After the extended wait due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has well and truly taken flight. There have been some fascinating performances from various franchises.
Two of the ten IPL matches so far, in fact, have been decided in the Super Over. Teams have either chased down or have come excruciatingly close to chasing down 200-plus targets which wasn’t expected in the UAE, where the pitches were supposed to be slow.
The superb quality of batting on display though has surpassed expectations. There has been some quality bowling too, especially from the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Navdeep Saini.
The frenetic action means captains have had to make some tough calls. Most teams have shuffled around the batting order in an endeavour to outdo the opponents. In this feature, we take a look at three interesting batting promotions from the first 10 IPL games and how they panned out.
#1. Sam Curran vs Mumbai Indians (IPL match 1)
In the opening match of IPL 2020 itself, MS Dhoni decided to take a punt on young Sam Curran in what was proving to be a tricky chase against defending champions Mumbai Indians. Batting first, Mumbai had posted a challenging 162 for 9 on board.
In reply, Chennai found themselves at 134 for 7 after 17 overs. Ambati Rayudu had led Chennai’s response with a quick-fire 71 from 48 balls. However, he was back in the hut at the end of the 16th over.
With 29 needed from the last three overs, it was still anyone’s game. Off the first ball of the 18th over, Krunal Pandya trapped Ravindra Jadeja lbw for 10 to put Chennai under further pressure. However, in the same over, Curran smashed the bowler for six over deep midwicket and four over extra cover.
The two big hits brought the equation down to 16 from 12. To put CSK in complete command, Curran dispatched Jasprit Bumrah for a six over deep midwicket the first ball of the 19th over. Curran fell the very next ball going for another big hit. His six-ball 18 though had done the trick.
#2. Wriddhiman Saha vs KKR (IPL match 8)
Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner went against the tide and decided to bat first after winning the toss in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders at Abu Dhabi. In some of the previous IPL games, captains winning the toss had sent the opponents in, but did not find chasing easy.
One of the reasons behind it though was that the teams being sent in put up some highly impressive scores on the board, thus putting additional pressure on the chasing team.
Sunrisers Hyderabad failed against KKR because they had hardly anything to defend. Batting first, 142 was all they managed despite having six wickets in hand. SRH skipper David Warner was dismissed for 36 from 30 with the score reading 59 for 2 at the start of the 10th over. In a surprising move, SRH sent in Wriddhiman Saha to bat at number four.
The Indian wicket-keeper bat struggled so miserably that he ended up becoming a meme sensation on social media. Facing 31 deliveries, Saha failed to score even at run a ball and was eventually run out for 30. One four and one six was all he managed during his stay at the crease, during which the attacking instinct needed in IPL was clearly missing.
#3. Rahul Tewatia vs KXIP (IPL Match 9)
This is easily the most talked about batting promotion in this year’s IPL thus far. Rahul Tewatia’s turn from villain to superhero in a matter of six balls is one for the ages. Consider this. KXIP batted first and posted a mammoth 223 for 2, built around Mayank Agarwal’s 106 and skipper KL Rahul’s 69.
In response, Steve Smith and Sanju Samson matched the Punjab duo stroke for stroke as RR bludgeoned their way to 100 for 2 at the end of nine overs, at which point Smith was dismissed for 50 from 27 balls.
The game was very much in the balance when RR stunned everybody by sending in the unheralded Rahul Tewatia to bat at number four. To say that he struggled out in the middle would be an understatement. With every failed attempt at getting a boundary, the sweat dripping from Tewatia’s face only increased.
As he crawled his way to 14 from 21, the match seemed to have firmly slipped out of RR's grasp. Despite Samson having looted 21 off a Glenn Maxwell over, the equation read 63 from fours overs. Things got worse for Rajasthan as Samson fell caught behind at the start of the 17th.
When all seemed lost for the Royals, out of nowhere, Tewatia slammed Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in six balls. Before KXIP and Cottrell could figure out what had hit them, Tewatia had stolen the match away from right under Punjab’s nose. The commentators who, till an over ago, were feeling pity for Tewatia, were at loss for words. The trolls had nowhere to hide. If ever there was a redemption story in IPL, this was it.
Verdict: Super HitPublished 29 Sep 2020, 23:38 IST