IPL 2018: The top tactical decisions that went under the radar
And just like that, the IPL season has come and gone, giving every viewer quite of enjoyable memories and heartbreaks alike. While a lot of analysis has gone into understanding the season through various parameters, trying to look into the most successful tactical decisions made by the various teams would provide a better insight, as it were these decisions that played decisive roles in the end.
Some of the decisions hit the nail exactly on the head, while the others did not. Some got noticed, while others did not. But with that being said, these changes are definitely ideas that the different teams can carry on towards next season.
Starting from CSK using Rayudu as an opener, to Rahane using Krishnappa Gowtham to open his bowling, here are a few important decisions that summed up the tournament's run for most teams.
#1 Assigning Ambati Rayudu the opening duties in CSK
Prior to the recently concluded IPL season, Ambati Rayudu had been a mainstay in the Mumbai Indians' batting setup for years, where, quite notably, he hasn't opened a single inning. Rayudu had only opened the batting in a handful of occasions before, all of it in domestic T20 games for his state sides.
He was a regular No. 3 and No. 4 for Mumbai Indians. The decision to open the batting with him can strongly be attributed as a classic Chennai Super Kings move: back one's players to make a change from what they are used to, then to trust their strengths and see if it comes off. MS Dhoni's logic behind the move was that he rated Rayudu's hitting abilities against both pace and spin quite highly. Rayudu himself said there was little more to it apart from "seeing the ball well" for the best part of the season.
As it turned out, he had his most productive IPL season this time, by a huge distance, topping the Super Kings' run charts, and leading the chase for Orange Cap for a good part of the season. Along the way, he smashed a match-winning unbeaten 100* against Sunrisers Hyderabad, his first ever IPL ton.
On other days, when he wasn't required to open the batting, or to give up some space for players like Watson or Faf du Plessis, he came in at his familiar No. 4 spot where he played valuable middle-over cameos. Overall, Rayudu's promotion at the top of the order proved a masterstroke that gave CSK some early momentum which they carried throughout the season without any qualms.