Talking points from the IPL 2020 game between the Kings XI Punjab and the Mumbai Indians in Dubai.
Why did the Mumbai Indians pick Sharma and de Kock for the first Super Over?
When the Mumbai Indians had two of the biggest hitters in world cricket in Pollard and Hardik Pandya, did they err by sending out de Kock and Rohit Sharma, who was ill and later didn't come on to the field for the second Super Over?
de Kock has four half-centuries in his last five innings and Sharma has also been in form this IPL, but Pollard and Pandya perhaps would've been better equipped to handle Shami's yorkers. Both batsmen have the tendency to stay very deep in the crease and manufacture enough power to put even the yorkers away.
Pollard's case was even stronger as he has struck at 238.88 at the death this season; only AB de Villiers (243.47) has a better strike rate during this phase. In addition to that, Pollard hasn't been dismissed this season since the Mumbai Indians' first match.
In the previous Super-Over finish at this venue, Virat Kohli said he nominated himself along with de Villiers because he felt that he could help the Royal Challengers Bangalore chase down eight with just singles and doubles on a bigger ground. It was a high-risk plan, but de Villiers found the fence to tip it the Royal Challengers' way. Sharma and de Kock might have gone in with a similar plan, but it didn't work for the Mumbai Indians.
Why didn't Bumrah bowl the second Super Over for the Mumbai Indians?
The reason is simple: according to the playing conditions, any bowler who has already bowled a Super Over in the match is "ineligible" to bowl any subsequent Super Over. Also, any batsman who gets out in a Super Over can't bat in Super Overs that follow. So, Bumrah, Shami, de Kock, Pooran and Rahul weren't part of the second Super Over.
Why was Krunal promoted to No. 5?
Because the Mumbai Indians wanted to throw the Kings XI's legspinners M Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi off their lines and lengths. And the Mumbai Indians usually prefer to have Pollard and Hardik batting at the death.
In the IPL, Krunal has hit 233 runs off 145 balls against legspinners at an average of 32 and strike rate of nearly 155 while being dismissed seven times. On Sunday, Krunal went after Ashwin, taking him for 14 off eight balls. Bishnoi, who is predominantly a googly bowler and, hence, relishes bowling to left-handers, then had him holing out for 34 off 30 balls.
Krunal had batted at No. 5 against the Rajasthan Royals too, who also had two legspinners - Rahul Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal - in their XI. However, in that game, he got only 12 off 17 balls.
Where has this aggressive Rahul been?
This IPL Rahul has been subdued at the top, barely taking any risks in the powerplay. It was his partner and good friend Agarwal who was going after the bowlers in the first six overs. However, on Sunday, Agarwal got off to a slow start and was bowled by Bumrah for 11 off ten balls.
Rahul, meanwhile, flew out of the blocks, hitting Boult over the top both on the off side and leg side for boundaries. He then cleared his front leg and drilled the left-arm seamer straight past him for four more. All in the same over. Out of the 51 runs, the Kings XI scored in the powerplay, Rahul hit 32, his joint-second-highest powerplay score in the IPL since 2019.
Perhaps Gayle clicking at No. 3 freed up Rahul. Or maybe with the Dubai pitch tiring, Rahul wanted to maximise the powerplay in the face of a challenging target.