Talking points from the IPL 2020 game between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi.
Why has it taken Knight Riders so long to play Ferguson?
The ability to bowl 90mph yorkers as well as slower, into-the-pitch legcutters, without a discernible change in action. Three wickets in regular time, two in the Super Over. An economy rate of 3.75 in the regular time.
Why did the Knight Riders wait so long before unleashing Lockie Ferguson?
The reason is fairly simple. You can only play four overseas players in your XI, and when everyone's fit and available and their actions aren't under suspicion, it's hard for the Knight Riders to leave out either Eoin Morgan - who's now their captain - Andre Russell, Sunil Narine or Pat Cummins.
Cummins hasn't lit up the tournament with the ball, yes, but he provides lower-order hitting ability that the Knight Riders - who often pack their team with bowling options - definitely need. Cummins has even batted at No. 7 on occasion this season, including in the Knight Riders' previous game against the Mumbai Indians, in which he came in at 61 for 5 and top-scored with an unbeaten 53 off 36.
Ferguson doesn't have a single fifty in either first-class, List A or T20 cricket, so he wouldn't be a like-for-like replacement in this Knight Riders line-up. And he didn't have a particularly good IPL in 2019, playing five games, picking up just two wickets and conceding 10.76 runs per over.
The issues around Narine's action have given the Knight Riders an opportunity to pick their other overseas players, and after trying Tom Banton and Chris Green for a game each, they finally gave Ferguson his chance on Sunday.
Why didn't Narine play?
With the IPL's Suspect Bowling Action Committee clearing his action, the Knight Riders did have an option to play Narine, but they chose not to. This was probably because the committee's decision was only communicated to the team hours before the match. By then, the Knight Riders would probably have already decided on their combination and drawn up plans for the game.
Why did Williamson open for the Sunrisers?
When the Sunrisers chase began, they threw what seemed a curveball by sending in Kane Williamson, rather than David Warner, to open alongside Jonny Bairstow. It soon emerged that Williamson was carrying an injury that he sustained while fielding, and wasn't able to run quickly between wickets.
With field restrictions in place for the first six overs, the Sunrisers had an opportunity to bat Williamson in a phase that allowed him to look for boundaries constantly without having to worry too much about running between wickets. He did exactly what he was sent out to do, smacking 29 off 19 balls and getting the Sunrisers off to a flier.
Why did Russell bat at No. 4?
The Knight Riders have played a fairly settled top three through the tournament, but have rotated their three big-name middle-order batsmen - Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell - according to the match situation and match-ups with the opposition's bowlers.
On Sunday, the Knight Riders sent in Russell when they lost their second over, with their score 87 for 2 in the 12th over.
With Shubman Gill having struggled to force the pace while scoring 36 off 37, the Knight Riders possibly felt the need to send in their biggest hitter at that point. Russell hadn't had a great tournament with the bat before this game, only managing one 20-plus score in seven innings, and perhaps his team felt it would help him to have a bit more time than usual to play himself in.
And as for match-ups, the Sunrisers didn't have any outright quick bowlers who could have potentially discomfited Russell with the short ball, and they had already used up three overs from Rashid Khan, their most dangerous wicket-taker.
On all these counts, it was a punt worth taking, but it didn't quite come off, with Russell dismissed early, hitting a powerful shot straight to deep midwicket.
Why did Russell bowl the last over despite being injured?
Russell has been a key death bowler for the Knight Riders, and they suffered a major blow when he injured his hamstring while swooping to field a ball during the 12th over of the Sunrisers' chase. He hobbled off the field, and returned at the start of the 17th over but didn't look particularly comfortable moving around.
When the final over began, the Sunrisers needed 18 runs, and the Knight Riders' other fast bowlers had all finished their quotas. The only options left were Russell and left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav. Most teams don't bowl spinners in this situation, and the pitch in Abu Dhabi, though slow, wasn't offering much turn, so there was a distinct threat of either Warner or Rashid Khan - both capable six-hitters - taking Yadav apart.
The Knight Riders, therefore, went with Russell even though he was clearly not fit to bowl at full pace. He hobbled in and bowled at just about medium pace, and the move seemed to backfire when Warner hit him for three successive fours, but two decent deliveries at the end ensured the match went into a Super Over.