IPL 2022: Why Ashwin batted at No 3? How Gujarat's batting could become stronger? Burning questions from RR vs GT clash

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IPL 2022: Why Ashwin batted at No 3? How Gujarat's batting could become stronger? Burning questions from RR vs GT clash
© Provided by Firstpost IPL 2022: Why Ashwin batted at No 3? How Gujarat’s batting could become stronger? Burning questions from RR vs GT clash

Rajasthan Royals went down in a run chase of 193 as Gujarat Titans returned to winning ways at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Mumbai on Thursday. In a game that saw some very interesting tactical plots, we raise a few burning questions and analyse the moves made by Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Why Rajasthan Royals need to use Prasidh Krishna differently?

Prasidh Krishna has had an interesting IPL 2022 so far. He has taken four wickets in the tournament, with each of them coming in the powerplay overs where he’s bowled two overs on an average every game. What’s been impressive is that Krishna has leaked runs at an economy rate of just 4.73 in 11 overs in the powerplay this year. Among bowlers to bowl at least 10 overs in the powerplay this year, that’s the best economy rate.

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The story changes dramatically post the powerplay. In the middle and death overs, Krishna has not taken any wickets, but more worryingly has conceded runs at a rate of 12.23, the second-worst for any bowler to bowl at least 50 balls in overs 7 to 20. With his death bowling returns hardly useful, Rajasthan Royals need to be smart and deploy Krishna in the powerplay overs and try and use him as the enforcer in the middle overs, a phase where he did reasonably well for Kolkata Knight Riders last year, taking seven wickets, the fifth-best for any seamer in that phase in 2021.

Why Obed McCoy, and not James Neesham, should have replaced injured Trent Boult for RR?

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Rajasthan Royals were dealt a massive blow pre-game when they lost Trent Boult to an injury. Rajasthan’s bowling plans revolve around Boult, with the seamer used upfront and in the death overs. Rajasthan chose to go with James Neesham as his replacement, a move that would give them batting depth as well as an extra bowling option. But it backfired in the bowling innings itself with Neesham conceding 12 runs after taking the new ball and finishing on 29 runs in three overs with the additional over needed from Riyan Parag who also went for 12 runs.

Instead, Rajasthan could have chosen to play Obed McCoy, the West Indian seamer who had a terrific series against South Africa and Australia recently, excelling in the death overs with his remarkable variations, particularly the slower balls, which could have been handy on a bigger ground like that of DY Patil. McCoy has an economy rate of just 8.06 in the death overs in all T20s since 2021, taking 10 wickets at an average of 12.90.

Why a batting swap between Abhinav Manohar and Hardik Pandya could make Gujarat Titans stronger?

Hardik Pandya walked in inside the powerplay overs and finished off the innings with a splendid 87* in just 52 balls and Abhinav Manohar gave him good company with 43 in 28 balls. But at some point in time, Gujarat Titans will wonder how sustainable it is to have Hardik walk in that early in an innings, especially given that their lower middle-order isn’t the strongest.

In two of the five games so far, Hardik has had to come in within the first six overs and the plan has worked. All’s well with that, but if he doesn’t, Gujarat might be in for a horror batting show. To mitigate the risk, Gujarat could use Manohar ahead of Hardik when early wickets fall. The domestic Indian batter has shown good composure in the middle and is a good player of pace and spin. This would leave Hardik to handle the middle and death overs where he’s most effective.

Why RR bring promoted R Ashwin to No 3 batting spot and was it a good move?

Rajasthan Royals pulled another bunny out of the hat on Thursday night when they pushed Ravichandran Ashwin to No 3 in the batting line-up. While social media hilariously concluded it was another wild ploy from the Rajasthan Royals social media team to gain attention by clubbing Ashwin with Jos Buttler in the middle, there’s logical reasoning behind the move that’s worth pointing out.

Buttler had taken off against Mohammed Shami and Yash Dayal inside the first two overs before Devdutt Padikkal even faced a ball. When Padikkal was dismissed first ball, RR figured that Gujarat would want to tackle Buttler head-on and would probably bowl Rashid Khan inside the powerplay overs. Buttler had been dismissed four times in just 28 balls by Rashid in the IPL prior to this game. It was imperative that RR shielded the England opener from the Afghanistan spinner.

They sought to do it in a way where they wouldn’t be hurt too much even if Rashid dismissed the shield. The best bet here was to not use one of the major batters at No 3. Instead, they wanted to use a reasonably good defensive batter, whose value down the order isn’t very high. Ashwin fit the bill perfectly and the plan went to the T with him saving Buttler from facing Rashid for four deliveries. Off one of the two balls Rashid bowled in that over to Buttler, he nearly trapped the RR batter in front.

How Jos Buttler is scoring at a good rate despite taking minimum risk?

Jos Buttler has made scores of 35, 100, 70*, 13, and 54 in the five matches so far, comfortably sitting at the top of the batting charts. With Rajasthan Royals lacking batting depth, Buttler’s mantra this season has been to look to bat into the middle and death overs by taking minimal risks, yet keeping the scoring rate good enough.

He’s done that with some clever batting, inevitably targeting the most inexperienced or weakest bowler in the opposition camp. In the opening game of RR’s season against Sunrisers Hyderabad, it was Umran Malik, who went for 20 runs off 8 balls against Buttler. Against the rest, Buttler made just 15 runs in 20 balls.

In his hundred against Mumbai Indians, Buttler went after Basil Thampi and Kieron Pollard, scoring 26 off six balls against Thampi and 16 in 10 against Pollard. Against Jasprit Bumrah, Buttler made just 11 off 15 balls, and against Tymal Mills, nine runs off 11 balls.

In the subsequent matches, against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Titans last night, it was Akash Deep (29 runs off 12 balls) and Yash Dayal (33 runs in 11 balls) who bore the brunt of Buttler’s fury.

With his well-thought-out approach, Buttler has scored big and quick by taking fewer risks against the more threatening bowlers and targeting the weak links.

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