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Stoinis was the Incredible Hulk, but why did Kohli not choose to bat?

Chahal bowled only three of his four overs. Was that a mistake? More on talking points

Nagraj Gollapudi
Here are the major talking points from the Delhi Capitals' resounding defeat of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai.
Was it correct to field, Royal Challengers Bangalore?
Before Monday only one team had elected to bat in Dubai having won the toss. David Warner's decision proved wise as the Sunrisers Hyderabad got the better of the Chennai Super Kings. In the other seven matches at the venue, the team that won the toss had elected to field and lost.
Yet Virat Kohli elected to field today. And lost. At the toss, Kohli said that the reason to chase was based primarily on the dew factor, which he had noticed in some of the previous matches including the Super Kings' successful chase against the Kings XI Punjab on the same pitch on Sunday. Inspired by watching the record partnership between Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, Kohli said "one good partnership" is what was needed. Royal Challengers lost three wickets in powerplay. Their biggest partnership was 32 runs between Kohli and Moeen Ali for the fourth wicket.
Was it a new beginning for the Delhi Capitals?
Twenty-three. Thirty-four. Thirty-six. The powerplay scores for the Capitals in their first three matches. A big weakness for the best team so far this IPL. The desire to play with more intent was launched in Sharjah by Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan in their last match, against the Kolkata Knight Riders, when the Capitals raced to 57 for 1 after the first six overs, which contributed to a winning score of 228.
Today Shaw and Dhawan were even more rapid as they set up the second-highest total in the powerplay this IPL: 63 for 0. Positive starts have positive consequences: at this stage ESPN's Forecaster predicted the Capitals would finish with 196. How accurate was that!
The Capitals coach Ricky Ponting admitted on TV on Monday that slow starts were identified as a weakness. Several teams have suffered from slow beginnings with one of the openers opting to play with a conservative strike rate. With a batting order comprising power-hitters in Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmeyer, the Capitals cannot and need not stay dormant for long in a format where no target seems unreachable anymore.
Why was Washington Sundar bowled out in the first eight overs?
Despite the Capitals' robust beginning, one Royal Challengers bowler who kept his head high was birthday boy Sundar, who turned 21 on Monday. Sundar gave away just 17 runs in the powerplay, across three overs. Sundar dominated Dhawan, bowling six dots in 13 deliveries against the experienced left-hander who could just take seven singles against the offspinner.
The challenge for Kohli was to squeeze the Capitals' run rate. As a captain, Kohli is a creature of habit. Sundar had been bowled out before the halfway mark in RCB's previous match too. No surprise then that Kohli asked Sundar to finish his spell in the first half of the innings today. Sundar did not disappoint, finishing as his team's most economical bowler for the second match in a row with figures of 4-0-20-0.
But did Kohli err by not keeping at least one over from Sundar for later, especially against left-hand batsman Rishabh Pant? Perhaps Kohli thought he didn't need to as he had at his disposal another offspinner in Moeen Ali, who bowled just two overs for 21 runs and the wicket of Iyer.
Why did Yuzvendra Chahal bowl only three overs?
Chahal has been the best spinner in the tournament. Yet the legspinner did not finish his quota today, bowling three out of the four overs. You would reckon the presence of Pant put doubts in Kohli's mind against throwing the ball to his senior legspinner. The match-up between Chahal and Pant in the IPL before today was 31 balls, 45 runs and 1 wicket. Eventually that strategy backfired, though, as Stoinis and Pant took advantage of the pace on offer to let the Capitals finish aggressively.
Did we see Stoinis 2.0?
Shane Warne calls Stoinis "The Hulk". With his powerful build Stoinis portrays the image of a power-hitter. Stoinis had not delivered on that promise at the IPL, though. In the three years leading up to this IPL, Stoinis scored 1458 runs at a strike rate of 126 with a boundary every 6.6 balls (as per ESPNcricinfo's ball-ball-ball data). This IPL, though, Stoinis' strike rate is nearly 199 - he has piled 123 runs from 62 balls with a boundary every 3.3 balls.
Most of those runs were blasted on Monday as Stoinis showed intent virtually every delivery. Mostly he stood deep in the crease, moved several times across the off stump to clear the leg-side boundary with a still head. One of his best shots was the lofted straight drive over Ali's head, with a high elbow despite the ball coming in to his body. Stoinis scored 31 runs off 14 balls batting between overs 12 and 15, which is the most by a batsman in that phase this IPL. Today Stoinis was the Incredible Hulk.
With inputs from the ESPNcricinfo stats team

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo