The 40th match of the IPL 2021 tournament between the blockbuster teams, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals (SRH vs RR), could all be about match-ups. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the 40th game of IPL 2021.
“Temporary fixes don’t last for long,” they say – they are correct. But one would feel that temporary fixes, or no fixes at all, worked for Sunrisers Hyderabad for a bit too long. In IPL seasons from 2014 to 2017, David Warner “carried” SRH’s batting unit, then Kane Williamson in 2018, Warner-Bairstow in 2019, Williamson in 2020 and the 2021 season has been a bit off for them. Jonny Bairstow is no longer with them this season and it has hurt them big time.
Warner was excellent for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL till 2019, his returns dipped slightly in 2020, but the numbers have been appalling this season. Averaging under 25 this season, Warner has a strike rate of 107.73 with a balls-per-boundary of 8.61.
One big issue with Warner since IPL 2020 has been his slow starts. Against pacers in the powerplay since 2020, Warner has a strike rate of 116.34 with a dot-ball percentage of over 45. He finished the powerplay with a strike of under 130 in 16 out of 23 innings in this timeframe. In the first 20 balls of his innings, he has managed a strike rate of just 117.5 with a false shot percentage of 19.6% since 2020.
Another aspect of Warner’s decline is presented by the dip in his strike rate in the overs 7-11. His strike rate was 135+ in every IPL season during 2015-20 but it has fallen to 101.92 this year.
Overall, Warner hasn’t managed to score freely as he used to do earlier. He looks scratchy, struggles to find regular boundaries and keep up the tempo.
SRH vs RR - Where Rajasthan could make or break the game
Warner doesn’t enjoy playing against left-arm pacers and Rajasthan have two of them. Being dismissed five times in 25.5 overs against left-arm pacers in the powerplay in all T20s since 2019, he averages 32.6 with a strike rate of 105.16. Given Sakariya’s ability to move the new ball, he can exploit that vulnerability.
Since the 2016 T20 World Cup David Warner averages 31 against left-arm pace - his lowest average against any bowler-type. Against left-armers with a below average release height (of which Sam Curran is one) he strikes at just 112 & averages only 19. #SRHvsCSK #IPL2020 #CSK #SRH
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) October 13, 2020
Warner has struggled against well-channelled bowling of late. Against pacers on good and short length balls in the off-stump and outside off-stump line since 2020, Warner has faced 121 balls and managed to score at just 104 SR. He has been dismissed just thrice in this case but it is a good way to limit him.
To take his wicket, someone like Kartik Tyagi can tease him with high-end pace bowling from the over-the-wicket angle. Tyagi can hit the back-of-the-length and test Warner with that angle. Mixing up the lengths with full-length balls and bouncers seems a good ploy.
For pace, Warner would hope for no significant movement with the new ball. If the ball doesn’t move enough, he may well enjoy a good outing.
The southpaw has been dismissed as many as five times while facing 39 googlies in the IPL since 2020. But, RR don’t have a quality leg-spinner so, that should help him. However, Tabraiz Shamsi featured in Royals’ last match which might trouble Warner on a slow deck.
Against LHBs this year, the left-arm wrist-spinner has snared 12 wickets at an average of 18.5 with a strike rate of 18.67. Shamsi boasts of an economy of under six with a balls-per-boundary ratio of 10.67 to go with. Warner also doesn’t have a great head-to-head match-up against Shamsi: 34 balls, 37 runs and 1 dismissal.
Mustafizur Rahman’s off-cutters might also do the trick if the ball sticks into the surface a bit.
In short, Rajasthan Royals won’t be an ‘easy’ challenge for Warner. He will have to earn every run unless the pitch is notoriously flat. With no Jonny Bairstow to accompany, SRH are in troubled waters and they would do anything for their stalwart to come good in these times.