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Feature

Talking Points: What is the secret to Devdutt Padikkal's success this IPL?

Also, why didn't the Capitals try to knock the Royal Challengers out?

Alagappan Muthu
Alagappan Muthu
02-Nov-2020
Devdutt Padikkal goes inside out  •  BCCI

Devdutt Padikkal goes inside out  •  BCCI

Talking points from the 55th game of IPL 2020 between the Delhi Capitals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
What is the secret to Devdutt Padikkal's success this IPL?
The basics. A tall left-hand batsman with quick feet and outstanding timing, he has made 472 runs in 14 matches so far. No uncapped Indian in his debut season has made more.
Padikkal's success is built on his off-side play. And in case anyone's forgotten, bowlers still target the top of off stump with the new ball, even in T20 cricket.
Anrich Nortje tried to do that and was lofted for a one-bounce four over cover point. The shot brought Virat Kohli up to his feet, his eyes bulging out of his head. It was hit that cleanly.
No left-hander has made more runs (236 at a strike rate of 136) through the off side than Padikkal. His weight transfer into the ball, his balance at the crease and his timing are all great assets for him going forward.
Why didn't Capitals try to knock Royal Challengers out?
If you make the playoffs, wouldn't you rather play a team that didn't have Kohli and AB de Villiers in it?
And when all you need to do for that is score 153 in 17.3 overs - that's a run-rate of 8.7 - it seems a worthwhile pursuit.
But remember, the Capitals were coming off four back-to-back losses. A theme of those losses was their batting malfunctioning badly.
They couldn't afford that in this must-win game. They had to ensure their own qualification first. And to do that, they simply had to win the game.
That's why they never really went after the target with the intention of knocking their opposition out of the IPL.
Is the outswinger a weakness for Prithvi Shaw?
His game is about hitting the ball on the up. When he is in form, he simply times the ball. When he is not, he looks like he's trying to hit it too hard. And that's where the problems begin.
Since Shaw likes room to hit through the off side, he usually stays leg side of the ball. Since he's more of a back-foot player, he can also at times be stuck on the crease. And with his bat starting around second or third slip as it comes down, he also has a tendency to get squared up.
The outswinger can exploit all of these tendencies, whether it is by getting a nick through to the keeper or by beating the edge and knocking back the off stump as Mohammed Siraj did in the second over of the chase.
According to ESPNcricinfo's data, he has made 21 runs off 20 outswingers this season and lost his wicket to them three times. That translates to an average of 7 and a strike rate of 105.
Are there better end-overs options than the wide yorker?
On a slow pitch? Possibly.
There was an offcutter that Daniel Sams bowled to Padikkal in the 15th over that didn't just grip in the pitch. It almost refused to go to the other end.
Eventually it did, but only so it could give the batsman three different headaches. Extra bounce. Lack of pace. And turn like a Muralitharan offbreak.
Padikkal tried to scoop it, but the ball popped out to where short square leg would have been.
Given that evidence, Sams should have been concentrating on hitting just back of a length with his slower balls. So long as he didn't give any room, he would be golden. Instead he went for those wide yorkers in the 18th over and got whacked around by de Villiers and Shivam Dube for 18 runs.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo