Delhi v Chennai, IPL 2010, Delhi March 19, 2010

Learning experience for young captains

Both Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik were elevated to the captaincy due to injuries to their respective teams' leaders. Here's an analysis of how they went about their responsibilities

Game 11 of the IPL saw the league's youngest and second youngest captains walk out for the toss. Both Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik were elevated to the captaincy due to injuries to their respective teams' leaders, and after a high-scoring match that ebbed and flowed dramatically, the pair ended up on opposing ground. Some lovely striking from Raina was overshadowed by Matthew Hayden's extraordinary 93, but the captain's innings played a key role in Chennai winning by five wickets. Karthik didn't do much with the bat and had a shoddy bowling outfit to work with. Here's a look at a few contributions Raina and Karthik made as leaders.

Shuffle rhythm
Raina began by taking a leaf out of Dhoni's book of captaincy, but took it one step further. After Albie Morkel conceded nine runs off the first over, Raina brought on the offspinner R Ashwin. The idea was to cramp the left-hander David Warner, but the over cost ten runs. For the third over, Raina swapped Morkel for Joginder Sharma - the hero of the 2007 World Twenty20 final's last over - and those six balls cost nine runs. The shuffling continued, as L Balaji became the fourth bowler in as many overs. The result was a wicket, as Warner mistimed a pull shot to be gobbled up by Hayden at midwicket. Raina was aware of Warner's propensity for the pull shot, and put in a deep midwicket, regulation midwicket and square mid-on. The field placement worked a charm.

You've got to always be aware, skip
Not all off Raina's field placements were accurate. Off the sixth ball of the fifth over, Virender Sehwag banged a full ball down past mid-on for four. That should have been the end of the over, but the eagle-eyed umpire Billy Doctrove had spotted only three fielders in the ring instead of four, and duly signaled no-ball. Sehwag cashed in on the next ball, making room to carve Joginder past point and cover for four. Up came Delhi's fifty. It was a black mark for Raina, for it cost nine runs.

Catches win matches
He more than made up for his lack of tact with some sharp work in the field. Fielding at midwicket, Raina plucked two sharp chances in successive overs that ultimately made a big difference. The first catch Raina took was a sharp one to his left at midwicket, as Tillakaratne Dilshan skipped down and struck Muttiah Muralitharan very firmly. Five balls later, in Ashwin's third over, Raina led by example with a reflex catch. AB de Villiers pulled powerfully and Raina fell to his right and plucked another good catch. With those wickets, Chennai stormed back into the game.

Shot selection
Karthik looked in good nick, especially when using the dab and late cut to great effect with Raina not plugging third man, but he picked an ill-advised shot that led to his dismissal at a crucial period. Joginder pitched full and straight, Karthik bravely tried the paddle, missed, and was out lbw in the 17th over.

Dilshan taken to the cleaners
It's difficult to stop Hayden when he's in such belligerent form, but did Karthik err by preferring a part-timer to a specialist spinner? Hayden was looking ominous with that Mongoose bat in his hands, and instead of his specialist slow bowler Amit Mishra, Karthik called on Dilshan's part-time offspin for the eighth over. It was a bold move, but didn't work. Hayden, at this time on 41 from 21 balls, thumped three sixes in a 21-run over.

Field placements
Karthik made a smart adjustment to the field for the final ball of the seventh over, bowled by the debutant Umesh Yadav. With S Badrinath to face, Karthik called the man at midwicket in closer. Yadav dragged back the length, Badrinath went for a pull, and Mishra held the catch at short midwicket.

Karthik to the rescue
This match was all about the bat - namely that Mongoose - hitting the ball and sending it over the boundary, but there was one other routine which stood out. Delhi's bowlers bowled a number of wides to assist Chennai in their chase, and Karthik found himself leaping about to gather most of them cleanly. In the 12th over, standing up to Mishra, Karthik had to move sharply to his left side to stop a horror wide delivery running away. A few moments later, when Dirk Nannes sprayed the ball down Hayden's pads, Karthik saved four byes by sidling down the leg side and then diving to gather the ball cleanly. He was at it again in the 15th over, making a clean take outside off when Yadav lost his radar. Shame for Delhi some of their fielders weren't as sharp as their stand-in captain.

Risking it
Karthik gambled for the first ball of the penultimate over, with Chennai needing just 16 runs to win. He brought mid-off and mid-on up in the circle for Sangwan, and M Vijay got a boundary off the first ball of the over with a little chip over mid-on. That was a decisive shot for the visitors.

Raina the batsman trumped Raina the captain
Raina's first 20 overs as captain didn't exactly go too well, what with his side conceding 185, but he clearly took a deep breath during the brief innings change and came out to do what he does best. When Sangwan came back in the 11th over, Raina didn't allow him to settle, cleanly swinging him for six over deep midwicket. He initially appeared eager to hit out, but smartly stepped down a gear with Hayden in murderous mood. Happy to play second fiddle, Raina took over when wickets fell. First ball after the strategic time-out, with Chennai needing 30 to win from 24 balls, Raina jumped out and slogged Mishra for six over midwicket. That hit had narrowed the equation significantly, and so Raina went back to gathering singles for the rest of the over. He hit boundaries to ease the pressure, and finally sealed the match with a six, a lovely lofted inside-out shot over extra cover to finish on 49 from 34 balls. What was most important for Chennai was that Raina batted right till the end.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Venkat_Super_11 on March 20, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Our respected fellow readers have conveniently forgotten or neglected to highlight what Badri has done for the team so far in this IPL (what about last IPL too?). If he is good at domestic cricket and facing bowlers bowling at 100KM/h pace, then he must be playing there and not in IPL or international cricket where he has to face various international bowlers bowling at 140-plus. If he is good at test cricket, that's where he has to be and not in 20-20 where you need hard hitting and quick presence of mind to alter your strokes after the ball leaves the bowlers' hands. RameshSubramaninyam claims that CSK players cannot do anything without Badri in swinging/fast pitch. He must be really kidding. CSK has been really playing and winning games (last 2) without even the slightest contribution from this useless player in Badri. He needs to be immediately shown the door out if CSK even think of going to top 4.

  • ssenthil on March 20, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Overall Both captains done well and not so badly then many experienced Captains in the IPL. I really love both went about their captaincy. Somebody telling Badri should given the captaincy or Badri shouldn't be in the team itself both are rubbish. Badri is a far better leader than Raina, he lead the India Emerging players twice to Aus and Twice India red to the Cup in the limited overs format, so he done well as Captain but for T20 Raina is good since IPL meant for exploring youth and it so correct that it went to Raina and DK instead of Badri / Hyden or Sehwag / Dilshan. for who is crying badri is a bad T20 player just check his IPL stat it's not at all bad, he is having morethan 26 Avg and a SR of around 130 is a very good one for a Middle order batsman of CSK where all other batsman are only Hitters.

  • ssenthil on March 20, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    All the people are here fighting who should be given the captaincy of CSK instead of the analysis is to compare the captains of CSK and DD. Both captains did their best but at the end a captain is as good as your team. A captain can set the field for the bowler and can't bowl for him. In my view Raina went for mostly unorthodox method in field setting to Bowling change and even in the batting order. But Hyden helped him a lot then Sehwag did for DK is the final difference and the out come of the match. DK doesn't want to bring a leg spin bowler earlier when 2 left hand batsman at the crease so he opted for Dilshan over A.Mishra, had he brought him earlier and went for runs most would have criticized DK. DK did a better captaincy than Raina including the allocation of overs to the bowlers except A.Mishra, where as Raina did many wrong from selecting the bowlers itself and the over allocations. A. Morkal and Balaji didn't finish their quote and not plugging third man area for Mithun.

  • nikita_karthick on March 20, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Karthik is a very good captaincy material no doubt abot it; Team selection caused the match for Delhi... So many left handers in CSK; Sareendip singh was better choice than the medium pacer... Mahroof is a experience guy; he is mighty effective than ABD.... Any way I like Kartik's captaincy.....

  • nikkam on March 20, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    i think persons praising rainas captaincy skills should reserve their judgement in a longer context. Sometimes, a captain is lucky but his strategising skills always come to the fore in difficult situations. Badri might be not fit technically for international level, but atleast he doesnt throw away his wicket when needed. T20 is a game in which even u can play urself in for 10-12 balls and stil achieve a high strike rate in the end. Badri is not flamboyant, but gets the job done in difficult situations. He can strategise better than raina as he has more captaincy experience and knowledge of the domestic players and grounds. People should reserve the judgement about badris captaincy until he is given the job. A captain can show his skills to the max while fielding and can only sit and watch from the dug out as his batsmen play in the middle. Thus rainas batting and fielding contributions cannot be seen in the context of captaincy material, based on single match.

  • ashy16in_ on March 20, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Inspite of the victory yesterday, I am still not sure whether Suresh Raina is captaincy material or not. Suresh Raina was the captain of India Green in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy last year. His capaincy was uninspiring in that tournament and left a lot to be desired especially in the match versus India Blue where their approach to chasing a stiff target of 350 was farcical to say the least. It was also baffling to see Balaji who was the best bowler on view yesterday not complete his entire quota of overs. So I would like to reserve my judgement about his captaincy.

  • Janaksingh on March 20, 2010, 3:21 GMT

    Ramesh thinks of too highly of Badri, there are many others (guess mostly from Tamilnadu) rooting for Badri / Karthik, may be Badri did not get his share of opportunities. Recently he got an opportunity of his life and he wasted. I guess Badri is not a strong player mentaly. It is frustating to see him hold his shots when demand is to hit everything (actully Karthik is betetr in shot selection). May be he think too highly of himself. Raina may not be as good technical as Badri, but I do not think one needs technically sound batsman for 20-20. One needs fighters to win games. never give up attitute is essential. Badri seriously lack all this. He has been given ample opportunities at CSK, somehow he is not able to stamp his authority. I do not know what many people here crying for.

  • dummy4fb on March 20, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    RameshSubramaniam,i think u r absolutely wrong ...Badrinath is not a technically sound player...his standards rnt fit for international cricket....he may be a technically sound player for domestic cricket,but wen it comes to the big league,he will fail miserably ...i hav seen the way he played against lee and co in australia's tour game against BP XI on a flat pitch.....he was pitiful and didn't score much........i saw how he played against dale steyn and co in the recently concluded series .........agreed,he played well last game....tht doesn't mean he's the best out of CSK.....vijay's better......far better !! give badrinath a chance at fast/swingin pitch and he wont survive for long,nt even if he plays the way he plays in test........Raina is the best talented among youngsters and he deserves captaincy for his commitment .......he's a class act........speaking of not being able to play a single shot against short ball in t20 WC,how many did u see playin them well ?

  • triassicpark on March 20, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    I am really surprised at the comments of some fellow readers like Venkat_super. From his comments it looks like the reader just watches the game without any insight. In the last season in SA Badri has played many important innings/cameos. I do agree that he is not not as flamboyant like the others, but in the houe of nned he can step it up. Moreover who is the replacement? P.Patel???? Another genuine joke !!!

  • rajkoppa on March 20, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    I think time has come for Suresh Raina to be included in the test team. Why Cricket India has not done it so far is beyond my imagination.

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