him in the last couple of seasons and the runs have dried up as a result.

In this Gujarat Titans line-up, pushing Hardik up the order would expose the likes of David Miller and Rahul Tewatia to spin. While Miller’s weakness against spin is well documented, Tewatia too prefers pace to spin (a strike-rate of 139.58 against pace and 90.8 against spin before 2022).

Hardik is clearly the spin hitter Gujarat need in the second half of the innings, a stage where he can handle the late half of the middle overs, where spinners stifle opposition, and then bat on until the death overs where he is truly capable of going big against a majority of the pacers.

On Monday, post Hardik’s wicket, Miller and Tewatia made 19 off 29 balls against Hooda and Ravi Bishnoi until one over too many from Hooda against the duo cost Lucknow the game. Using Hardik as early as they did today could backfire in similar ways for Gujarat, especially against teams with better bowling attacks.

Why did Lucknow go to Hooda’s off spin over Chameera late in the innings?

Hooda had bowled two overs for nine runs when KL Rahul decided to gamble with one extra over from the off-spinner to the two left-handers. It was a call that also favoured match-up data. David Miller’s strike-rate against off-spinners in IPL before today was 100.5 with nine dismissals and an average of 22.0. Tewatia’s strike-rate against off break bowlers stand at 80.36.

Given Hooda’s success in the first two overs, Rahul persisted with him for an extra over, but that also took an extra over off Dushmantha Chameera, who had been mighty impressive with the new ball.

Could Lucknow have used Chameera for an extra over upfront? That would have given the quick, who already had two wickets upfront, a go at Hardik Pandya, whose clear fallacies are against extra pace and bounce.

Even if they missed the opportunity then, using Chameera over Hooda’s part-time off-spin to the two left-handers, irrespective of what match-up numbers suggests, was a no-brainer and it proved to be crucial in swinging the game Gujarat’s way.

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