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Talking points - Did Chris Gayle's 'niggle' scuttle Delhi Capitals' plans?

Chris Gayle - not always at his best against the short ball BCCI

There were a number of interesting calls in the selection of the XIs.

Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer announced at the toss that Amit Mishra, the legspinner, had been left out in favour of medium pacer Avesh Khan.

Why? Well, it might have been a ploy to counter the threat of Chris Gayle. Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Harshal Patel and Avesh, and possibly a short-ball strategy against the big man, because he hasn't been at his best in the IPL - since 2015 - when the ball is pitched short.

It didn't quite work to plan for Delhi, though, as Gayle sat the game out. Can't put it beyond R Ashwin to be a step ahead of his opponents, and he didn't say anything at the toss, but Ian Bishop did confirm on commentary that Gayle had a niggle.

Sam Curran came out at the start and was explosive in scoring a 10-ball 20. In his first outing as an opener, Curran did, arguably, better than what he might have lower down the order.

Shaw spun out

The first ball of Delhi's chaseā€¦ a loud, sustained appeal for caught-behind. Wicketkeeper KL Rahul and bowler Ashwin looked confident, Prithvi Shaw uncertain. The umpire's finger finally went up and Shaw knew his fate even before his mid-pitch chat with opening partner Shikhar Dhawan.

Opening with a spinner - it was Ashwin, but it could as easily have been Mujeeb Ur Rahman or Murugan Ashwin - against Shaw is a great option, because of Delhi's top four, he has the poorest record against spin in T20s. Before this game, his 21st in the format, his average against spinners was just 22.8, with five dismissals - make that six now. A worrying Achilles heel for one of India's most exciting talents?

Why keep Mujeeb away from the Powerplay?

If you have Mujeeb Ur Rahman in your XI, why wouldn't you bowl him in the Powerplay?

Out-of-the-box planning from R Ashwin and the team management, perhaps, but after putting up only a middling total - 166 for 9 - good sense would have suggested throwing the Afghanistan spinner in as early as possible.

He didn't come on till after the sixth over, by which time Delhi had reached 49 for 1, and bowled the seventh, ninth, 11th and 15th overs. Mujeeb didn't get a wicket, and conceded 36 runs. It might not have mattered in the end, but that was due more to the ineptitude of the Delhi batsmen and the quality of Mohammed Shami and Sam Curran.

As such, Mujeeb is at his most effective in T20s when he bowls within the first six overs, as the graphic above shows: his economy rate is the best among all the three phases of a T20 game, and he has a better average in the period too. Despite the way the match panned out, Punjab might have missed a trick there - a pretty obvious one at that.