The 54th match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals, could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the 54th game of IPL 2020 – KKR vs RR.
NOTE: Stats are updated till 30 October (Match No. 50: KXIP vs RR)
KKR vs RR: Rajasthan to go short?
Whilst KKR have a chance to reach playoffs this season, it isn’t going to be easy for them to defeat Rajashtan Royals who have won three out of their last four matches. KKR haven’t played well enough this season, they know it, and it might be too late to ponder on those things.
One of the main reasons why KKR have not looked enough is poor batting performances. The top-7 batsmen of KKR have the lowest average (22.54) and strike rate (125.21) in the league so far. Add to that, they have messed up with batting roles of Dinesh Karthik and Rahul Tripathi. Andre Russell, the big man, has missed a few games. Pat Cummins has been their No. 7 in many matches.
KKR have been among the worst sides against short balls and bouncers by pacers. Bowling teams have bowled the highest number of short balls and bouncers against them, KKR batsmen have lost most wickets, they average the least and have the highest false shot percentage. When KKR batsmen don’t get the room – the ball isn’t in the wide-outside-off-stump line – their issues enhance.
KKR have quite a few batsmen susceptible to such bowling. Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell aren’t very comfortable against short balls and bouncers when they are cramped for the room. The sample size might not be enough, but, if you have watched them enough, you’d be aware of their issues.
The work of Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi against high-quality express pace is in progress.
Despite Shubman Gill not being a finished product yet, he has been head and shoulders above of others. However, he should avoid playing the short balls on the front-foot. Both of his dismissals against the mentioned bowling have come when Gill has played on the front foot. However, his scoring rate (RPO) while playing on the back foot is of just 3.86 RPO.
RR have three pacers capable of operating in high speeds – Jofra Archer, Kartik Tyagi and Varun Aaron. Whilst Archer is class apart, Tyagi is still raw and Varun’s execution is an issue at times.
Archer has been outstanding while Tyagi hasn’t been up to mark. The issue with Kartik has been his line and pace. 36 out of his short balls and bouncers have been in the wide-outside-off-stump line, which have conceded runs at 10 RPO.
He has also bowled 20 such balls in the outside-leg-stump line which have yielded runs at 12.30 RPO. It isn’t a bad plan vs right-handed batsmen, however, Kartik has bowled all the balls against left-handed batsmen from over the wicket. Thus, it is a really bad strategy from the youngster; the line should be in the stumps.
Another issue with Kartik is his pace. Of the recorded deliveries, just about 25% of his short balls or bouncers have been of over 140 kph or quicker. Whilst the sample size of 20 balls is quite small, his economy on those balls is under 7. The percentage of such express pace deliveries for Archer has been 66.67%.
Sure, Kartik is quite raw and Archer is a world-class bowler, but Kartik can do better. He should either bowl the short balls and bouncers at a quicker pace or he can reduce the number of such deliveries.
Varun Aaron too, if he gets his execution right, can do some significant damage.
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KKR could promote Rahul Tripathi to open the innings. Tripathi is also not very secure against such bowling, as already mentioned, however, he does have the ability to score boundaries in the powerplay. Also, he is comparatively better than Rana against pace.
The other (risky) option is to promote Pat Cummins if there is such an opportunity. Cummins has a stable base against pacers and can hit the ball quite well. However, the instructions should be clear.
Dinesh Karthik should be saved for the late finishing touch, a role which suits him well. Archer has gone for runs in the death overs and Karthik could make the most of the opportunity.