The thirteenth match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians, could all be about match-ups. We take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the thirteenth game of IPL 2020 – KXIP vs MI.
KXIP vs MI – The Rahul run-machine
Since his first stint with Kings XI Punjab, KL Rahul has just amassed runs for fun. However, the best of Rahul comes against Mumbai Indians. In four innings against MI since 2018, he has crossed the 50-run mark on three instances. His average (144.5) against MI is the best for him – opponent-wise – and he has an excellent strike rate as well.
So, Mumbai Indians would be worried about Rahul. They need to get him out early in the innings. However, this is not very easy. The current version of Rahul plays safely; he doesn’t take risks. With an aim to bat deep in the innings, Rahul goes aggressive in the death overs.
KXIP vs MI: PACE IN THE POWERPLAY
In the powerplay since 2019 against pacers, KL Rahul compromises the scoring rate. His strike rate against pacers in the powerplay since 2018 is 106.4. Against spinners, it is 252. Even though the sample size is small for spinners, it says a lot: the difference between strike rates is too big to ignore.
So, Mumbai Indians’ pacers need to be spot on in the powerplay. In IPL 2020 so far, they have been a great bowling side in the powerplay. Their average 23.75 – is the third-best – and economy – 6.37 – is the second-best in the league.
However, they need to do better with their lengths. In IPL 2020, the percentage of good-length balls bowled by their pacers is the least – by some distance – so far. Bowling on the good-length in the right lines is very important in the powerplay.
Trent Boult has been their best bowling in this aspect, bowling 52.38% of his balls on the good-length. The other two pacers – Jasprit Bumrah and James Pattinson – have bowled just 26% of their balls on the good-length. Boult could also trouble Rahul if he gets swings in the air. Rahul’s strike rate against left-arm pacers in the powerplay since 2019 is under 2019. Again, a low sample size (29 balls), and he is yet to be dismissed, however, he has found it hard to get going.
In IPL 2020 so far, Rahul’s strike rate on the good-length balls against pacers in the powerplay is 82. While facing 28 such balls, he has played six false shots (excluding misses). So, MI bowlers should target the good-lengths. Needless to say, the line should be in the off-stump or outside off-stump.
Bowling on the full-length is a bit risky. While full-length balls from pacers in the powerplay are expected to take edges, Rahul has scored 27 runs off such 7 balls.
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For Bumrah and Pattinson, apart from trying this plan, the other could be bowling hard-lengths in off-stump and outside off-stump line. Rahul is susceptible to such bowling and both bowlers are skilled enough to execute those plans.
Rahul is a good puller in general, however, bowling short-length balls in the outside off-stump line at a high pace could be useful. Against such 12 balls, his strike rate is 66.7 and has also played one false shot (excluding misses).
KXIP vs MI: SPIN IN THE MIDDLE-OVERS
KL Rahul is a good player of spin bowling. It is not easy to get him out unless he attacks. The spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar can contain KL Rahul in the middle-overs. Against leg-spinners and left-arm orthodox spinners in the middle-overs since 2019, Rahul has a strike rate of 107.
Rahul Chahar has not set the stage on fire in the IPL 2020. However, he has got skills. Chahar should bowl on the good-length and avoid giving him any kind of width or bowling on the leg-stump line. Bowling on the good-length, his economy is 6.56. However, bowling full-length and short-length balls, his economy goes over 11. Thus, it is better to stick to good-length balls.
The X-factor of Chahar is his pace; his average speed in the IPL 2020 is 91 km/h. It is quite tough to play that. However, Chahar relies a lot on his stock leg-break and a very little on other variations – googlies and slider balls. In this edition so far, he has bowled just 11 googlies. Despite having good returns on those balls (1 wicket and 4.36 economy), he has not bowled them enough.
A variation should be used as a variation, however, Chahar should consider increasing the number of googly balls. If he can mix it up with googlies, KL is not going to find it easy.
Even though Krunal Pandya’s recent returns are not very great, he might have a good game against an RHB-heavy line-up. Krunal too should avoid bowling on full or short of the length. Bowling full or short of the length balls is not entirely bad, it’s just that the number of balls should not be a lot.