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IPL 2020 Eliminator, SRH vs RCB – Stopping ‘Waha’, the Sunrisers openers

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SRH vs RCB – The Eliminator of the IPL 2020 tournament between the teams, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore, could all be about match-ups. We take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the crucial Eliminator fixture of the IPL – SRH vs RCB

SRH vs RCB, Eliminator – The Wriddhiman Saha factor

Sunrisers Hyderabad have benefitted immensely from Saha’s inclusion at the top of the batting order. A previously sedate David Warner seems to have picked up confidence and a lot of it has to do with how Saha’s started off in the powerplay. While Jonny Bairstow made runs at a strike-rate of 117.93 in the powerplay in IPL 2020, Saha has scored at 169.05, the quickest for anyone to face at least 25 balls in the powerplay this year.

Saha’s batting has been built on leg-side stroke-play against the pacers, notably with his nonchalant flicks and pulls, and the sweep against spinners. Even when the length of the pacers has been far from full – on a good length – Saha has scored at a brisk pace even with an added risk and evident from the false stroke percentage.

SRH vs RCB Eliminator

The slog sweep and sweep have evoked quite a few false strokes from Saha, though, and it is here that RCB might sense an opening. Yuzvendra Chahal has invoked a false shot percentage of 25.71% when batsmen play the sweep against him. He also dismissed Saha last game against Sunrisers.

But bowling Chahal in the powerplay comes with a massive risk that is two-fold primarily:

  • Saha could rotate the strike and hand it over to Warner, a terrific player of spin.
  • Chahal will have less protection in the deep with the field restrictions and isn’t really a powerplay bowler.

SRH vs RCB, Eliminator – Why Chahal might be handy in a one-over burst in the powerplay

While not a powerplay bowler and not an ideal match-up for Warner either, Chahal has a few things going his way and it might just be enough for RCB to take a gamble on him in the powerplay to try and disrupt the ‘Waha’, who follow a set template of going hard in the first six overs.

Warner’s bullish record against leg-spinners has taken a hit this season, primarily because the uncapped, unorthodox leggies – the likes of Ravi Bishnoi and Varun Chakravarthy – have been smart in bowling to the left-hander.

In 2019, Warner wasn’t dismissed by leg-spinners at all and scored at a strike-rate of 142.6 against them. This season, the strike-rate has shot up to 158.1, but there have been five dismissals in the process. Breaking up by ball type, you notice that all five dismissals have come against googlies. While he attacks the googly (a strike-rate of 148.6), Warner also falls to it a lot this season, specifically when there’s no room for him as shown by the line which has yielded those wickets.

 

Saha also hasn’t quite done well against the leg-spinners in the recent past. Even during a season where he has scored at a breakneck pace, the strike-rate against leg-spinners is less than 100.

While the move is still fraught with risk given the lack of protection for Chahal and the attacking instincts of the two openers, it might still be worth a punt if RCB want to break the stand sooner rather than later in a crunch game.

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