The thirteenth match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians, could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the thirteenth game of IPL 2020 – KXIP vs MI.
It is well known that Rohit Sharma’s batting stocks have taken a hit in the past few IPL seasons. In IPL 2020 so far, he has played one big knock in three matches – against KKR. Thus, he has not ‘failed’ so far. However, against Kings XI Punjab, he will have to overcome quite a few obstacles.
Since 2015 against KXIP, Rohit averages 15.43 and has a strike rate of 110. His record against KXIP in comparison to different teams is pale: second-worst average and worst strike-rate.
However, having a bad record against a particular team doesn’t mean anything if the current set of bowlers can’t trouble the batsmen. Well, KXIP bowlers can!
Rohit’s issues against quality left-arm pacers, especially while facing the new-ball, are quite known. Even though he has worked on it, he is still not very secure against them. A powerplay specialist – capable of moving the ball – can trouble him, or most of the batsmen in the world for that matter.
More often than not, awaiting for an inswinger, Rohit always looks to play safely at the beginning of the innings. This also helps a bowler to go in the aggressive mode and play with his mind. By bowling deliveries angling away from his body, and, then a few inswingers, a sense of doubt can always be instilled in his head.
So, Sheldon Cottrell is a good match-up for Rohit. Since 2017 in the IPL, Rohit averages under 20 and has a strike rate of about 115 against left-arm pacers in the powerplay. The sample size (34 balls) is not very large but if anything it does highlight his issues against such bowling.
In IPL 2020, Cottrell averages around 17 and has a strike rate of 14 in the powerplay. He has bowled 32 of his 42 balls on the good-length and short-length. Whilst short of the length is unlikely to work against Rohit, bowling in off-stump and outside off-stump line on the good-length should work for him. Out of 18 good-length balls in the powerplay, 12 have been in the outside off-stump line. Whilst he is yet to pick up a wicket that way, his economy of 5 is impressive.
However, he should avoid giving any kind of width or bowling on the leg-stump to Rohit. On the balls in outside off-stump line, Cottrell’s economy is 3.60 off 20 balls. When Cottrell bowls inswingers, outswingers, nip-backers or the deliveries that nip away in IPL 2020, his economy is 1.67.
Cottrell’s head to head records against Rohit are in the former’s favour – at least in containing the runs. Of course, Rohit is a slow-starter, but against Cottrell, he has hardly found it easy – except for in a T20I at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in 2019.
SHELDON COTTRELL vs ROHIT SHARMA IN THE POWERPLAY:
Format Runs Balls Dots SR
ODI 40 64 46 62.5
T20I 55 46 27 119.5
*ODI: overs 1-10 and T20Is: overs 1-6
Whilst Cottrell has not picked up Rohit’s wicket in this phase, Cottrell is capable of prizing out his wicket. In T20 cricket, Rohit can not take time as he does in ODIs, thus, he will have to keep the acceleration in his mind. Whilst aggressive bowling is the better option, Cottrell could force Rohit to make an error – either against him or against other bowlers – by containing the flow of runs.
KXIP vs MI – THE LEG-SPIN THREAT:
KXIP have two leg-spinners: Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi.
As mentioned in this game plan, Rohit has issues against leg-spinners. In the non-death-overs (1-16) since 2017, he averages 14 and has a strike rate of under 110 against leg-spinners in the IPL. His average against the leg-spinners – 14 – is the lowest for him against any bowling type (minimum 25 balls faced).
Both KXIP leg-spinners – Bishnoi & Ashwin – bowl a lot of googlies which could trap Rohit. Rohit doesn’t read googlies well, and, thus, the leg-spin duo – especially Bishnoi – can trap him. Bishnoi’s average speed, on the legal balls, in the IPL so far is 89 km/h (three balls have not been recorded). Quick wrist-bowling is always tough to play, and, thus, it will be quite a big challenge for the ‘Hitman’.
However, KXIP should not use the leg-spinners in the powerplay; they are better suited for the middle-overs. Hence, even if Rohit escapes the powerplay threat, his work doesn’t get easier in the middle overs as well.
KXIP vs MI: SHOULD KXIP BRING IN MUJEEB?
Mumbai Indians have quite a few lefties in their expected XI: Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya. Bowling against left-handers is his strength. His away-turners for southpaws are quite sharp. And, the same delivery – in-turner for Rohit – is also quite useful. However, Mujeeb is not a classical off-spinner, he falls under the ‘mystery spinner’ category.
Rohit’s numbers against off-spinners in the powerplay are quite bad. Against off-spinners in the powerplay, Rohit averages mere 10 and has a strike rate of about 74 in the IPL since 2017. And, Mujeeb is a very good bowler in the powerplay. In the powerplay, Mujeeb has an impressive economy of about 7. Thus, if Mujeeb bowls well, MI could be in
To bring in Mujeeb, dropping Jimmy Neesham may pay-off.
Besides these issues, Mohammed Shami can also be useful against Rohit. However, it would depend on the deck. A Shami-esque bowler doesn’t pose a big challenge for Rohit in standard T20 conditions. Shami, who has improved in this format, relies on extracting the ball off the pitch in the powerplay. Thus, if Shami gets that movement off the deck, he can succeed against Rohit by hitting on the good-length.
KXIP’s bowling in the death-overs is quite ordinary. Thus, they should try to be aggressive in the other two phases. With aggressive options like Shami & Cottrell in the powerplay and Ashwin & Bishnoi in the middle-overs, KXIP can do well in these two aspects depending on their execution.