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IPL 2020: KKR vs KXIP Game Plan 1 – How Can Dinesh Karthik Regain Some Form?

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KKR vs KXIP – The forty-sixth match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, could all be about match-ups and Dinesh Karthik could be a key figure. We take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the forty-sixth game of IPL 2020 – KKR vs KXIP.

KKR vs KXIP Game Plan – Can Dinesh Karthik come good against the odds?

30, 0, 1, 6, 12, 58, 1, 4, 29, 4, 3. Eleven innings, 148 runs. These are the returns of former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik in IPL 2020. He has had a really bad tournament, be it batting-wise or captaincy-wise.

Of 32 players to have batted 10 times this IPL, Dinesh Karthik has the second lowest average, only behind Glenn Maxwell. Also, he has played a false stroke to 27.3% of the balls he has faced, the highest of all batsmen to have 80 balls.

KKR vs KXIP – Play Dinesh Karthik down the order!

He has struggled to score runs, and his performance has hindered the team. One reason for his woes could be his batting position, or rather his point of entry to the crease. Over the last two seasons, Dinesh Karthik molded himself into a finisher – coming in late in the innings and taking the onus upon himself to provide the late boost and add valuable runs to the total, or to chip in vital runs quickly in a chase.

This season the Kolkata management seem to have given him a different role that he hasn’t managed to adjust to – the role of an accumulator, someone who comes in early in the innings and builds an innings that others bat around. Experienced as he may be, Karthik just hasn’t been able to make the switch to batting up the order.

If we consider Dinesh Karthik’s batting numbers based on the over he faces his first delivery, we can observe a staggering difference in returns. Splitting an innings into two parts – the 1-10 over phase and the 11-20 over phase – it becomes easier to compare the numbers.

Since 2018, Karthik has come to bat in the first 10 overs 19 times, and has an average of 27.69 and scores at 7.5 runs per over. In the 20 innings he batted in the latter phase, he returns 38 runs per wicket and scores at 9.95 RPO, both metrics see a considerable rise.

 

He is best used in the second 10-over phase, and the KKR management should attempt to send him after that mark when possible. If early wickets fall, as has been the norm for KKR this year, captain Eoin Morgan can promote himself up the order and bat at 4. He is accustomed to batting there in England colors after all.

More pace, less spin!

Dinesh Karthik’s career average against legbreak until this season was 38.2. He scored at a decent clip as well – 7.33 runs an over. However, this season has seen a drastic fall in those numbers. In 7 innings he has faced legbreak bowling, he has been dismissed by it 5 times, and scored at a very slow rate.

Karthik vs legbreak – 7 inns | 14 runs | 5 dismissals | 4.67 RPO

The bowlers to have dismissed him are Rashid Khan, Rahul Chahar (twice) and Yuzvendra Chahal (twice). Against a Kings XI unit that seems to be unstoppable at the moment, he will run into Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin. He has struggled to pick the variations of wrist-spinners so far. Of his five dismissals, 2 have come to the googly, 2 to the legbreak, and 1 to the slider.

 

The easiest way for Karthik to make some runs is to simply limit the balls of spin he faces. Here is another advantage of batting lower down the order, less and less spin is bowled in the last few overs. The later DK comes to bat, the fewer balls of spin he faces and the lesser chances of him being dismissed by it. On the other hand if he plays up the order again, he will be subject to the barrage of spin KXIP throw during the middle overs. In fact, spinners have bowled 71.8% of KXIP’s middle over quota, the highest of any team this year.

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Simply put, demoting Dinesh Karthik allows him to avoid facing too much spin and allows him to play freely without a cluttered mind. It could be beneficial for both him and KKR, and finally get the finishing acts they have been used to.