The thirty-sixth match of the IPL 2020 tournament between the blockbuster teams – MI vs KXIP -, could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the thirty-sixth game of IPL 2020.
In his first game this season, Chris Gayle had a pretty good time despite having plenty of match-ups against him. Now, since, Gayle looks in good touch, KXIP would feel good. However, it will be interesting to see his batting position. Gayle batted at No. 3 in the last game, so KXIP might consider to maintain LHB-RHB combo at the top of the order and separate him from Nicholas Pooran, the other southpaw, in the middle-order.
Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul have been among runs this season, however, they have not been great against spinners outside Sharjah.
Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya, the MI spin duo, have done a decent job in containing the runs. Thus, this is where KXIP will bank on Gayle and Pooran – to take on the spinners. Gayle and Pooran are among the better hitters of spin bowling and the MI spinners only favour them.
Skill-wise, Mayank and KL are not below-par, however, their returns have not been very promising. The issue with Rahul is his intent. The intent has been an issue with Rahul since 2019. His strike rate against leg-spinners and left-arm orthodox spinners was above 157 in 2018. Since 2019, the strike rate against leg-spinners has fallen to about 110 while against SLA, 90.
Mayank, since 2019, stikes over 160 against SLA and leg-spinners. However, this season returns against spinners in non-Sharjah grounds are not very great. This could also be due to the low sample size of 35 balls.
However, KXIP does have better resources in the form of Gayle and Pooran who are quite dangerous against such bowlers.
Against left-handed batsmen this season, Rahul Chahar has an economy of about 7 while Krunal goes at about 10. Thus, Chahar is the better bet. Chahar should bowl googlies on the good-length to southpaws; not in their arc. He can also mix it up with stock leg-breaks, Bowling 30 googlies against lefties, he has picked up one wicket and his economy is of about 7. Bowling 24 leg-breaks vs LHBs, he is yet to pick up a wicket, however, his economy is of about 5.
MI has been mostly shrewd in using their bowlers. Thus, if Gayle and/or Pooran look dangerous, they should bring in Jasprit Bumrah and Nathan Coulter-Nile for a few overs to shut them down. Both pacers can hit hard lengths and have good bouncers. Both KXIP southpaws, especially Pooran are not very comfortable against such bowling.
Bumrah has dominated Gayle in the past. Since 2014 in T20s, Gayle scored 13 runs off 30 balls against Bumrah and got dismissed once, facing 18 dot balls. Against Coulter-Nile, Gayle has scored 20 off 22 and got out once, facing 14 balls.
Mumbai Indians can also think to bring in Jayant Yadav in their bowling attack to add variety.