T20 is the most unpredictable format of the game where the superiority balance shifts every now and then and where each of the twenty overs makes a difference. Often the best bowlers are used up in the course of the innings and as mostly happens, the match goes down to the wire and the question plops up in the captain’s mind: Who should I give the ball to?
Especially as the game approaches the final two overs, there is a lot of confusion for the man at the helm of the team as he mostly has just one main bowler remaining and he wonders whether he should hand over the ball to him or to someone else.
This problem mainly arises, if the “part-time bowler” gets thrashed away in the penultimate over, the main bowler can’t create an impact in the last, as the damage has already been done. At the same time, if the “full-time bowler” is given the ball and he controls the runs in the second last over, the final over would be the batsman’s target.
We have seen two instances of the same in this season’s edition, wherein both the captains chose different routes, but arrived at the same result, a loss.
Mumbai Indians vs Deccan Chargers:
The Chargers were looking in cruise control of the game, even though they finished at a low total of 138. With 23 required off the final 12 balls, the balance started shifting to the Mumbai side, with Rohit Sharma providing the big ones and gaining momentum. Sangakkara decided to make the last over the decisive one, and hence tossed the ball to Dale Steyn, one of the best bowlers in the ranks. Steyn, didn’t disappoint giving away only 5 runs,taking a wicket and ending a tremendous spell by mounting the pressure on the Mumbai men. 18 from 6 balls read the scoreboard. A match which Deccan should have taken home from here. But, then with no bowlers left, the Sri Lankan called upon Daniel Christian. The medium pacer was thwacked all around the field and ended up throwing the match away, with a six off the last ball.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Superkings:
Getting past the highest score of this season so far, the team from Bangalore weren’t too worried about the game and looked to finish things soon. But with consistent partnerships, the Chennai batsmen kept up with he run rate and the match was headed for a fight-to-the-finish finale.
Chennai were in a worse position compared to Mumbai though, having to score 43 from 12 deliveries, more than double of what Mumbai needed. Maybe looking at what Sangakkara faced, Vettori decided to do the opposite, and called Virat Kohli. Little did he know the result would be the same. Especially when you have a hitter like Albie Morkel at the crease, a part-time bowler has a very tough job on hand. The crowd saw the balls being zipped around as he went for 28 runs to the utter dismay of Virat Kohli.
15 from 6 was the equation, not an easy task, but the Superkings were in the mood to hit out. Vinay Kumar, was then called to decide the matter. Soon, the first three deliveries saw the equation reduce to just 3 from 3, as Kumar kept wondering what was going wrong. But then he got back into his “Avatar”, a little too late maybe, as he took the game down to 2 from 1 ball. And then, the new batsman at the crease, Ravindra Jadeja, swung his bat and got a well deserved win for the men in yellow.
The difference in this game was that both the bowlers got thrashed unlike the previous one, where Steyn refused to take any nonsense. A lot of questions would be asked to the two captains: Should they have saved the good bowlers for the end? Did they do the right thing?
No one can really mouth brickbats at them,as at that moment it’s more about luck and less about skill. If the swinging bat makes contact with the ball, the bowling captain is ridiculed, and if he does’nt, the captain gets the praise. So, in the end, it’s all about making the choice and hoping, you’re on the next day’s paper on the winning side.
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