IPL 2020 – Week 3

We are now just under half way through IPL 2020, and we’ve witnessed some incredible games.

Delhi Capitals have continued to excel in this tournament, with 5 wins from 6 games, and once again look the most complete team.

What has been so enjoyable about their game is their all-round team performances. Young and dynamic Indian batsmen, captained well by Sheryas Iyer, the exciting lower order batting from Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer, and then, the South African bowling duo of Anrich Nortje and KG Rabada.

Rabada has now taken 15 wickets in this edition of the IPL, at the phenomenal average of 12.33, and t’s only the third week, and he finishes yet another week as the purple cap holder. Nortje in his first IPL is proving that he is learning day by day, game by game. His bowling has been fast, and more importantly, on point. This week alone, he picked up the prized wickets of Ab de Villiers and Steve Smith in both DC’s games. The Rabada/Nortje pair is a real asset to Delhi.

CSK continue to have problems, with their fourth loss in six games. Their middle order continues to disappoint. Slow batting, lack of rotation of the strike, not enough boundaries, they are evidently missing the experience of Suresh Raina in their middle order. They are known for sticking with a playing XI, but with the losses piling up, it might be time for CSK to make some changes.

The one bright spark for them however is the returned form of Shane Watson, who scored back-to-back half centuries this week. However, Imran Tahir is yet to feature.

Having won only one of their six games, KXIP will be concerned. They have consistently had captain, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal scoring runs at the top and getting their team off to a good start, as evidenced by the fact they are in the top 3 run-scorers of the tournament. But they did not have a good week, losing to CSK by 10 wickets as Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis demolished them, and then losing to Sunrisers a few days later, and at one point, KXIP had gone 219 deliveries without taking a wicket. You can’t win games if you don’t wickets and that is something KXIP are finding out very fast.

We’ve been treated to some exceptional games at Sharjah, one of the three venues in this IPL. With the short boundaries and big hitting players, no score seemed big enough. Teams were successfully chasing down scores in excess of 200, but in week three, with the use of a different, and slower pitch, this was changing. Players must understand they can’t just slog their way to a big score, they must respect the bowler and respect the pitch.

Sunrisers Hyderabad have had a mixed bag this week, losing one and winning one. Jonny Bairstow came just 3 runs short of the third century of the tournament with his 97 off 55 against KXIP. One area where they are shining is with Rashid Khan, who has been nothing short of exemplary. He has an incredible economy of 4.83, and he’s picked up 8 wickets at 14.5. He’s such an intelligent bowler, teams find it difficult to get away when he’s bowling and that has been a tremendous asset to SRH.

Rajasthan Royals will be concerned that after three weeks, they have won only two games. Losing three wickets in the Powerplay is a problem and that is something Rajasthan have done twice this week. It’s very difficult to come back from this position. That’s something Rajasthan will need to correct before their next game.

To be an RCB fan is no easy feat. An impressive performance one day is met with a mediocre one the next. While things are not dire at present, they know they will need to get back on track and start winning games more regularly if this is going to be their year to win the title. Virat Kohli, after being unable to buy a run in the first week, has rediscovered his form with scores of 72* & 43.

Mumbai Indians had a good week, winning both their games, and at present are the only ones to challenge Delhi at the top. Quinton de Kock needed to score big this week to keep his place in the side, and he delivered with his first fifty of the tournament, coming off 32 balls against Sunrisers.

For a week of IPL cricket, it was refreshing that there was no drama or controversy. Just a lot of very good cricket being played.

Long may that continue.

Posted in The Popping Crease.