Today at IPL 2021, it is the Royal Challengers Bangalore of Virat Kohli who face the Chennai Super Kings of MS Dhoni. Buckle up!
You can find bullet-by-bullet commentary here in English and here in Hindi. If you are in the US, you can watch today’s Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad game on ESPN +, in English and Hindi.
CSK 2, RCB 0
With 11 balls to spare, CSK finishes the chase, making it easier than it maybe was. Their depth allows them to always attack when they are in a bind. They are now at the top of the table again and a top-two spot moves further and further away from RCB, who are now 10 points in nine games. Always favorites for the playoffs, but after the start they had, they would have liked to finish in the top two. It all comes from us today. RCB has these middlemen to beat when they’ve gone from 90 for 0 out of 10 to 156 for 6 out of 20. Thanks for joining us.
No tight finishes
Close your eyes. Think CSK loses two quick wickets in a chase. What happens next? Consolidation, deepening of the game etc. This season has been different. CSK came out and built a team that has enough depth to cover the wickets lost in the counterattack. So, on a slow-step assist rotation, with three spinners in opposition, the right-left combination of Rayudu and Moeen attacked the spinners. Rayudu dismantled the false spinner; in fact, he hit the first ball he faced for four. Moeen hit two sixes on the leg spinner. No nervous finale. CSK 112 for 2 of 13 overs, need 45 of the last seven.
Spin to win?
And just like that, we’re looking at a different game outside of Powerplay. Gaikwad started with a superb Kohli catch off Chahal, du Pless took over a sweep from Maxwell, brought in for left batsman Moeen. Twenty-two for two in 19 balls from Powerplay. CSK needs 86 out of 65 balls.
Great start for CSK
They ran 59-0 in six overs, four more than RCB did in theirs. What else? CSK know they only need 157 points as RCB beat to score 200.
Another interesting event during the Powerplay: Referee Anil Chaudhary called a no-ball on the field. Earlier in the game, too, they checked for no-ball on a few wicket balls. My educated guess is that the storm may have put an end to the technology that gives the third referee instant replays?
The three 6s of the devil for RCB
The last 10 overs brought RCB 66 for 6 after 90 for 0 in the top 10. CSK got the conditions right, changing their pace and playing tough lengths, but how much pressure did the RCB hitters take from their openers? Kohli faced 41 balls for a hit rate of less than 130, and Padikkal got 50 balls for 140. Everyone who called was under pressure to hit big on the first ball. Then again, we don’t know the conditions as well as these two. Maybe it was a little too slow? Maybe the dew will change all that?
Thakur takes two in two
But there might be some hope for RCB that the going is slow. One of those wickets, however, is huge. AB de Villiers. Left for just 12 of 11. Next is Devdutt Paddikal, caught short of third man climbing a slower bouncer, for 70 of 50. Thakur won’t get a hat ball as his spell is over: 4-0-29- 2. The pitch may be slow, but RCB cannot afford to crumble. A target of ~ 160 can take pitch out of the equation. It is also likely that there is dew.
RCB 150 for 3 in 18 overs thanks to Glenn Maxwell’s six off Dwayne Bravo.
Perfect Kohli sleeves
For the opposition, it is. There is one runner left that it could be a slow throw but other than that CSK will be happy with Kohli’s effort: 41 balls (one third of innings) faced for a hit rate of less than 130 and does not enter the phase where it can be fatal and compensate for this strike rate. Gone for 53 of 41. Also perfect field placement: Jadeja long-on is almost Cow’s Corner, a particularly prolific area for Kohli.
RCB is hoping that Kohli substitute hitter AB de Villiers can still do what Kohli does to the death: hit close to 200.
No slower or RCB blocked
After scoring 55-0 in the top six, they only scored 54 in the next six without losing a wicket. Is the pitch slower than we would expect for a typical Sharjah pitch? Or is RCB under-targeting? Jadeja’s weird ball grabbed hold of here, so don’t rush to criticize RCB’s intention. RCB 109 for 0 after 12 overs.
RCB took 55 for 0 in the Powerplay without spinning. One refreshing thing to see was the amount of risk Kohli took to hit the first limits, and he managed to hit five balls in 21. This is his fifth-best Powerplay, Ask Cricinfo tells us. Hazlewood was the bowlers’ choice, playing that tough length and getting some extra rebound from maybe the wetland Dhoni referred to. He played half the overs in Powerplay for 40% of the points.
A deal for Jadeja to play early?
We know Dhoni isn’t great at a match-up, but Ask Cricinfo tells you that Kohli’s record against the spin inside Powerplay isn’t great. Hit rate below 100. It might have been enough for some captains to replace Josh Hazlewood with Imran Tahir’s, especially since Kolhi’s legpin has been bothering him lately. As it stands, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali are the two spinners of Dhoni’s sacking, but he won’t give Kohli a counter-thread, will he? He might not give him Jadeja either, but it might be worth a try.
RCB 18 for 0 on two occasions.
Who is Tim David?
While waiting for the start, here are some suggested reading on the RCB beginner. First of all, Umar Farooq tells you who he is
When did he return to Singapore? David was still eligible to play for Singapore, as the country of his birth. And then a combination of factors convinced him to come back.
As he explained to ESPNcricinfo, after playing for the Scorchers in 2018 and then getting a 2018-19 rookie deal with Western Australia, David tried to continue playing in Australia. But after Western Australia struck him off the list in April 2019 and the Scorchers did not offer him a contract, David returned to Singapore.
His international career began soon after, with the 2019 T20 World Cup qualifiers.
As such, David had never played cricket in Singapore, having left the country with his family as a child. The connection to the country had remained, however, as the Davids visited Singapore more than once for their vacation.
And then there’s Alex Malcolm on his CPL
“He’s not scared,” Griffith told ESPNcricinfo. “I was watching the Caribbean Premier League the other day. The second ball he faced in the competition, he hit someone over the blanket for six.
“He looks at the ball really hard. He doesn’t look up when he hits it because he knows he has the power to do what he needs to do. I think that’s a big part of his success. And it starts to have a And once people start to build a reputation the bowlers start to tighten up a bit and that is part of that as well.
“I hope he learns a lot. He can watch AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli beat in practice and how they prepare and our whole batting group, Glenn Maxwell as well.”
CSK will hunt
We finally got the draw 30 minutes after the scheduled time because of the storm. A big blow to gain because Dhoni says that there are “wetlands” on the ground. The delay should have given him time to dry. And they will dry out. So the first overs could be hard to beat if the bowlers hit the long lengths.
CSK is unchanged, but RCB has made two changes: Navdeep Saini for Sachin Baby, and Tim David, a man of both names playing his first IPL match, for Kyle Jamieson. That’s what you get by firing your captain over and over in testing.
The match starts in 15:15 local time and 19:45 Indian time. So 15 minutes, and no overs, wasted.
Royal Challengers Bangalore D Padikkal, V Kohli (captain), 3 KS Bharat (week), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 PWH de Silva, 7 TH David, 8 NA Saini, 9 HV Patel, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 YS Chahal
Chennai Super Kings team 1 RD Gaikwad, 2 F du Plessis, 3 MM Ali, 4 AT Rayudu, 5 SK Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt. & Wk), 7 RA Jadeja, 8 DJ Bravo, 9 SN Thakur, 10 DL Chahar, 11 JR Hazlewood
Captain vs mentor
This is the game you have all been waiting for. The captain and mentor of the World Cup’s most followed team face off in the tournament that matters, the IPL. The game is so big that it resulted in a huge storm. And you know what those desert storms are like. The draw has been delayed for 10 minutes so you can search “Sachin + Tendulkar + Desert + Storm” on YouTube.
Sidharth Monga is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo