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CPL 2020 – Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders (JAM vs TKR) Game Plan: Stopping Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell

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The CPL 2020 has sparked some interesting T20 match-ups. Here, we take a look at the key game plans and tactical thinking that could play a role in the Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders (JAM vs TKR) game in CPL 2020. 

CPL 2020 Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders (JAM vs TKR) Game Plan 1

Cutting down Kieron Pollard’s arc

Such has been Kieron Pollard’s form with the bat that Trinbago Knight Riders have cruised in the death overs as he targets some mediocre death bowling. Pollard has timed his entry into the wicket pretty well, giving himself enough time to settle down and take on the bowlers in the final five overs.

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Pollard’s efficiency is reflected in his mind-blowing stats against each bowler type this CPL season. He has taken on everyone from pacers to spinners and even thrived against spinners who turn the ball away from him.

While Pollard’s dismissals in T20s give the idea that he is vulnerable to leg-spin, this CPL, he has blasted them for 61 runs in 29 balls, primarily taking on Hayden Walsh Jnr in that outrageous win over Barbados Tridents.

 

That said, a closer look shows how Pollard hasn’t been at his best against proper fast bowlers who hit the deck. An interesting stat about Pollard this season is that he has scored a lot of sixes in the ‘V’ rather than square of the wicket. 16 of Pollard’s 20 sixes this season have come in the ‘V’ and this is primarily because pace bowlers have tried to go for yorkers or slower full balls and spinners tease him by tossing it up against Pollard.

He hasn’t been properly tested with pace and bounce and Jamaica Tallawahs have two such bowlers capable of stifling him with steep bounce in Andre Russell (who has dismissed him four times in T20s, but isn’t fully fit to bowl now) and Oshane Thomas.

 

Giving Pollard less of spin and more of pace and bounce could be one way of keeping him silent or frustrating him into a false stroke.

CPL 2020 Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders (JAM vs TKR) Game Plan 2

Can you actually bowl spin to Russell?

Let’s break it down quickly for you. Russell thumps fast bowling like no other batsman in T20 cricketer. He has maintained that in this CPL despite teams consistently testing him with pace. The only other option the CPL teams have tried against Russell is leg-spin. But he has carted the right-arm wrist spinners ruthlessly, murdering them for 65 runs in 39 balls this season.

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The right-arm pacers have bowled more than 50% of the balls Russell has faced this season and scored at a frenetic of 9.72, his best against any type of bowling this CPL season. Surprisingly, despite the overdose of left-arm spinners in CPL teams, Russell has barely been tested against them, although teams have happily thrown leg-spinners at him.

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The Knight Riders have a handful of left-arm spin options in Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre, but neither are experienced enough and the move could backfire. In Pravin Tambe and Fawad Ahmed, they have two leg-spinners too and while Russell has smashed leggiest this season, it might be worth tempting him into slogs by bowling wide outside off-stump, a tactic often used by Yuzvendra Chahal against big-hitters.

Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders

Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders (JAM vs TKR) Game Plan 2

The other option is the obvious one in Sunil Narine. The mystery spinner has had success against Russell in the past and is adept at bowling in the middle and death overs too. It might be worth saving Narine’s overs alongside Pierre’s or Hosein’s to tackle Russell by denying him pace on the ball. That said, Russell has dominated the recent battles against Narine, scoring at 169.44 in T20s since 2018 without losing his wicket to Narine. He has also hit a boundary off Narine once every four balls in this period.