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Wrong'un is right for Kohli and de Villiers

A Shreyas Gopal googly accounted for Virat Kohli BCCI

These are batsmen of such great stature that their emphatic dismissals stand out in memories. And when it happens so often, even Shreyas Gopal's reaction of disbelief is not enough to make you look away. In their clashes last IPL, Shreyas removed AB de Villiers twice and Virat Kohli once. In the first match of this IPL, too, he took them out both with wrong'uns. And he might have had Kohli lbw a ball before he bowled him. It is clear neither of them is picking the wrong'un.

Here are the numbers. De Villiers averages 5.2 and strikes at 83.87 against the wrong'un in IPL since the last edition. Kohli averages six and strikes at 104.35. Later, in the chase, Ajinkya Rahane, too, fell to a wrong'un from Yuzvendra Chahal.

And it is not just them: last year MS Dhoni and KL Rahul struggled badly too. You don't see either Kohli or de Villiers struggling against the wrong'un in Tests. So it is quite possible that they watch it less closely in the shortest format where the focus is on hitting it.

Experts on Star Sports' "Dugout" believe if you are not picking the wrong'un, you can either move your guard across a little to cover the stumps a little, and with some bowlers - such as Shreyas and M Ashwin - play them as offspinners and let the legbreak, which they bowl about as regularly as the wrong'un, beat the outside edge.

Another suggestion: just watch for the legbreak and not for the variation because then all variations look different and scramble your mind. Try to read every legbreak first.

Parthiv Patel stays alive

Royal Challengers Bangalore is infamous for not giving players a long rope, but one man to benefit from it might be Parthiv Patel. Many believe he is the rare wicketkeeper in this age playing just as a wicketkeeper and not adding much value with the bat.

On paper, Parthiv's role is similar to Sunil Narine's: just hit big in the Powerplay. His attacking shot percentage keeps up with that role - next only to Narine's - but his effectiveness doesn't. Among batsmen who have opened at least 40 times in the IPL, his strike rate is the third-worst. And he has a low average to boot. Parthiv's average has crossed 25 only once in the past five seasons, with his strike rate hovering in the 110s almost throughout. So despite his intent, Parthiv is neither Narine nor a Shikhar Dhawan.

In this game, though, he performed that role perfectly, racing away to 22 off 13 in the Powerplay, allowing Kohli to knock the ball around. However, in this game Kohli and de Villiers fell when they should have capitalised on this start. And once again, now in the second half of the innings, Parthiv's lack of power hurt him a little. He couldn't kick on in the latter half of Royal Challengers' innings, scoring only 19 off the last 16 balls he faced.

Parthiv has managed to show there is utility to him, but he will have to keep doing it again and again because he has had a rope the length of which must make every other Royal Challengers player envious.

Where is Washington?

As you waited to see some sort of spin in the Powerplay from Royal Challengers, mind went to Washington Sundar, who was acquired by them last year for that precise reason. In 2017, he held the fifth-best Powerplay economy rate for those who had bowled at least 15 overs with the field restrictions on. This was a performance that even got him an India debut.

In 2018, Sundar comes to Royal Challengers, and bowls just six overs inside the Powerplay in the whole season. Two of these six overs came in his first match where he happened to be at the receiving end of a Sunil Narine onslaught and conceded 29 runs. He played eight of the 14 matches last season, and is yet to start this year. Have Royal Challengers wasted a player by playing him out of position?